Aging, as we know it, is certainly a beautiful thing in its own right, however, it can also be unbelievably frustrating. You find your perfect remedy to one ailment, only to be struck a week later by the next in what seems like a never-ending saga of bodily changes. So what is it about getting older and your hair changing so much, – we’re talking thinning, color change, coarseness, and curl – and what on earth are we supposed to do about it?
The good news is, it may be somewhat reversible. By that, I mean your hair may be negatively reacting to one or more factors in your life that can be easily changed. And while it may still be genetic, there are a number of things you might be able to do to repair your otherwise unruly hair to get it back to its former glory.
Let’s be real, there are a lot of reasons your hormones may be doing the shuffle. It could be birth control, menstruation, pregnancy, or simply age (hello menopause)! All of these could cause any number of changes to your hair. A significant loss of estrogen causes hair follicles to shrink, which can lead to a reduction in the thickness of the hair. Additionally, during menopause, estrogen levels tend to drop and are replaced by androgen. This rise often results in a finer texture, and can also send varying signals to your hair follicles, physically changing their shape and creating a curl where your hair used to be straight, or vice-versa.
One way to combat this is to introduce naturally estrogen-saturated foods into your diets, such as nuts, seeds, plant-based proteins like tofu and soybeans, berries, and red wine. While post-partum hair loss may seem extreme, it is temporary and simply due to your body getting back on track. Of course, if you think this is due to a change in birth control, talk to your doctor about what your other options may be.
Have you ever noticed that your hair seems to have a mind of its own on a humid day? That’s because water molecules are like tiny magnets that are pulling on your hair creating a lot more hydrogen bonds than would happen in a dryer climate. This causes it to react in different ways, i.e. become wavy or curly. Hard water can also wreak havoc on your locks, as it may be contaminated with chlorine, calcium, magnesium, or other harsh chemicals. This can cause your hair to seem dry and dull.
A simple way to correct both of these is to use a hydrating shampoo. These shampoos and conditioners are not only hydrating, bringing life back to your hair, but can also be incredibly restorative. They can work to repair breakage and split ends and strengthen hair against future damage.
Loss of Collagen and Protein
While collagen is most known for its ability to keep wrinkles and cellulite at bay, it is also a key player in the heath of your hair. As we age our bodies naturally begin to produce less collagen. Surprisingly this change typically begins around age 25, but as we now know, the hair follicle plays a huge role in the texture of our hair. So, as our skin loses elasticity and the follicle becomes weaker, it’s not so surprising that hair is the next thing affected. Collagen acts as an antioxidant, which your body uses to fight free radicals, or the buildup from environmental pollutants on the scalp, then causing damage and thinning to the hair itself. It also may lead to premature graying.
Along with this, too much or a lack of protein in your diet may be the culprit. Protein functions to support fine or medium hair, giving it strength and silkiness. However, if you have thick, curly hair, too much protein can actually do the exact opposite resulting in rough, brittle, or dry strands.
There are a few ways to introduce more collagen into your routine, including shampoos, Collagen infused vita-gummies, and powders you can mix into food such as smoothies, coffee, and homemade energy bites like these raspberry chocolate ones. As far as protein, the suggested amount of daily intake is about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. However, you know your body best, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you.
Routine, Routine, Routine
We all know that too much stress for too long can catapult us into premature aging resulting in hair loss, hair thinning, and hair turning gray. What you may not realize is the hair re-growth cycle lasts anywhere from four to seven years, meaning every four to seven years each strand of hair is completely replaced by a new one. This new mane is likely to have its own set of properties that may or may not look and feel like the old one.
We are constantly bombarding our hair with heat tools, styling products, over-brushing, and over-cutting. Heat and color can damage the hair, while overuse of products can clog pores and cause damage to the follicles themselves. While your body is taking care of the hair by re-growing it, you can try the New Dawn scalp cleanser from Better Not Younger to give it that extra boost. Note this can also help with those free radicals we mentioned earlier.
There are an alarming amount of seemingly minuscule factors that can cause the texture of your hair to change. Although certain changes are inevitable, like thinning and graying, there are certainly ways to slow these processes down, and even reverse some premature effects. The top things I recommend paying close attention to our protein intake, if you’re coloring or heat treating your hair often and the types of products you’re putting on your hair. If none of these seem to be the culprit try combatting texture changes with specially formulated products, diet, and supplements, as they can make an incredible difference. And of course, don’t forget to drink water.
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