All About Aging Hair and Going Gray
As we get older, our bodies undergo all sorts of different changes – and our gorgeous hair is no exception! Just like skin ages, your hair does, too. And with that can come an almost brand-new kind of mane.
Although we can’t fight mother nature, there are steps we can do to help our hair age as best as possible. The rule of thumb for maintaining fab hair health over the years is prevention rather than correction.
In this episode of our Smooth Talk blog, we'll chat through some common hair aging questions like;
- How Does Hair Change As We Age?
- What Causes Gray Hair?
- Can Stress Cause Gray Hair?
- Does Menopause Cause Gray Hair?
- And how to embrace your gray for all the "gray hair don't care" babes!
We'll shed light on these topics and provide some helpful tips for keeping your hair healthy, smooth, and hydrated as the years go by.
So without further ado, let's dive in!
How Does Hair Change As We Age?
Just like any other living thing, our hair goes through cycles of growth, aging, and even death! It sounds intense, but these steps are all a part of the natural cycle of hair health– and results in the replacement of old strands with new hair follicles in a span of 2 to 7 years. This is what helps keep hair fresh and silky over time – so keep calm and trust the process!
However, our hair typically starts to age and deteriorate in quality when we hit our 30s – eek.
Aging hair can lose its density, shine, volume, and softness. The most visible sign of aging is that hair color starts changing from its natural shade to gray, silver, and white. An added frustration about this transformation is that gray hair strands are weaker versions of our previously colored hair follicles, meaning gray hair typically has thinner, coarser, lighter, and frizzier properties – very prone to breaking.
Not what anyone really wants to hear, we know!
But what exactly is causing your hair to age and more specifically, to lose its color?
UGC: @freshbeautystudio on IG
What Causes Gray Hair?
As we age, the hair follicle (the tube where hair strands pop out) becomes weaker and produces less melanin which causes it to regrow gray. Melanin is what determines our unique hair color– so a lack of melanin will result in no hair pigmentation, or gray/white hair.
Melanin is an essential pigment produced by the follicle and is responsible for:
- Hair color: eumelanin for dark hair, pheomelanin for light hair, and a varying mixture of both produces various hair colors
- Hair protection: shielding hair from the sun and harsh elements
If this melanin becomes less sufficient, the hair color starts changing to gray, and it becomes less protected from harsh environmental factors like sun, dust, smoke, pollution, and UV light. Unprotected gray hair is susceptible to more damage from environmental factors (sometimes resulting in hair conditions like dandruff, itching or dry scalp) and also damage from heat styling and chemical processing.
And unfortunately, that's not all: Gray hair – since it now lacks the necessary melanin that helps keep hair hydrated – starts changing your hair texture, often becoming more wiry, coarse, frizzy, and dry. This can lead to extra breakage as hair becomes more brittle.
There are many factors that can cause gray hair, and some of them are out of your hands. One of the biggest factors of graying hair is your genetic makeup. According to a Nature Communications study published in 2016, the interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) gene is responsible for regulating production and storage of melanin. While we aren’t able to control our genetic makeup yet, there are some actions we can take to help aging hair. Like we said - prevention, not correction! Let’s get into the tips.
Can Stress Cause Gray Hair?
Research has shown that yes, stress can cause gray hair.
For starters, it's already proven that our visible hair color is determined by melanocytes (pigment-producing) cells, which are made from the "melanocyte stem cells" inside the hair follicle – remember that tube where hair strands pop out?
This research proved that when we are continually stressed, the stress produces a harmful chemical called norepinephrine into the melanocyte stem cells living in the hair follicle. The norepinephrine then disables the melanocyte and stops it from producing new melanin pigment. Unfortunately, due to the absent monocyte stem cells and melanocyte pigment, their hair strands lose their visible color– turning hair gray.
So If you've been wondering what causes premature gray hair, consider a little evaluation of your emotional grievances and stressors. Take a deep breath and try to get some zen.
Fortunately, premature graying from stress can be prevented– and we'll share how. But before that, let's look at another unconventional condition that can cause gray hair and hair loss– Menopause.
Does Menopause Cause Gray Hair?
The short answer: Yes, Menopause is another major cause of gray hair.
There are various hormones in women – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc. – all responsible for different functions in how a woman's body works. However, as a woman ages, especially in her menopausal age, the level of these hormones starts to drop. And as research has shown, the drop in these hormones leads to an increase in other hormones (androgens), which in turn affects the follicles, causing them to regrow gray.
Also, during a woman's menopause, the blood vessels responsible for supplying hair roots with nutrients start to diminish, which reduces the ability of the melanin pigment to maintain the hair color, resulting in graying.
With all these causes for hair aging, how can we help to keep our hair as fresh as can be at any age? Check the list below babe.
Tips For Maintaining Hair’s Vitality Over the Years
So how can we keep our gorgeous gray hair luscious, full, and hydrated as we age? Here are a few quick tips:
# Consume More Protein
Start eating more protein-centered diets, at least 40 to 60 grams daily.
Hair follicles majorly contain a protein called Keratin. We have a feeling if you’re here, you probably already know a thing or two about keratin ;)
Structuring your diet around a lean protein source in each meal is a great way to sustain protein levels in your hair! Another way is through the usage of keratin-rich hair products– *Gussi has entered the chat*
Gussi products are structured around a healthy dose of hair’s favorite protein building block: keratin. Using Gussi’s keratin-rich products is a fantastic way to boost hair health and ensure your beautiful hair is maintaining vital levels of protein as you age.
# Take More Vitamins
Vitamins aid hair growth, so consuming more of the vitamins you lack can help to keep your levels in check. Most especially, iron, riboflavin, biotin, vitamins A, B, C, D, B6, and B12. (BTW - many of these vital hair vitamins are found in Gussi’s nutrient-rich At-Home Keratin Treatment!). There’s plenty of great options for hair, skin & nail boosting vitamins available almost anywhere you buy food, drugs, or supplements.
# Take a Chill Pill (Figuratively)
We already dropped the bad news that stress can lead to premature hair aging. But the upside is that there’s never been more ways to combat stress than there are today.
Do things that make you happy and less anxious. Mindful meditation, walks outdoors, and unplugging from your devices are all viable solutions to excessive stress. Hit the gym for some yoga or pilates, curl up with your fave mag or a good book. Spend more time with loved ones, even if that has to be a FaceTime vs IRL.
# Take Good Care Of Your Hair and Scalp
This is very important, as no one is born with perfect hair that stays forever. We’re all human!
Caring for your hair protects it from the symptoms of hair aging we want to avoid, like brittleness, frizz, and breakage.
Keep your scalp gently cleansed and hair always nourished - we love leave-in conditioner and deep conditioning masques for extra boosts. Use high quality towels and combs, and check your shower water to ensure it’s not too harsh or too hot. Frequent gentle brushing and regular trims will also help keep strands feeling and looking their best.
And if you want fabulous hair that’s shiny, smooth, and frizz-free, then use clean, high-quality, hard-working hair care products like the Gussi collection of shampoo, conditioner, and at-home keratin treatment. Our keratin-infused collection delivers all of the good stuff hair needs, without any harsh or nasty chemicals it doesn’t.
Gussi Benefits for Aging and Gray Hair
While we love embracing gray hair, the accompanying symptoms… not so much. When it comes to hair treatment to help love any of the 50 shades of gray (sorry, couldn’t help it), nothing beats Gussi’s at-home keratin treatment. For our gorgeous gray hair gals who need a little extra help with smoothing, defrizzing, and maintaining hair strength– Gussi is your new best friend!
The DIY Gussi keratin treatment provides your hair follicles with the right amount of protein needed to smooth, tame, and add nourishment to the hair, especially as it changes texture from going gray. That's why here at Gussi, we've produced the most efficient Keratin Treatment products free from formaldehydes, parabens, and phthalates. Just the good stuff in here! You also don't have to worry about your beautiful gray hairs developing a brittle texture– Gussi will give your gray hair the best soft, smooth, and shiny texture you desire
Are the Gussi benefits applicable to aging hair as well? Absolutely! Gussi’s Keratin Treatment is beneficial for hair health at every stage. Gussi contains ingredients with anti-aging properties plus keratin proteins that provide your hair follicles with the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of hair cells.
Check out these incredible results on one of our featured gray hair girls:
So if you’re a "gray hair don't care, babe," Gussi’s got your back big time!
The Bottom Line…
Aging doesn't have to be the end of healthy hair for you.
While many factors lead to gray hair including aging, menopause, vitamin deficiency, and more, Gussi Keratin Treatment Kit can help you maintain the best healthy hair, and keep your grey locks hydrated, luscious, and healthy!