Geting older certainly affects the way our hair looks and behaves.
Whether it’s the explosion of gray, the annoying gray roots that ruin your expensive color job or the increasing number of bad hair days – there’s no denying that hair problems get worse over 40.
Taking better care of your hair is vital especially if you’re going gray – what you got away with when you were twenty just won’t work in your forties or fifties.
Looking after older hair is getting easier as anti aging products now include many devoted to restoring your crowning glory to its youthful best.
So how does hair change as you age – what are the problems you need to look out for?
The most obvious sign is a change in color. We all expect this one. As we age, our hair follicles produce less melanin – the pigment that gives hair its color – and hair becomes gray.
Not everyone dislikes their gray and many women see gray hair as the least of their hair care problems. It all depends on what shade of gray emerges.
If it hasn’t hit you yet – look at the color of your youthful hair before melanin production stops. The darker and more blue-black your hair generally the better your gray head will look. Although having said that – pale blond can age to a very attractive pale silver and hardly any one will notice!
If you want to know when graying will affect your hair – take a look at your parents. If they went gray either early or late you are more likely to follow in their footsteps.
Genetics do play an important role in how your hair changes though, with Caucasians going gray earlier than Asians, for example. Very dark to black hair often goes gray with more style – that lovely blue silver color that needs no enhancement. Again – that’s less usual than the mix that most of us more mousey browns get stuck with.
Hair is basically a strand of protein that grows through a follicle – a small opening in the skin. Amazingly – each hair will usually remain with us for about 4-5 years before it’s shed and replaced with a new hair.
Although genetics determine the thickness of your hair, most people experience some hair loss with age and much of the anti aging hair care market targets the problems of thinner hair. As we get older the rate of hair growth slows and each strand becomes thinner. The result – thinner hair rather than the thick, lush hair we used to toss and flick around for effect in our youth.
For some women – especially those with less thick hair to start with – thinning hair can be quite severe. Hair loss in women is different than for men and can produce that see through look all over the scalp which is so distressing. Although thinner hair is definitely one of the worst of the age related hair problems – nowadays there is a lot that can be done to improve overall condition and thickness. Patience is required because hair growth is restricted and you can only do so much to make your hair grow faster.
But why is older hair more dry? You may never have had a problem with dry hair but seemingly overnight you can suddenly have a problem. You may not have realized that hair consists of around 13% water. As we age our hair loses some of this water and becomes dry. Dry hair is less shiny than hydrated hair so the result is often dull, unhealthy looking hair.
If you’re suffering from the problem of dull, dry hair then you should try not to over use heated appliances such as straightening irons, curling tongs and even hair dryers in your hair care routine. Restrict how much you use these and when you do – apply special hair finishing products to protect the hair shaft from heat damage.
You can do a lot to restore the shine and gloss of healthy hair. Whatever hair problems you’ve been having – start from the inside out with what you eat and pay special attention to conditioning your hair
Keep your hair color topped up – colored hair will look shinier than gray – provided you condition it properly. And whether you’re unashamedly gray or you haven’t “come out” yet – get a great cut regularly. Shorter hair cuts keep split ends and dryness at bay and are easier to nourish and condition.
The upside is that the extra attention will repay you ten fold. You don’t need to accept hair problems as a fact of getting older. There’s nothing better for your self esteem than knowing your hair looks good and great hair really can make you look ten years younger.