GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- We’re all well aware of the skin changes that occur as we age, but a lesser-known fact is that your hair is aging right along with it. As it turns out, hair follicles are sensitive (and smart) organs that can detect when there are changes in the body’s state of homeostasis. And because menopause marks a significant hormonal imbalance in women, this can result in changes to your hair.
According to Angela Phipps, a board-certified hair restoration surgeon and Hair Club medical adviser, these changes can include hair shedding, thinness, dryness, difference in texture and, of course, graying. But before you reach for every shine-inducing, hair-reviving, gray-masking product on the market, check out our top four tips on how to successfully manage your aging hair.
Avoid thick, heavy products
Hair appears thinner as we age because hair sheds once we hit menopause. “With the hormonal changes in menopause, a larger percentage of hair follicles may be shedding at any given time, which results in visibly thinner hair,” says Phipps. “Thinner, finer hairs are susceptible to appearing even thinner if they are being weighed down by heavy products.” Thick creams, oils and balms should be avoided. Instead, opt for lightweight products that aim to build volume, such as quick-absorbing leave-in creams.
Focus on scalp care
According to Phipps, your hair can react to your body’s shift in hormones by reverting to their dormant phase, and it’s during this phase when the hair shafts are detached from the root and shed from the scalp. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of your scalp in order to extend the anagen phase (aka the growth phase) of the hair follicles. The good news? Hair loss typically subsides once your hormones stabilize. In the meantime, try lathering your scalp with a lightweight hair oil and giving yourself a scalp massage to stimulate hair growth.
Stay away from dry shampoo
Dry shampoo can help you stretch your hairstyle, but truth be told, it can dehydrate your already-dry strands. “Aging hair is drier in nature because there is a decrease in oil production,” says Phipps. “Any product that contains alcohol [including most dry shampoos] will increase the hair’s dehydration and result in even drier, brittle, weak hair shafts that make them more susceptible to damage and breakage.”
Use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner
Gray hairs tend to be coarse, wiry and drier in nature due to aging, so Phipps notes that it’s important to use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner as well as a weekly hair mask to keep the hair nourished. Your hair has likely changed in texture, too, so incorporating hydrating, frizz-busting products into your routine also can help keep unruly gray flyaway hair at bay. You can also look for a purple shampoo to help tone out and neutralize the dull, brassy tones in graying hair.
(Article provided by and sponsored by AARP Michigan).