Hair Aging: How Worried Should You Be?

As women, we're trained to look out for the signs of aging from the time we are teens. But most of the information in magazines and at beauty counters or the dermatologist is focused on aging skin. The visible signs of aging on your face are hard to miss, everyone is on the lookout for crows feet or smile lines from age 25 or earlier. But what about your hair? 

"Hair aging is a valid concern," say LB at the Andre Richard Salon in Philadelphia. "But there’s always going to be people that care about their hair and take care of their hair, and people that don’t care about their hair. And if they don’t take care of their hair, then they’re going to freak out [when the signs of aging start]."

Gray hair isn't the obvious tell-tale sign it once was, since so many women color their hair. But there are other signs of hair aging to look out for and protect against. Like every other system of your body, your hair does change as the years go by. 

"As we age, our hair ages, too. It loses volume, manageability, color, moisture, and shine," said Marina Azizova, the creator of AGEbeautiful Anti-aging hair color brand. "The body's slower production of melanin, lipids, and proteins causes these changes in our hair. At the time the hair starts graying, the age-related changes in lipid content also occur in the people's hair."

By age 35 many men and women are showing some degree of hair loss, according to Azizova. "Texture related changes start around 40 as well, changes in the lipid composition affect hair softness and permeability."

Hair goes through changes such as thinning due to decrease in amino acid content, dryness due to loss of moisture, and dullness due to loss of lipids and peptides. "Wiry hair is another big problem to deal with," Azizova said. The depletion of essential lipids makes hair more difficult to manage. "As we age, hair has suddenly developed a mind of its own."

Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are LB's top priority when it comes to preventing some of these problems and keeping hair healthy. 

"Not anything you're going to find in the drugstore even if it says 'professional.' If you’re paying $8 for it, [it's not going to have the same results]." LB recommended the Pureology line or Phyto products for sulfate-free hair care.

"Prevention works for hair as well as it does for skin; strengthening, moisturizing, firming, and nourishing are vital for aging hair," Azizov said. "The leaders in hair care understand that hair changes due to aging and formulate products [like AGEbeautiful] that are specifically designed to color aging hair. These products utilize ingredients to soften hair shaft and increase penetration of the active ingredients and hair dyes for better, more solid gray coverage and youthful appearance."