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How Does Aging Affect Your Hair?

Hair loss and aging always seem to go hand-in-hand. But why is that? Medline Plus explains that the main culprit is often androgenetic alopecia, a condition that affects both men and women. Over time, you might notice that the hairline recedes to form a characteristic “M” shape. It’s estimated that this form of hair loss affects around 50 million men and 30 million women in the US. Aside from this condition, there are, of course, other effects of aging that could possibly advance your hair loss. Keep reading to learn more.

Effects of aging on hair

A single hair has a lifespan of six years. This means that most of your hair has been subjected to years’ worth of exposure to UV rays, friction from brushing, heat from styling tools, as well as chemicals from coloring or perming. This causes hair to become coarser and more prone to breaking. It might also cause the hair follicles to produce thinner, smaller hairs. Over time, they may even cease hair production completely.

Another clear sign of aging is greying hair. According to a Healthline medical advisor, your hair follicles begin producing less and less melanin once you turn 30. Melanin is what brings color to the hair — without it, hair color turns lighter and eventually white. Note that hair on other parts of the body may also change color, but not before your scalp hair begins greying.

However, factors like existing health conditions and diet can also affect how fast your hair changes. It’s best to consult a professional to ensure that your hair loss isn’t an effect of a serious condition. In this case you will need to see a healthcare provider who specializes in gerontology. This particular general healthcare field centers around developing a deeper understanding of aging and the health-related challenges of older people. If you’re hair condition is age related, a gerontologist will be able to connect you to the right physicians or specialists.

Lastly, certain medications can also lend to your hair loss. Talk to your doctor about your medications as these, too, could factor into hair loss. For instance, medicines for heart conditions that lower lipids can affect hair state. Women stopping their hormone replacement medication intake could also face increased hair loss.

Treating hair problems

  • Prevention from further damage

As early as possible, stop the practices that are damaging your hair. This includes washing too frequently and excessive heat styling. Washing more than twice a week actually strips natural oils from your scalp, and heat styling can quite literally fry your hair. Also, avoid pulling out grey hair — contrary to popular belief, plucking out grey hair won’t lead to more greying. It can, however, cause scalp and hair follicle damage.

  • Conditioners and humectants

For those bothered by the coarseness and roughness of their hair, invest in hair conditioners, leave-in treatments, and hair oils. These products bind moisture to the hair cuticle, making hair appear smoother and more hydrated. Others work as a splint to strengthen hair strands, while also adding more volume and fullness to your hair. Make sure to do this consistently as healthier hair is less likely to fall out.

  • Coloring options

If you’re bothered by greying hair, there are a variety of coloring options you can choose from to cover it up; tinted shampoos, demi-permanent dyes, vegetable-based hair colors, and permanent dyes. Keep in mind that some chemicals in coloring treatments can damage the hair shafts even more or cause allergic reactions, so use in moderation. And remember to take a patch test before trying new products.

  • Scalp procedures and hair transplants

While there is an assortment of regrowth treatments such as Minoxidil and Finasteride, scalp procedures and other surgical treatments have also become quite popular. These include scalp micro-pigmentation, which involves filling in problem areas in a manner similar to tattooing, and strip harvesting, which essentially involves transferring healthy follicles onto bald spots.

While aging is a natural phenomenon, there are a variety of ways to slow down your hair’s signs of aging. Start by keeping up hair hygiene and bodily health, then you can consult with a professional to determine the best treatment for you.

Contributed by Annie Cassandra for the exclusive use of  scalpny.com

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