Since our hair is a distinguishing characteristic of our bodies, it is only normal for us to be concerned about how it changes as we get older. Understanding the ageing process can help us better care for our hair because it causes our hair to change in terms of its texture, colour, and thickness as we get older. If you’ve noticed that your hair has become rougher, drier, and more rigid over the past few months or years, it’s possible that it’s not just your imagination. As you become older, one of the many things that can happen to your hair is that it may begin to grey. Alterations in your hair’s thickness, texture, and growth location (too little in some spots, too much in others) are also possible side effects of this condition. These shifts may be more subtle in nature, yet for some people they are no less upsetting. However, a good hair care routine can help minimise some of these changes, and specific treatments can help disguise damage that you would rather not have other people notice.
Ways in which our Hair Age
The first significant alteration that takes place in our hair as we get older is a loss of melanin, which is the pigment responsible for giving our hair its colour. The beginning of this process, which is known as greying, typically occurs while we are in our 30s; but, it can begin sooner for some people. The hair begins to lose its colour and finally turns white as melanin synthesis lowers over time. In general, the lighter your complexion is, the faster your hair will turn grey. This holds true for both men and women. Graying hair normally begins in the early 30s for Caucasians, which is around ten years earlier than it does for persons with darker skin. It normally takes far longer for the hair on the body, including the eyebrows, pubic hair, and chest hair, to turn grey than the hair on the scalp. There is some evidence to support the hypothesis that oxidative stress is the cause of greying. Oxidative stress happens when DNA in the cells that produce melanin in hair follicles, which are termed melanocytes, is slowly destroyed by free radicals until the cells are unable to produce melanin at all. It’s possible that this is the reason why grey hair tends to be thicker than younger hair. There is a strong connection between melanocytes and keratinocytes, which are the cells that produce keratin in the shaft of the hair. Both are located in the basal layer of the epidermis and are similarly vulnerable to damage from free radicals because of their location.
Ways of managing Hair Graying
Aside from letting your hair grey naturally, you have other colouring options to select from such as:
- Temporary tints that are poorly absorbed by the cuticle and are meant for short-term changes in hair colour
- Permanent dyes, which produce coloured molecules within the hair shaft and can endure washing.
- Demi-permanent dyes, which are composed of colourful molecules that penetrate the cuticle and endure six to ten shampooings.
- Permanent and demi-permanent vegetable-based hair dyes that are reported to perform especially well on finer hair
Thinner and Balding
As we become older, our hair may not only turn grey but also grow noticeably thinner. This is because as we age, our hair follicles become less active, which leads to a reduction in the size of the hair follicles themselves. As the follicles are smaller, they create hairs that are thinner and shorter, which leads to an overall reduction in the volume of the hair. Androgenetic alopecia, more often known as male-pattern baldness, affects around two-thirds of men by the time they reach the age of 60. Loss of hair on the crown of the head or around the temples is a common sign of male pattern baldness, which can progress in some men but not in others. It is widely held that follicles in the scalps of males who experience hair loss are likely to create vellus hair that is finer and more difficult to detect. Typically, this is the result of changes in hormone levels that come with advancing age; however, smoking can also play a role in contributing to this. In contrast, women can suffer from a form of baldness known as “female pattern,” which is characterised by thinning hair and an exposed scalp. It is believed that a number of factors, including genetics, fluctuating levels of male hormones (androgens) during menopause or premenopause, and vitamin inadequacies, all have a role.
Ways of managing Hair Thinning
There is currently no treatment available for male pattern baldness. Rogaine (minoxidil), which is applied topically, and Propecia, which is taken orally, are two examples of therapies that might encourage the growth of new, thicker hair (finasteride). The outcomes of these treatments can vary significantly from one individual to the next.
Fragility and Drier
Another common alteration that occurs with ageing hair is an increase in its susceptibility to breakage. This happens as a result of a reduction in the production of sebum, which is the natural oil that plays an important role in maintaining the health and vitality of our hair. Our hair becomes more brittle and susceptible to breakage when there is less sebum in it. In addition to this, our hair may grow drier as we get older. This is due to a decrease in the production of natural oils as well as a loss in our scalp’s ability to retain moisture, both of which have contributed to this phenomenon. Because of this, our hair can become dry and brittle, which makes it more prone to breakage and other forms of damage. In addition, regular use can cause the cuticle cells to become higher and softer, which makes the hair more brittle and prone to breakage. This happens because the cuticle cells are prone to wear and tear. As time passes, the hair follicles themselves may produce hairs that are finer, shorter, or even none at all. Senile alopecia is the term used to describe this condition, which is an otherwise normal component of the ageing process.
Ways of managing Hair Fragility and Dry Hair
There are numerous products on the market that make the promise that they may reverse the effects of ageing on hair. These cosmetic solutions improve the appearance of each strand rather than altering their structure because hair is technically dead after it emerges from the follicle.
- Popular choices include humectants, which bind moisture to the cuticle and make it appear smoother; hair conditioners, which often incorporate natural oils and seal the cuticle; and finally,
- Topically applied derivatives of vitamin E, such as tocotrienols, which have the potential to lessen the effects of oxidative stress on the cuticle
Although aging hair can be a source of concern, there are steps we can take to keep our hair healthy and looking its best. Regular trims can help reduce breakage, while deep conditioning treatments can help keep our hair hydrated and strong. Additionally, using the right products for our hair type can help keep it looking healthy and vibrant. By understanding how our hair ages, we can take the necessary steps to keep it looking its best. With the right care and attention, we can ensure that our hair remains healthy and vibrant for years to come.