The natural process of aging is an inevitable and beautiful part of life. Your skin exhibits the most visible signs of aging―wrinkles, fine lines and age spots―and you are right in taking preventive actions like using anti-aging skincare products and starting treatments that can counteract these changes. However, the visible aging process is not limited to the skin but can affect your hair too! And it’s something we usually ignore.
Here are the seven most common signs of aging that your hair may exhibit:
The most obvious sign of hair aging is greying. This is when your normally pigmented hairs start getting interspersed with white ones. Your hair turns white when melanin—the pigmentation cells in the hair follicle responsible for colour—stops being produced. While nutritional and hormonal factors, as well as, stress initiate melanin loss, the common and likely cause is genetic predisposition.
As you age your body often doesn’t get the right amount of required nutrients. The lack of essential vitamins and proteins when added to years of product use, such as repeated perms, bleaches, chemical treatments, etc., can make your hair brittle. You may find yourself experiencing extensive breakage as brittle hair, due to the lack of natural elasticity, cannot withstand rough combing or tight hairstyles.
The natural aging process leads to your hair follicles getting smaller causing each hair strand to become thinner and finer. Eventually, follicles can stop producing hair. The thinning of hair can be accelerated by genetics, shifting hormonal levels, vitamin and protein deficiencies, or certain health conditions.
- Loss of hair volume
While it is normal to lose anywhere around a hundred strands of hair per day, aging can lead to losing a much larger number of hair strands. Your hair cycle consists of three phases—a growth stage, a transition phase, and a resting phase. Aging causes each strand of hair to spend more time in each phase leading the rate of hair fall being faster than the rate of hair growth.
Just as aging causes the skin to lose its youthful glow, your hair too can suffer from a loss of shine and lustre as the years go by. Hormonal imbalances, product build-up, pollution and overexposure to the sun, can amplify the dullness that generally sets in with age.
- Texture changes
While it is common for hair to change its texture due to hormonal fluctuations every five to seven years, aging can cause your hair to become wirier and courser. Texture changes can also cause your curly hair to lose its natural curls or your straight hair to turn wavy.
Dryness is a strong indicator that your hair is aging. Oil produced by the natural oil glands travels down the hair follicle and moisturises your hair. However, natural oil glands shrink over time and don’t produce as much oil as when you were younger, leading to increased dryness.
Here is what you can do
Since hair is a huge part of your identity, hair aging can be a reason for concern. However, the good news is aging hair can be easily dealt with. All it needs is some specialist care and for you to start taking preventive steps before it’s too late.
Your first step should be to visit a reputed dermatologist or trichologist. After examining and analysing your hair and other factors such as your diet, lifestyle and medical conditions if any, your dermatologist will advise you on the right products and/or treatments to strengthen your hair.
Most commonly prescribed hair treatments include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy or Platelet Rich Plasma High Concentration (PRP HC) therapy. PRP therapy is an effective hair loss treatment that uses the plasma of your own blood to increase your hair count, hair thickness, and the growth phase of your hair cycle. PRP HC therapy uses a concentration of seven growth factors activated from your blood platelets. It has been found to be effective in stimulating the stem cells around your hair follicles to revive hair growth.
Mesotherapy and stem cell treatments, which work by nourishing the cells in your hair matrix, are other treatments that your dermatologist could recommend in combination with topical products and medication to help restore hair strength and texture.
While the natural aging process cannot be reversed, you can continue to enjoy healthy and exuberant hair by spotting the signs of hair aging and taking the necessary proactive care.