Turning gray isn’t the only sign of aging hair. You may notice your hair is more dry, brittle and dull as you enter your middle age. As we age, moisture leaves our hair which makes shine and volume hard to maintain. Continue reading to learn about the causes of aging hair and how to care for it.
Changes in Your Hair and Scalp
Aging hair often becomes drier due to shrinking oil glands that keep natural oil from reaching the hair as it should. The causes of dry hair in your middle age can range from post-menopausal hormone changes, malnutrition, hypothyroidism and constant heat styling.
Once menopause starts, your estrogen levels drop, which can slow hair-growth. Additionally, post-menopausal inflammation can destroy hair-follicles and leave scarring, causing the hairline to recede. Other causes of hair thinning are diet, stress, and heredity.
Hair Texture & Appearance
In your middle age, your hair texture can become brittle, flat and dull. Brittle hair is a result of extremely dry hair. It lacks the elasticity to withstand styling. A loss of shine is caused by environmental factors such as smoking, hormonal imbalances, a buildup of product, pollution, or overexposure to the sun.
Your scalp can become itchy when its natural moisture balance is disturbed. A dry and itchy scalp if often associated with aging skin conditions like Atopic Dermatitis or psoriasis. Excessive itching of your scalp can lead to hair loss.
5 Tips for Healthier Hair and Scalp
Start showing your hair and scalp extra care with these 5 tips.
1. Only wash your hair 2-3 times a week.
Although your hair may appear oily or greasy, try not to wash your hair more than 3 times a week. When you over wash your hair, your oil glands over-compensate for the loss of oils stripped by your shampoo. By washing your hair less, you will train the oil glands to not over-produce oil.
When it’s time to wash, consider using a sulfate-free shampoo and moisturizing conditioner. Sulfates are inexpensive detergents that strip your hair of natural oils. Sulfates can cause skin irritations, scalp dryness and dandruff, hair loss and will quickly fade color treated hair. A sulfate-free shampoo will provide nourishment to the hair follicles and the scalp to strengthen your hair.
2. Use a hair mask 1-2 a week
Hair masks are filled with oils, butters, lipids and other humectants to restore and nourish your hair. Deep-conditioning masks can help fight frizz, dryness, and breakage. You will let a conditioning mask soak from anywhere between 5 minutes to all night long. There are many types of masks that can target your specific hair problem. In general, the ingredients to look for are avocado oil, olive oil, argan oil, shea butter, honey, and bananas.
3. Feed your hair
Your diet plays an important role in your hair health. A nutritional imbalance can lead to hair loss. Your hair cells need a balance of complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins and minerals to function at their best. More specifically, a diet rich in protein, biotin, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and B vitamins will be beneficial in strengthening your hair. Introduce these foods into your diet to increase your hair health.
- Protein: lean meats, tofu, low-fat cheese, and quinoa
- Biotin: lentils, carrots, walnuts, and cauliflower
- Iron: lean beef, soybeans, eggs, tuna and spinach
- Omega-3: salmon, sea bass, flax seeds, soybeans, and canola oil
- Zinc: shellfish, sunflower seeds, beef, lamb, and pine nuts
- B Vitamins: pork, beans, oatmeal, and low-fat dairy foods
Nutritional needs will vary based on the individual, so it is best to check with a doctor before making any extensive diet changes.
4. Find a scalp serum
Your scalp is skin and must be cared for in a similar way—wash it, mask it, and apply serum! In your middle age, you may find your scalp to be itchy, red, sensitive and producing less hair. A scalp serum is a beneficial way to repair damage, increase growth and shine, and protect against environmental damage.
In order to find the serum that will best solve your problem areas, first consider if you have an oily or dry scalp.
An oily scalp often occurs in patches and can feel wet or waxy. This signals an imbalance in your sebaceous glands. A serum for an oily scalp will correct imbalances and soothe inflammation of the hair follicle, which manages oil production. Look for beneficial ingredients like apple cider vinegar and ginger oil in a serum.
On the other hand, a dry scalp typically extends across multiple areas of your scalp. If your scalp is flaky or itchy this is a sign of a dry scalp. A dry scalp requires a serum that gently removes excess buildup, while providing more hydration. Find a serum that includes soothing ingredients like tea tree oil or coconut oil.
Explore your scalp needs further in this Better Not Younger blog article.
5. Loose hairstyles & Gentle Styling
It’s time to ditch the tight hairstyles! Tight hairstyles cause tension in your scalp and can lead to breakage around your hairline. Hairstyles like high and tightly wound buns, slicked-back high ponytails, tight braids or cornrows should be avoided. Go easy on your scalp with looser hairstyles like a low ponytail or loose bun.
The easiest way you can care for your hair and scalp is being gentle! Whether you brushing, washing, or styling, just be gentle (especially when your hair is wet). You may be in a rush, but always consider how you treat your hair.