You’re not alone if you have hair that’s thinning and aging with more gray hairs than you can begin to count. Unfortunately, this is just one more side effect of getting old. We can talk about graying hair in my next blog, but for now let’s just focus on why hair thins and dulls with age.
As we age, everything slows down – and that doesn’t exclude the process of our hair growth and its subsequent condition. In fact, natural changes that occur over time including our blood flow, the loss of cellular reproduction, hormone changes and diet can all impact the health of our hair. Because of these reasons, the natural oils that lubricate the scalp, hair and skin are lessened because of age. Additionally, women see a decrease in estrogen production which causes our hair to lose its thickness and shine.
Remember when we were told to brush our hair 100 times before we went to bed? Well, that actually was a very good thing because as we brushed our hair over and over we were actually pushing our natural oils down the hair shaft to the ends of our hair. Brushing keeps our hair shiny and strong. Today, there have so many great products out there that we don’t have to brush our hair for it to be soft and healthy.
According to Jarrod Harms, industry expert and manager of Detour Salon in San Diego, “with aging hair it is very important to use products that are moisturizing and softening with fewer chemicals. Replace them with products that contain more soothing agents such as silicone, antioxidants and protein to keep our hair healthy as we age.” He also states that “the products that you have been using for years will eventually seem like they aren’t working, and it’s not that the product has necessarily changed, it’s that your hair has changed.” It’s important to keep up with your changing hair by choosing products that will enhance and replenish your hair as you grow older.
In fact, you should know that many soaps, shampoos and conditioners and other beauty products are made with surfactants, a group of chemicals that are added because they’re more effective at removing dirt and oil. When grouped together, these surfactants are called sulfates. Without sulfates, our hair would feel dirty, oily and would have an overload of buildup, dirt and residue. Sulfates are needed when we are younger and our hair is healthy and producing normal levels of our natural oils.
What kinds of products should we use on our aging delicate hair? We’ve all heard about the “sulfate-free” shampoos and conditioners that are in stores and salons. These sulfate-free products have actually been around for about 15 years. They have been shown to make a significant difference when used on delicate or aging hair. In addition, it is probably a good idea to not wash your hair as often as you needed to when you were younger; let your hair’s natural oils replenish before rushing to shampoo.
It only makes sense – why would you use harsh shampoos on your thin, delicate hair? You wouldn’t use those products on your baby or child, so why should your delicate, thin hair be any different? Take care of your hair with weekly moisturizing treatments and even monthly salon treatments that will help to replenish the nutrients and moisture that aging hair needs so desperately. You don’t have to watch your hair thin and dull; there are too many helpful products out there that can help to bring back your hair’s natural glow!