What Happens To Hair As We Age?
What Are The Signs Of Aging Hair?
Estimated Read Time: 6.5 minutes
Summary: In this blog we detail and explore what the signs of aging hair are in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond. We’ll discuss what to look for, why hair ages, and you'll learn how to prevent the signs of aging hair and prolong your luscious locks!
When it comes to aging and our hair, we usually associate the color shift to gray with the main sign of growing older. And although this is the most apparent and obvious change that happens to our hair, throughout our entire lives, our hair is experiencing different changes in line with our age.
Being aware of each of these changes means we can choose the right products along the way and implement the right care at each stage, keeping our hair lush and in good condition at every age milestone we achieve…
What Happens To Your Hair In Your 20s?
This is the decade that we’re getting to know who we are as adults, and with that comes some experimentation… Unfortunately, for many of us, we include our poor tresses on this journey!
From extravagant dye, to cheap, paraben-filled products, to heated styling tools and over processing: for a lot of us, our hair goes through the mill which can result in long term damage, making our locks brittle and dry.
Try to not be too tempted by harsh dyes, chemical treatments and using heated tools daily. Reduce how much you play with your mane and explore styling in safer ways – perhaps with a bolder cut!
If you really can’t resist the tongs or the irons, make sure you’re protecting your hair with suitable products that are sulfate and paraben free, and include heat protection.
Also, SPF is something we’re better at not taking for granted in our 20s when it comes to our skin, but you should also be protecting your hair from the sun’s rays too. Read our blog on How To Protect Your Hair From Sun Damage here.
Hormones are beginning to balance now, but thyroid conditions (if they are present), tend to make themselves known in this time period of our lives. Thyroid issues can affect the condition of the hair and in some cases cause weakness and loss. So, if you don’t think you’ve been playing it too mad with your mane, but are experiencing lame locks in your 20s, it may be worth checking in with the doctor.
What Happens To Your Hair In Your 30s?
In our 30s is where we may start to notice the beginnings of thinning hair and in some cases, the start of gray hair (although for some, graying can also begin in your 20s!).
Instinct is to reach for the bottle and shake up your color, right? If you choose to do this, make sure you’re doing it safely with reputable salons, and using targeted, products in between dyes specifically formulated to support colored hair.
Also, be mindful of the amount you wash your hair and reduce it where/when you can. Over washing can strip the hair and scalp of natural oils that keep it moisturized and nourished, which are all the more important as you begin to mature.
In addition, it’s advisable to start introducing supplements in your 30s to support your skin and hair as they both start to visibly age, in particular one that leads with biotin. Biotin fuels hair via cell regeneration, and any deficiency in it can lead to excess thinning and hair loss.
Alongside staying on top of biotin, keep your diet rich in B Vitamins which help carry nutrients throughout the body, and up to the scalp and follicles. Foods that are loaded with B Vitamins are dark, leafy greens (like Kale), seafood, lean meat and whole grains.
What Happens To Your Hair In Your 40s?
Oncoming menopause is the big shift here for women in their 40s. Our bodies start producing less and less estrogen and progesterone, which slows the growth rate of hair down and new hairs come in noticeably thinner and finer.
Medications are commonly prescribed during this decade of life that affect the body’s hormones: birth control, thyroid medications, or hormone replacement therapy. All can potentially negatively affect the hair so always have a frank conversation with your doctor about potential side effects of any offered. Work out the route that’s right for you if your hair’s appearance matters a lot to you (it probably will, as we have a very emotional relationship with our hair).
Regular exercise can support you in keeping your hormone levels balanced, and making sure you’re keeping the body hydrated with the correct amount of water each day can help flush out unwanted toxins (this should be around 2 liters, but more if you exercise frequently).
Read our blog on Hair Loss & Thinning In The Menopause here, for more understanding around the subject.
How Can You Prevent Aging Hair Throughout Your Life?
As hair ages, it goes through a shortened life cycle and the pigment cells slow, meaning hair naturally thins, grays, and becomes finer/more coarse. But there are lifestyle changes you can implement now to help keep the hair thick, well nourished, strong and shiny…
- Don’t Over Shampoo - Over washing can dry out the hair, and on a more exacerbated level as you mature. Reduce the frequency of your hair washes in general to help preserve the health of your mane. Read up on How Often You Should Be Washing Your Hair According To Your Hair Type here.
- Always Use Conditioner - Conditioner is often an overlooked part of hair care, but it’s essential for supporting the hair’s hydration levels and helps boosts it’s sheen. Only condition from the mid-shaft to the ends, and use a volumizing, thickening hair mask all over once to twice a week to help promote the strength, longevity and appearance of each strand.
- Utilize The Correct Products - Color your hair? Use products that target dye-treated hair. Use heat styling tools? Invest in heat protection! Gray hair? Use toning shampoos etc. And always, always, always avoid sulfates and parabens as these can disrupt your hormones and dry out/damage the strands.
- Understand Your Medication - Some medications can affect our hair and cause weakening, thinning and hair loss. Ask for your doctor’s advice on how to counteract its effect if a side effect of hair loss is probable in your medication regime. Perhaps there is an option to explore alternative treatment if it’s causing you a lot of stress and concern.
- Eat Well - The best way we can support our hair is from the inside out. If your diet is poor, it will show externally and more so as you age. Hair follicles are primarily made up out of protein (keratin) so eat a rich diet of proteins, biotin, vitamins and minerals; namely Vitamins B, C, Folic Acid and Iron. Look to berries, dark leafy greens like spinach, eggs, avocados, lean meat, pulses, legumes and oily fish. And make sure you’re drinking 2L of water a day – more if you’re exercising. Want to be sure your body is receiving the nutrients it needs? Supplement with a multivitamin.
Remember, no one in old age is going to be able to preserve the hair they had as a teenager, but we can do our best to make sure it’s supported properly through our life with good knowledge, high quality products and a commitment to our body’s overall health.