How Hair Ages
Think back to your childhood. Now focus on your preadolescent
hair, It was
probably more vibrant,
shinier, fuller, and either lighter or brighter in
than your natural hair is now. There are a few reasons for this.
During childhood, we have more hair in the growth stage than at any other time,
giving us plenty of volume. At this time in your life, the sebaceous glands are
working at the peak of their efficiency, which gives strands a high gloss. Hair
pigment hasnít started to darken, so your hair color is vibrant, and you
probably arenít yet messing around with hair-changing chemical processes, or
using heat appliances- all of which can rough up strandsí cuticles or strip them
away entirely, leaving hair dull and brittle.
Teens and 20s
During your young adult years, hair slowly begins changing from its childhood
state. Strands may become coarser, growth may slow.
Just a bit, color grows progressively darker, and the sebaceous activity for
most of us goes on overdrive, pumping out oil at a furious rate. The teens and
early 20s are a time for experimentation- and rightly so: how else are you going
to find out what works for you and what doesnít? Most of you have strong.
Slightly oily and can afford to rough it up a bit with the latest color or
texture trends. In beauty, as in life, there are no absolutes, and if your
happen to be born with fragile hair or sensitive hair, take it easy.
Your 30s, 40s, and 50s
By the time youíve reached your 30s, your hair has reached a plateau- the sebum
is being produced at a more manageable pace and you have settled into your looks
and accepted your hair type. Your strands have reached their darkest shade and
the biggest surprise awaiting you is probably the appearance of grey.
Blondes, redheads, and light brunettes are more likely to go grey, while deep
brunettes have a better chance of going white.
Of course, when you go
grey depends on your genetic
makeup Ė if you are father
and mother didnít see grey until they were 95, then you probably can expect the
same, if they both went grey in their 20, youíll probably be grey by the time
you hit 35. The 30s and 40s, however, are a kind of ďhuman average ageĒ for this
rite of passage. And while weíre on the subject of grey, keep in mind that grey
hair do not mean your strands are no longer
healthy. It simply means your cortex
no longer contains melanin. Another piece of information: grey hair often has a
wirier texture than pigmented hair, so donít be alarmed if these uncolored
strands spring away from your head at strange angles.
YOUR HAIR AND THE CHANGE
You probably know menopause is that time when your ovaries stop producing
oestrogen. Menopause can occur at any time during your adult years, but most
commonly happens during your late 40s to mid-50s. Yet regardless of when it
happens, menopause signals the end of your reproductive years, meaning no more
to this, including not having to worry about birth control and never suffering
from menstrual cramps again. Menopause is not, however, so fabulous for your
hair. Thatís because oestrogen protects you against hair loss; without oestrogen,
your locks may grow noticeably thinner. For those of you, who arenít near
menopause, ask you mothers, aunts, grandmothers, or post-menopausal friends
about how their mane altered after ďthe changeĒ; most will admit their hair has
not only frown a little (or a lot) thinner, but also finer in texture.
More bad news. For those of you genetically predisposed toward female-pattern
hair loss, menopause is when youíll learn whether or not youíre going to be
affected-this also has to do with the sudden lack of hair-helping oestrogen.
Some women find hormone replacement therapy protects them near- totally or
partially from all kinds of post-menopausal
hair loss. However,
replacement therapy has been linked with
breast, endometrial, and liver cancers;
discuss the risks with your doctor.
Your 60s and beyond
By now you may be sporting quite a head of grey-or even white- hair, Sebum
production has slowed considerably and your hair may grow drier and less in need
of shampooing (and more in need of
conditioning). Most humans experience
thinning hair with age. By thinning, I donít mean obvious
balding- although if
you are prone to that, nowís the time it will start happening. I simply mean
that you will have less hair than you did in your youth. Thatís because as we
age, our hair spends less time in anagen, or growth, stage, and more time in the
catagen (transition) and the telogen (resting) stages. At this point, there
should be no great hair surprises for you. Instead, with each decade expect a
gradual decrease in sebum production and a gradual increase in greying and