As we age our body undergoes a variety of natural changes. This includes changes to our hair and scalp. We expect our hair to gradually grey, and grey hair tends to be dryer. However, there are other changes to be mindful of. An active approach is key, so take notice of each change, and discuss them with your hairstylist and dermatologist.
Signs of Healthy Hair and Scalp
First and foremost, we all know what our individual “normal” looks and feels like. Any change to how our hair or scalp looks or feels is something to address, and the sooner the better.
Signs of healthy hair and scalp include:
Natural shine—how much hair shines depends on its texture and type. Be mindful of any changes to shine or if hair suddenly looks dull.
Minimal shedding—hair sheds naturally while shampooing, brushing, combing, and styling. If hair begins to shed in bed or around the house, it’s important to identify the root cause.
Full and patch-free—hair may thin and bald as we age, but don’t just write it off as a sign of aging, as it could be a side effect of an undiagnosed medical condition.
Even length—when hair is healthy and the correct products are used for styling, there should be minimal breakage and gradual split ends.
Soft and manageable—hair that is healthy will feel soft, not dry or brittle, and it is easy to comb and detangle.
Strong and elastic—strong hair is elastic, holding its curl, shape, and style all day long. If hair no longer bounces back or holds it may have lost its elasticity.
Frizz-free—coily and kinky hair is prone to frizz in hot and humid weather. If frizz control products are no longer working or hair begins to frizz more frequently it may be damaged.
Irritation-free scalp—a healthy scalp is a scalp that feels good. Redness, itching, dryness, flakey, or irritation of any kind are signs of concern.
Lifestyle causes of unhealthy hair and scalp
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that could be negatively contributing to hair and scalp health. For example, switching to new hair care products, heated styling tools, or improper use of wigs or extensions.
Common lifestyle causes of unhealthy hair and scalp include changes to:
- Daily and weekly hair care routine
- Stress levels
- Bedding or pillowcase
- And more
These are a few of the lifestyle topics you will be asked when you discuss your hair and scalp health with your stylist or dermatologist. However, there could be a medical cause beyond stress, nutrition, and hair care.
Medical causes of unhealthy hair and scalp
Sometimes a change to hair and scalp is a side effect of a more serious medical issue. This is particularly true of sudden changes such as rapid thinning or hair loss, hair that is suddenly dry or brittle, or balding in a concentrated area. A dermatologist or trichologist (hair loss specialist) will know what tests to run to determine the cause.
This may include:
Pregnancy—due to rapid hormonal changes, hair may grow faster or fall out while pregnant. Hair loss typically regrows after giving birth.
Thyroid disorders—disorders such as hypothyroidism create hormonal imbalances that can lead to hair loss. With proper thyroid treatment, hair should regrow.
Anemia—hemoglobin is essential for growing healthy hair, so an iron deficiency can lead to hair loss.
Autoimmune diseases—the full-body inflammation that often accompanies autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, may lead to gradual hair loss. This includes the loss of hair on your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, facial hair, and body hair.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)—rapidly fluctuating hormones that accompany PCOS may lead to gradual hair loss.
Skin conditions—dandruff, psoriasis, dry scalp, and seborrheic dermatitis can cause painful scalp irritation that may negatively impact hair growth and hair health.
Malnutrition—eating disorders, eating a diet high in processed foods, or a diagnosis that impacts how food is absorbed can lead to nutrient-deficient hair loss.
STDs—undiagnosed syphilis can contribute to hair loss and temporary hair loss may be a side effect of the antibiotic azithromycin, which is commonly used to treat Chlamydia.
Yes, grey hair is dryer!
We mentioned in the introductory paragraph that grey hair is often dryer. However, this is not because grey hair has a different texture. As we age, the sebaceous glands that attach to each hair follicle begin to slow in their production of the naturally occurring oil (sebum) that keeps our hair and scalp hydrated. One of many ways to stimulate the sebaceous glands and hydrate hair of all textures, types, and ages—is by returning to our roots.
Safo Hair has carefully formulated our products with naturally derived ingredients such as CBD, amla oil, and fenugreek oil. Unlike chemically derived haircare products, these age-old ingredients nourish and protect without stripping, irritating, or damaging our hair or scalp. These ingredients can also be used as a proactive and reactive approach to keeping your hair and scalp healthy.