African Hair And Ageing | Salon Secret Africa

African Hair And Ageing: How Does It Change?

Salon Secret
06 March 2018

Getting older isn’t something you want to think about. But if you want to be 50 and fabulous, or 60 and sensational, being prepared is everything. Looking after your hair now will, in theory, help to prevent the onset of problems that affect older women’s hair.

So, what happens to your hair as you get older? What should you look out for?

The most obvious way that your hair reflects ageing is that it turns grey. Stress can accelerate the process, but genetics play a big part in when the salt-and-peppering starts. The important thing to know is that as we age, pigment cells die in our hair follicles. Sprouting hairs then lack melanin and look pale. Voila! You’re on your way to grey.

As you get older, your hair will also be hard hit by the hormonal changes associated with menopause (and yes, we know that thought also turns you into an ostrich!). Basically, as your female oestrogen levels decrease, male hormones called androgens increase. Combined, the effect is an unwanted trifecta:

  1. Your hair thins, especially around the crown, as hair production decreases.
  2. You start shedding a lot more hair than before, which doesn’t grow back as well.
  3. Overall, your hair becomes drier, duller and more brittle as your scalp reduces production of the oils that give hair its shine and suppleness.

If you have African hair, there are a few other things to watch out for as you get older. Coiled strands are more fragile than straighter hair to begin with, and age only amplifies the problem. Hair and scalp become dryer, and hair growth slows. For older black women, thinning hair and a receding hairline are serious, noticeable concerns – especially if you have a history of harsher hair care practices.

Hanson replied, “Hair is an extension of the skin, and as we grow older our skin loses its texture, suppleness and elasticity due to ageing. As our hair does too, it’s important to take extra care of it. Use a deep conditioner or hair mask weekly to deeply nourish your hair.”

Hanson’s top tip is to use deep conditioners or masks with heat, as heat allows the hair shaft to swell so the treatment can more easily penetrate to the shaft core. He adds, “After you’ve applied the product, pop on a shower cap and sit under a hairdryer for about 20 minutes. If you don’t have a hairdryer, leave the shower cap on for an extra 30 minutes to allow your body heat to do the same job.”

Remember, if you want to talk hair ageing with a professional, pop into your nearest salon, which you can find here.

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