CHANGES WITH AGING: HAIR
Hair is remarkably tough and in good condition, it
shines, is easy to manage. As we age hair tends to become
thinner and lose its pigmentation.
Hair growth is cyclical with a pattern of three distinct
- The anagen phase is the growing phase. 85-95% of
our body hairs are in this phase
- The catagen is a transitional phase between growth
and follicle resting
- The telogen phase is the cessation of growth and
the phase when hair loss occurs. Involves 10-15% of
hair follicles at any one time and lasts for 100 to
During our lifetime, a single hair follicle may undergo
10 to 20 cycles.
Color of hair is due to the presence in the cortex
of granules of pigment called melanin, produced by cells
[melanocytes] in the hair bulb during the growing phase.
Melanin is found in two forms:
- Eumelanin is the dark pigment
which predominates in black and brunette hair
- Phaeomelanin is a lighter pigment,
which is found in red and blond hair.
It is common to have a mixture of the two: the more
eumelanin there is in the mixture, the darker is the
Age Related Hair Conditions
The two signficant changes in hair with age are:
- Greying hair
- Hair Loss
Loss of hair color is caused by the gradual dying
of adult stem cells that continuously generate a supply
The Melanocytes stop producing pigment and small air
spaces take its place resulting in ‘transparent’
hair. The transparent hair against your healthier darker
hair gives the appearance of grey.
As a person grows older and reaches middle age, Melanocytes
start generating less pigment to the hair follicle and
as more and more of these pigment cells die, colour
is lost from individual hairs. People usually notice
their first gray hairs near their temples, later greyness
spreads to the crown, then to the back of the head.
Grey hair can be a symptom of improper protein synthesis
and lack of nutrients such as vitamin B12 and Omega
3’s. Grey hair can also occur as a result of calcium
Grey hair is one of the most familiar signs of aging,
with half of all Caucasoid people, having 50% hairs
on the scalp grey by the age of 50.
Overnight greying - In spite of stories,
hair cannot go grey overnight. What does happen is that
something triggers the sudden shedding of pigmented
hair, leaving grey hair intact.
Premature graying – sometimes
greying can occur unexpectedly early age; before the
age of 20 in Caucasoids and before 30 in Africans. This
is sometimes due to a medical condition but is more
likely genetic. Hair is regarded as prematurely gray
when 50% of scalp’s hair has changed its color
to gray by the age of 40.
Behavioural Factors - Tobacco smokers
have a four times greater likelihood of gray hair compared
to people who do not smoke tobacco.
Grey Hair Indications
Gray hair has been claimed as an indicator of higher
likelihood to develop certain medical conditions, including:
- Heart Attack
- Osteoporosis - researchers believe that the same
genes that control early graying are the same as those
that control bone density.
Hair loss can range from mild thinning to complete
baldness. When the loss of hair is constant, it can
negate personal coping strategies for self-acceptance.
Despite what many experts say, in our appearance-laden
culture, your personal value or self-worth is (sadly)
often defined by your outer appearance. In fact, its
been reported that:
- 93% of men and women think about hair loss
- 88% of these persons feel frustrated and helpless
about their condition
Antiaging Hair Treatments