Have you noticed that your hair is thinner than 30 years ago? If so, you are not alone. In middle age, most people’s hair becomes thinner as the diameter of individual hair follicles, and the hair they produce, decreases. At the same time, when hair falls out at the end of its life cycle, a higher percentage of follicles remain in their resting phase rather than reactivate to generate new hair. Keep reading because we will give you a guide to improve thin hair and even gray hair.

Of the follicles that are reactivated, the hair they produce tends to have a shorter life cycle, making it increasingly difficult to maintain a longer hairstyle.

So by the time you hit 60 , most women are likely to have thinner hair, less body, and better looking when cut.

How to improve thin and gray hair

A few lucky individuals will retain a full head of long, thick hair, although the hair they wear may not be their own.

The good news is that various diet and lifestyle changes can help improve hair and make it grow thicker . And, if all else fails, your hairdresser can offer a few options, too.

Why is thin hair in women a problem?

Each of your hair follicles goes through a hair growth cycle, during which the hair lengthens, followed by a resting phase, in which the hair follicle shrinks and the bulb moves away from the root. The hair then remains at a constant length until it becomes loose and falls out.

Because each hair has its own cycle, typically 80-100 hairs are lost from the scalp per day. If daily losses are greater than this, gradual thinning occurs, especially in later life when hair growth also slows.

After the resting phase, the follicle can be reactivated to produce new hair, but this cycle does not repeat indefinitely. On average, each hair follicle reactivates about 25 times before it dies down, or produces hair that is becoming thinner and shorter.

How your hair changes with age depends in part on the genes you have inherited. It is also affected by changes in hormone levels around the time of menopause, as well as in your diet and lifestyle.

Why does hair turn gray?

Your hair color is produced by cells at the base of each hair follicle. These cells produce melanin pigments and feed them through the hair root.

The color of the pigment you produce is genetically determined. Red melanin makes your natural hair color golden, reddish or red. The black one produces brown or black hair. Pale, which is concentrated in the fluffy core of the hair shaft, rather than the outer cortex, makes your natural color more mellow or blonde.

Hair turns gray due to an age-related decrease in the activity of an enzyme called tyrosinase . This enzyme produces melanin from an amino acid called tyrosine .

The age at which your hair loses color is genetically determined and some lucky people can retain their hair tone for a lifetime.

If your hair is gray, then there is still some pigment present in the hair. If your hair is totally devoid of pigment, it becomes transparent and reflects light to make it appear snow-white.

Can hair turn gray overnight?

Stress can cause the life cycles of different hair follicles to synchronize and enter their shedding phase (telogen) together. This results in hundreds of older and more pigmented hairs falling out at the same time, producing rapid and noticeable thinning.

What is left are the finer and less pigmented hairs in the early stages of their current life cycle, which suddenly become more noticeable.

This phenomenon, known as telogen effluvium, can make someone look noticeably grayer in a short amount of time – the source of tales about someone turning gray from shock overnight.

Is lack of vitamins and minerals the reason for gray hair?

Although hair is not a living structure, the follicles that produce it contain some of the most active cells in your body. However, as hair is not an essential structure, nutrients that are in short supply are diverted from the follicles in times of deficiency.

This occurs when the blood capillaries that supply your follicles contract, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your hair. This is especially common in times of emotional and physical shock. Poor blood supply also contributes to thinning hair that is dull, dull, and stretches.

  • Lack of vitamin C can cause hair to be misshapen, tangled, and brittle, while a lack of vitamin E, or essential fatty acids, causes hair to dry out and lose shine.
  • Brittle hair and patchy hair loss can be a sign of iron deficiency, especially if there are other symptoms of anemia such as paleness, tiredness, and fatigue.
  • Patchy hair loss can also be due to a lack of B vitamins, zinc, or vitamin D deficiency, leading to messy hair cycles.
  • If you have noticed the loss of the outer third of your eyebrows or the thinning of your eyelashes, it is possible that you have an underactive thyroid gland, which can be associated with a lack of iodine. Premature aging is sometimes associated with a lack of vitamins B5, B12, or a copper deficiency.

Of course, everyone’s body is different, so it makes sense to consult with your doctor if you have any questions about your health.

What about dietary considerations?

Diet should always come first to improve hair , so select whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to nourish your hair roots.

Meats and dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron. However, if your hair is thinning, a multivitamin and mineral supplement is also a good idea to protect against nutrient deficiencies.

Before taking supplements, consult your doctor to rule out related problems such as iron deficiency anemia, nutrient malabsorption, and hormonal imbalances such as type 2 diabetes and thyroid problems that may require further investigation.

Garlic has beneficial effects on circulation by dilating small blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the peripheries such as the scalp and nail folds by up to 55 percent. The accumulation of platelets decreases significantly after a dose equivalent to half a clove of garlic and lasts for three hours. Some of the ingredients in garlic are as powerful as aspirin in this regard.

You can also stimulate circulation and increase the flow of nutrients to the hair follicles by regularly massaging the scalp with your fingers, at least once a day. Focus on the areas where your scalp seems tightly attached to the underlying bone, to help improve any constrictions in blood flow.

Protein is important

Hair consists primarily of keratin protein, which is produced using amino acid building blocks obtained from your diet.

To maintain a constant supply of protein for your follicles, eat something with every meal, be it chicken, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, or beans. If you eat a plant-based diet, you may be more prone to thinning your hair, as some essential amino acids for healthy hair (such as lysine) and micronutrients (such as vitamin B12 and iron) are often difficult to obtain in Sufficient amounts without taking a supplement for vegetarians.

Don’t skip meals if you want to improve your hair as this puts your body in survival mode to reduce the supply of protein and nutrients to the hair follicles.

Drink enough water

Water is vital to maintain optimal hydration of the cells of the hair follicles. It also helps the flow of nutrients in and out of the cells of the “inner sea” in which they bathe.

Most guidelines suggest drinking 6 to 8 glasses (250 ml) of liquid (for example, water, tea, and other unsweetened beverages) per day, in addition to eating water-rich foods such as soups, cucumbers, watermelons, and other fruits. and vegetables.

Take a hormonal booster to reduce hair loss

Hair loss increases after menopause when estrogen levels drop. This also increases the relative influence of the small amount of the hormone testosterone that is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands.

Testosterone is converted to a stronger hormone (dihydrotestosterone, DHT) in hair follicles, increasing male and female hair loss, which is genetically determined.

If you are willing (and able) to take estrogen hormone replacement therapy, this will help improve hair quality. Again, this is something you can discuss with your doctor.

An alternative approach is to consume more plant estrogens, especially isoflavones and lignans. Although these are between 500 and a thousand times less active than human estrogen, they can provide a useful hormonal boost. Isoflavones are found in edamame beans, tofu, miso, and other soy products, sweet potatoes, lentils, nuts, and seeds.

Sweet potatoes to improve hair

In addition to having estrogen-like action, lignans provide an additional benefit by inhibiting the enzyme (5-alpha reductase), which converts testosterone to the stronger dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in hair follicles. Research shows that increasing your intake of lignans (found in pumpkin seed oil, flaxseed oil, and sweet potato) is associated with a reduced rate of hair loss and hair regrowth.

What about caffeine for hair loss after 60?

If you don’t already use a caffeinated shampoo, consider switching to one. Caffeine applied directly to the scalp has two beneficial effects. Relaxes the smooth muscle fibers that surround the hair to improve blood flow. More importantly, it also inhibits the enzyme, 5-α-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone within the hair follicles of the scalp and is associated with male and female pattern hair loss.

A growing body of evidence supports the effects of caffeinated shampoos in stimulating hair follicles. Just two minutes of contact with the scalp during shampooing allows caffeine to penetrate the hair follicles, where it remains for up to 48 hours after shampooing.

Long-lasting caffeine solutions (which often include vitamins B3 and B5) are also available and have been shown to increase the cross-sectional area of ​​the scalp hair by 10%.

Drinking caffeinated beverages such as tea or coffee does not have the same effect, as caffeine must penetrate the hair follicles to inhibit 5-α-reductase.

Foods to avoid if you want to keep your hair healthy after 60

Excess salt is the number one enemy of your hair. Excess consumption has an adverse effect on hair follicles, and trichologists have found that reducing salt intake can decrease hair loss by up to 60 percent.

Stay away from sugary treats like donuts, cookies, and cakes, which do nothing to nourish hair follicles.

Helpful Supplements for Healthy Hair

  1. A multivitamin and mineral to protect against deficiencies (supplying 100% to 200% of the recommended daily amounts, depending on your age: select a supplement labeled for 50+ years or one adapted for hair, skin and support for the nails).
  2. Soy isoflavones (40 mg to 100 mg per day). If you have a medical history of a hormone-dependent condition (such as breast cancer), check with your doctor before taking them, although evidence suggests they are beneficial in these cases as well.
  3. A probiotic will supply beneficial digestive bacteria that can help increase the conversion of soy isoflavones to a stronger estrogenic version called equol.
  4. Flaxseed oil is one of the richest dietary sources of lignans.
  5. Some nutritionists may recommend l-lysine amino acid supplements.

A healthy lifestyle checklist for hair

  1. Avoid excess stress
  2. Stimulate circulation to your scalp with a daily finger massage. Also take a handful of hair and gently move your scalp from side to side, and side to side, to loosen tension and promote blood flow.
  3. Use a shampoo that contains caffeine from green tea that blocks DHT production and stimulates hair growth. Caffeine also reduces smooth muscle constriction around hair follicles to improve blood flow and nutrient distribution.
  4. Ask your doctor if you need any tests to assess your thyroid function, to measure your serum ferritin levels for iron deficiency, or if there are likely other hormonal imbalances.
Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *