Hair also ages

Well yes, even hair ages.

We talk a lot about aging skin and little about hair, but simply because this aging process is aesthetically much more visible on the skin than on the hair .

Once we have passed the 40-year mark, we notice that the skin begins to show the first signs of sagging, with increasingly visible wrinkles. The same process of "decay" also happens to our hair and the first visual sign is certainly graying .

Unfortunately, this phenomenon of aging of the barrel goes far beyond the aesthetic side.

The speed of growth of the stem slows down, there is a lower blood flow to the hair bulb also resulting in a decrease in the supply of vitamins and trace elements.

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to deal with hundreds of people who enter menopause accuse this process of "decay" of the shaft even more strongly precisely because by changing the hormonal balance, the hair is among the first to be affected:

it becomes thinner, losing strength and body and becoming much more fragile and less elastic.

Obviously the genetic predisposition is the one that most affects the timing of aging of the hair , but also autoimmune diseases or various forms of stress, lasting or sudden, can lead to graying of the hair.

In some women, it is pregnancy itself that leads to the appearance of white hair , just as trauma or an unexpected painful event can inhibit hair pigmentation.

There are those who live peacefully with gray hair , accepting their natural look and those who choose to cover gray hair naturally with the help of henna and herbal dyes.

To deepen the topic, I asked for the intervention of Francesca Esposito Amendola, Tricologist Technician

The Protagonists of the article:

The Hair Follicle: Formation that originates from the epidermis sunk into the dermis from which the hair originates.

Melanocytes: Cells responsible for the production of melanin, which are located in the matrix.

Melanin: Pigment produced by melanocytes which gives color to the hair.

Keratin: Structural protein of the hair, composed of amino acids.

The Cuticle: The outer part that lines the hair shaft.

The stem: also known as the stem, is the portion of the hair that protrudes from the skin.

Alkalizing substances: Substances that have a pH higher than 7.

Porosity: Porosity relates to the state of the hair cuticle and determines its ability to absorb water and other substances applied to the shaft.

even hair grows old white hair beautilicious delights

Even the tresses are showing their age

Hair, like skin, undergoes physiological changes over time that are aesthetically evident.

Around the age of 35, the number of hairs decreases, and the reduction proceeds differently from person to person. Hair becomes thinner over time.

In addition to biological aging , hair is subjected to the aggression of various external factors. We are talking about dyes, thermal and mechanical stress such as plates and brushing.

In women, the typical changes of menopause affect not only the body in general, but also the hair: the reduction of estrogen hormones makes the hair thinner and sparser.

In some cases there is a premature fall before the hair can have reached the ideal length.

The signs of aging: white hair.

Why does hair turn white?

Hair aging is commonly identified with graying , or white hair . The appearance of white hair is a physiological phenomenon "therefore natural", and is due to the reduction of the function of melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin.

If only melanocytes produced melanin throughout life, how much easier life would be for all of us! Instead the melanocytes deteriorate over the years until they completely disappear from the matrix.

This reduction is therefore linked to the passage of time. But it can also have other causes such as hereditary factors, physiopsychic traumas, diseases, etc.

On average, the first white hair appears around the age of 35, starting from the temples to the top of the head. When white hair appears around the age of 20, we speak of premature graying , in this case determined by hereditary factors.

I remind you that the natural color of the hair derives from the melanin produced by melanocytes and if you want to learn more about what determines the color of the shaft, I talked about it in a dedicated article: Who defines the color of our hair?

The appearance of white hair suggests a genetically programmed "exhaustion", related to the age and pigment potential of each hair follicle.

If we compare a white hair with a naturally pigmented hair, the difference is not only in the shade of the hair: the white hair (without melanin) appears dull, opaque while the pigmented hair reflects a lively luminosity resulting brilliant.

White hair, devoid of pigment , may appear thinner or thicker than colored hair and grow faster . However, to date, the mechanism underlying this phenomenon is largely unknown.

graying_aging graying white hair beautilicious delights

Factors that accelerate hair aging and the appearance of gray hair.

In addition to being genetically determined, the appearance of white hair is also influenced by external factors such as:

  • UV rays, which increase cellular oxidation, with the formation of free radicals.
  • the smoke,
  • pollution,
  • incorrect nutrition.

The aging of melanocytes and the consequent decrease in melanin production can be associated with oxidative stress, i.e. free radicals that cause damage to the cell's DNA.

Oxidative stress, i.e. an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the quantity of antioxidant systems, is generated by a series of environmental factors but also by endogenous factors such as inflammation or psycho-emotional stress.

Aged hair is fragile, porous and brittle, especially at the ends. They appear dull and devoid of their natural colour.

White hair has a lower quantity of sulfur amino acids in its keratin structure. This results in a lower quality of the hair shaft and greater brittleness.

White hair needs special attention.

Presenting in some cases a greater porosity ( that is the capacity of the hair to absorb and retain water and/or other substances) due to the opening of the cuticular scales, it is advisable to use cosmetic products suitable for a conditioning action.

The shampoo must be delicate, choosing well-balanced formulas in terms of washing base.

Avoiding products based exclusively on primary anionic surfactants that you can recognize on the labels with their INCI names:

  • Sodium laureth sulphate
  • Ammonium lauryl sulphate
  • Tea lauryl sulfate
Alternatively, we always have washing powders obtained by drying and pulverizing special plants that contain saponins and cleanse the skin and stem in a delicate and natural way.

    Avoid rubbing the hair during the drying phase, using soft fabrics ( such as bamboo fiber towels ) to remove excess water.

    Microfibre cotton bamboo hair towel

    White hair , given its structural fragility, is particularly affected by all chemical treatments involving the use of oxidizing and highly alkalizing substances.

    How to prevent hair aging?

    In addition to the precautions in the treatments, to prevent hair aging it is necessary to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Firstly by eliminating smoking and alcohol.

    A correct diet that is balanced in all its components is also fundamental.

    Slimming diets often cause deficiencies in vitamins and trace elements that are important for hair health. B vitamins and vitamin C are vitamins for hair par excellence.

    A diet rich in vitamins and amino acids can improve hair pigmentation but graying cannot be stopped . The whitening of the hair is never instantaneous. It is the new hair growing in the bulb that turns white.

    Personally I have experienced early gray hair, even before the age of 20 I counted the first white hair. For more than 15 years I have been making traditional chemical dyes, with and without ammonia, chasing the mirage of chemical-free hair dye .

    Then I was lucky enough to discover that I could easily cover my now lots of white hair (more than 70% white regrowth) using henna and herbal dyes, obtaining excellent coverage and a splendid chameleonic brown.

    If you want to find out more about it, I invite you to read this article for a quick smattering of the world of dyeing herbs: Henna (Lawsonia Inermis) and Natural Dyes: 19 things to know before coloring your hair!

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