If you have wavy hair, you are all too familiar with the frustration of a bad haircut. On the other hand, a great haircut can make any type of hair look beautiful. That said, with...
Changes in the way your hair looks and feels are some of the most noticeable signs of aging. As we get older, hair can become thinner, making it more likely to fall out. You might notice that your hair changes color and texture over time as well.
However, these changes are not necessarily due to us aging alone. Changes in hair over time are often due to the way hair cells respond over time. See, hair is made up of living cells called keratinocytes. They grow from follicles under the layers of our skin.
The hair shaft that hair grows from is made up of three layers: the cuticle, the cortex, and the medulla. The cuticle is the outer layer, which is made up of cells that work as a protective barrier. The middle layer, known as the cortex, is made up of pigment, which gives hair its color.
Last but not least, the innermost layer is known as the medulla, and it contains nerves that help us sense pain or temperature changes. As we age, so do our skin cells, and their response to aging affects the way our hair looks and feels. Now, let’s explore what this means in terms of what to expect from your hair as you get older.
5 Ways Hair Changes With Age
When you look in the mirror, does your hair look different than it used to? If you're noticing changes with your hair, it's not just in your head. Hair changes as we age, and these changes can be either subtle or dramatic depending on the person.
When we are younger and our bodies are healthy and robust, our hair grows quickly and is generally thick, shiny and healthy looking. As we age however, this process slows down significantly so that by middle age most people will have noticed some difference in their locks compared to what they were used too earlier on in life.
There are five main ways that hair changes as we age:
- Thinner and finer strands
- Fewer curls
- More breakage
- Hair loss
Noticeable Sign of Aging #1: Thinness and Finer Strands
As you get older, hair becomes less thick overall. Your hair becomes finer due to the loss of elasticity that you once had. Finer hair often results in thinner strands, which is compounded by hair loss over time. Also, fine hairs may appear alongside grayness. This happens because the growth of hair beneath the surface is less active.
Noticeable Sign of Aging #2: Dryness
When hair shafts become damaged by environmental factors, such as sun exposure or chemical treatments, hair loses its ability to retain moisture. This causes hair to become drier and drier over time, feeling rougher. A keratin treatment could be beneficial for smoothing out the cuticle locking in moisturizers and botanicals. As always, be careful with the amount of heat that you apply.
Noticeable Sign of Aging #3: Fewer Curls
A lack of curls later in life is often a byproduct of the other signs of aging. In other words, fewer curls can be the result of lower rates of elasticity, more brittle strands, hormonal imbalances, and broken hair shafts.
Noticeable Sign of Aging #4: More Breakage
Many factors make hair more prone to breakage. Even something as simple as your hair getting caught in other objects, including combs or brushes, can cause breakage. That’s because hair is pulled from their roots or snapped in half instead of being cut cleanly on purpose with a tool like scissors.
Noticeable Sign of Aging #5: Hair Loss
The most common cause of hair loss in women is a hormonal imbalance. The overproduction of male hormones known as androgens cause the follicles to shrink. The result is the production of smaller hairs with finer shafts. This makes them more prone to breakage and increases their risk of falling out at some point. However, in addition to a hormonal imbalance, other factors like medications or nutritional deficiencies may contribute to hair loss as well.
Secondary Symptoms of Aging
If you're experiencing hair loss, it's important to see a professional and get your vitals checked out. Hair loss can be caused by many factors, including stress, hormonal changes, and a lack of sleep. It could also be the result of a poor diet or unhealthy exercise habits. Smoking and drinking alcohol are also two known contributors to hair loss in women who are going through menopause. Consider the secondary symptoms of aging when trying to determine what is causing you to lose your hair.
How To Manage Noticeable Signs of Aging
Age-related changes to your hair can happen for many reasons. However, a lot of these changes are natural, and you shouldn’t feel bad about yourself for experiencing normal signs of aging.
In addition to changes in texture and appearance, some people also experience graying or balding as they age. It’s part of the process, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are trending movements to embrace gray hair but we know that half of all American women color hair.
When you know what's happening to your hair and why those changes are taking place, you can figure out how to cope with the situation. If you're worried about how your hair looks as a result of hair loss or signs of aging, don’t lose hope. There are measures you can take to minimize the affects of aging, so give some of those ideas a try.