Virtually everyone sees their hair as part of their identity. How we care for it and style it tells the world who we are: relaxed and carefree, elegant and sophisticated, or modest and neat.
That’s why when our hair starts to change before our very eyes, we sometimes start to panic. We want to keep the same gorgeous locks that we’ve come to know and love throughout our lives. How dare our hair give away the fact that we’re not as young as we used to be?
As our hair changes, we need to adapt our hair care routine. The same products and processes may no longer be suitable. So that you aren’t caught off guard when these changes inevitably occur, here’s a list of the major ways our hair changes as we age, and what you can do about it.
Perhaps you’ll go gray prematurely, or you might rock the salt-and-pepper look for years before going fully gray. But it’s inevitable: if you live long enough, your hair will eventually go gray. Your genetics determines exactly when that will happen. Gray hairs tend to pop up on the temples first, and then the color loss continues up to the top of the head.
You have two options when it comes to graying: you can embrace this mark of maturity and wear it proudly, or you can fend off its mortifying presence with a regular dyeing routine. It’s completely up to you and how you personally feel about these signs of aging.
Each individual hair on your head grows for a number of years before it reaches the end of its life cycle and falls out. As you age, these hairs are often replaced by thinner strands with less density and composed of fewer “fibers” at the microscopic level.
If you haven’t noticed more hair coming out in the shower or in your brush than usual but feel that your ponytails are thinner, this could be a sign of thinning strands. Your hair dresser might also notice that your hair seems less thick.
As usual, genetics and hormones take some of the control away from us when it comes to battling thinning strands. However, some dermatologists recommend a healthy diet, complete with many natural sources of B vitamins, to give hair the building blocks for thick, lush hair. You can also research topical treatments, and get a good hair dryer to be sure you aren’t causing premature damage from too much heat.
You’re brushing away and notice that hair is just sticking to your brush like never before. Or you’re washing your hair in the shower, and suddenly a bundle of hair comes out in your hand. What gives?
Unfortunately, it is another common sign of aging. Some of the follicles on your head will stop producing hair altogether, giving that thin, wispy, “old lady” look over time.
Hormones play a large role here. If you have not experienced menopause yet, you may want to talk to your doctor about a blood test to determine a root cause of your hair loss. Your thyroid gland could be the culprit, for example. Pinpointing the cause of premature hair loss can help slow it down, but once you reach a certain age, hair loss becomes another “badge of honor.”
No matter how your hair changes as you age, preventing heat and chemical damage, eating a healthy diet and treating your hair with the best products will promote vibrant hair for as long as possible.