Why Does Your Hair Thin As You Age?

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Candi Randolph

As we age, many changes occur in our bodies, and our hair is no exception. One of the most noticeable changes is that our hair tends to become thinner with time. But why does this happen? Why does your hair thin as you age?

The answer is not so simple. Age-related hair loss could be due to a variety of reasons, including genetics, hormonal changes, environmental factors, and even our lifestyles.

why does your hair thin as you age

Imagine that you’re standing in front of the mirror one day, brushing your hair as you always do, when you suddenly notice that your once-full head of hair is looking a bit less thick than usual. Is your hair getting thinner, you wonder? Perhaps it’s not as shiny, or maybe it doesn’t fall quite as gracefully around your face.

You may feel a range of emotions at that moment – from confusion to disappointment to worry.

But the good news is that you’re certainly not alone. In fact, thinning hair is something that affects millions of women over 50. And with the right tools and information, there are steps you can take to treat it and even prevent it from getting worse.

So, if you’re looking to understand why your hair is thinning and what you can do about it, keep reading!

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What is Happening to Our Hair?

Hair is a remarkable feat of nature. Made primarily of the protein keratin, it grows from the hair follicle situated in the dermis layer of the skin.

It’s made up of a complex system of individual hairs, each with its follicle, root, and shaft. Each strand of hair is made up of keratin, a strong protein that gives hair its structure and strength.

As we age, our hair changes in many different ways. For some, graying hair is the most noticeable change, while others might experience a decline in hair thickness. This hair-thinning issue is something that many of us will have to face sometime in life.

As we get older, our hair tends to lose elasticity and become brittle, leading to the appearance of thinner, weaker hair. While it’s a natural part of the aging process, it’s understandable that it’s a disconcerting issue for some.

That’s why it’s essential to know the ‘magic ingredients’ to keep your hair looking its best as you age.

Four Reasons Our Hair Gets Thinner as We Age

While it can be a natural part of the aging process, there are several reasons why our hair gets thinner as we get older.

Menopause is a leading cause of thinning hair in women due to the hormonal changes that occur during this time. Specifically, estrogen, which stimulates hair growth, decreases during menopause.

Nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to hair loss. Our body needs essential vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy hair growth, and if we don’t get enough of them, we may experience more hair shedding than normal. For instance, low levels of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 have been linked to thinning hair in women. 

Heredity is another factor that can influence the thickness of our hair. If your parents or grandparents experienced thinning hair, it could increase your risk of experiencing hereditary hair loss.

Certain health issues, such as thyroid problems or autoimmune disorders, can result in hair loss. For example, thyroid issues can cause imbalances in hormones that may lead to hair loss. Additionally, autoimmune diseases like lupus can cause inflammation that affects hair follicles.

Women who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer may also experience temporary hair loss.

Even something as seemingly innocuous as a nutrient deficiency can impact hair health. The good news is that by addressing these underlying health problems, women can better manage their hair loss and even potentially reverse the damage.

It’s important to understand these factors to take proactive steps toward maintaining healthy, thicker hair as we age.

Is Your Hair Thin or is Your Hair Fine?

How to Care for Your Aging Hair

how to care for your aging hair

One of the main reasons our hair thins with age is due to the gradual decline in the number of hair follicles on our scalp. As we age, the rate of hair growth slows down, and hair follicles shrink in size, resulting in thinner, weaker hair strands.

Another cause of thinning hair is hormonal changes, specifically the drop in estrogen levels in women. Estrogen is known to stimulate hair growth, so as this hormone decreases, the rate of hair growth decreases as well.

Be gentle with your hair, treat it kindly

One way to care for our aging hair is to be gentle with it. This means not washing it too often, avoiding using harsh chemicals or styling products, and not pulling it too tight.

When washing your hair, use lukewarm water and a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo.

Do not scrub your scalp vigorously or pile your hair on top of your head when washing. Instead, massage your scalp gently and let the shampoo flow from the top of your head down to the ends.

Use hairbands, headscarves, or clips that do not pull your hair too tightly. This reduces tension on hair roots and promotes hair growth.

Protect your hair from the sun: Ultraviolet rays from the sun can weaken hair by removing moisture. Wear a hat or use a leave-in hair conditioner with SPF to protect your hair from UV ray exposure.

And, limit the use of heat from blow dryers and curling irons if you can. I quit using both of those about a year ago, and my hair is so much healthier now. It’s still older, gray hair, but it feels and looks better now that I let it dry naturally.

Feed your hair with wise nutritional choices

Another way to care for aging and thinner hair is to make sure we are getting the right nutrients.

Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining healthy hair and preventing hair loss:

a. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for healthy hair growth and nourishment of the scalp. Ensure you get enough vitamin D to promote healthy hair growth.

b. Protein: Hair is made of protein, therefore protein-rich foods must be added to your regular diet. You can add lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds to your diet to boost hair growth.

c. Iron: Iron is an important mineral that boosts hair growth by carrying oxygen to the hair follicles. Iron-rich foods such as spinach, lentils, and beans should be included in the regular diet.

d. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the lubrication of hair follicles, producing healthier hair. These essential fatty acids can be found in fish, flaxseed oil, and walnuts.

Also, taking hair supplements, such as collagen or biotin supplements, can help keep your hair strong and healthy.

Choose your hair products carefully

Apart from gentle washing and a nutritious diet, using the right hair products can help keep our aging hair healthy. Look for products that are specifically designed for thinning hair, as they contain ingredients that can stimulate hair growth and strengthen hair strands.

Products that contain keratin, protein, and oils, such as argan oil and coconut oil, can help repair damaged hair and promote thicker hair growth.

Manage your stress

Lastly, managing stress levels and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help keep our aging hair strong. Isn’t it amazing how our lifestyle and the way we deal with stress impacts our overall health, even down to our hair!

Stress and burnout can lead to hair loss, so it is crucial to practice stress-reducing habits like exercise, meditation, and adequate sleep.

And, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking can all contribute to improved hair health.

How to Style Your Thinning Hair After 50

What to do with your hair now that the texture is changing, it’s getting thinner, and oh yes, it’s turning gray. For some, like myself, gray hair is awesome. But that might not be something you’re ready for yet.

I’m no expert on how to style thinning hair, so I found this resource for you to check out:

https://www.latest-hairstyles.com/trends/haircuts-for-older-women-with-thin-hair.html

When you head over to this link, scroll down about 1/3 of the page and you’ll see the first of the hairstyles – many are ‘before’ and ‘after’ looks. It’s a slideshow so you’ll click the arrow to move to the next image. If you’re not looking for it you might not see it. I like the examples, though, so it might be worth a look if you’re struggling with thin hair.

FAQ

How can I stop my hair from thinning as I age?

To prevent thinning hair as you age, maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, use gentle hair care products, manage stress levels, and consider taking supplements or using topical treatments designed specifically for thinning hair.

What vitamins are good for promoting thicker hair?

Vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin C, zinc, biotin, and collagen can all help promote thicker hair growth. Eating nutrient-rich foods like green leafy vegetables, avocados, citrus fruits, and berries can also help to nourish your hair follicles from the inside out.

What are some home remedies for thinning hair?

Some natural remedies for thinning hair include massaging your scalp with essential oils, applying a mixture of castor oil and honey to the scalp, using aloe vera gel on the scalp, or taking supplements like biotin or collagen. However, it’s important to speak to your doctor before trying any home remedies.

Is it normal for your hair to thin as you age?

Yes, it is normal for your hair to thin as you age. This can be caused by a combination of things such as hormonal changes, genetics, or lifestyle factors like stress and dietary deficiencies. Taking proper care of your hair and addressing any underlying health issues can help to reduce the effects of aging on your hair.

Conclusion: Why Does Your Hair Thin as You Age?

While the process of aging can lead to thinner, weaker hair, there are several practical ways to care for our aging hair.

By being gentle with our hair, eating a nutritious diet, using the right hair products, and living a healthy lifestyle, we can help slow down hair loss and promote thicker, stronger hair growth.

So if you are worried about your aging hair, try incorporating some of these tips into your hair-care routine to keep it healthy and beautiful.

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