Hair & Nails As We Age

Is thinning hair normal with age?

Hair becoming thinner as we age is a very normal process, this is due to the levels of Estrogen in the body begin to decline as we age. Estrogen is an important part to the overall appearance of hair. The production of Estrogen becomes a lot slower and so the thickness of hair become noticeable less than before. 

One other point to remember could be how as the body ages it begins to process nutrients, such as iron and vitamin C becomes less efficiently. With a deficiency of both these could factor into the overall health and thickness of our hair. However, with this in mind there are a number of actions you can take to help slow down the process by having a healthy, balanced diet, full of good fats such as nuts and avocado and oily fish, as well as taking the right supplements and vitamins that suit you and your lifestyle best, you will see some great results in the appearance and health of your hair and slow down the signs of aging in your hair.  

 

Why does our hair change colour as we age?

It is easy to think your hair suddenly turns grey as you age, when in actual fact the grey colour doesn’t appear until a new strand of hair grows throughout the hair growth cycle. The melanin in your hair follicle, which determines your hair colour after a while stops producing the pigment, therefore the hair strand is grey or silver in appearance. It may be tempting to pluck out that unwanted grey, however the effort would be pointless as another grey will replace it.

Aging is one of the culprits to this change, but not the only one. It is understood that 50% of the population has about 50% of grey hair at the age of about 50. So hair becoming grey is a very normal change.

Ethnicity also contributes to hair changing colour, for example, red heads are known to see signs of greys earliest, next Caucasians, then Asian and finally Afro hair types. The reason for this still isn’t known by scientists!

Different hair types also mean that sometimes grey hair resists taking any colour should you consider dying to restore the colour. Many times it is thought the most effective way to tackle this is to drop down a colour shade to add uniformity.

Stress has commonly been linked with hair becoming grey, however hasn’t actually been proven. So rest assured that all the stress you may experience isn’t causing you to become grey.

Having said this, if you have suffered with a prolonged illness or perhaps had chemotherapy treatment hair that grows back is very fair or even grey.

 

Do your nails get harder as you age?

Much like your hair, your nails change with age too you may find your nails either become harder or more soft.

Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis will add thickness to your nails, therefore making them harder. For others, who do not have these conditions you may find your nails become a lot softer as you age. This is due to the fact that just like hair, the speed nails grow begins to slow down.

Raised ridges in your fingernails appear but there is no need for concern as it is very natural to occur. If the ridges change in colour visit your doctor as you may need to take a look at your diet and health.

The use of harsh cleaning chemicals, nail varnish removers and a lot of exposure to water will affect the nails and make them thinner and soft due to the layers being stripped away from the harmful products. Using a moisturiser for your hands and nails will nourish the cuticles and bring hydration back to the nail bed again, therefore restoring the health to your fingernails.

 

Why are my nails yellow and brittle?

The appearance of your nails show some signs of your overall health, you can tell a lot in what minerals and nutrients you may be lacking by the strength and colour of your nails.

Yellow nails may look unsightly and shouldn’t be ignored, they may be indicating a fungal infection, causing yellowing as well as weakening the nails making them brittle. Fungal infections can be treated easily using antifungal tablets or antifungal nail paint. Don’t forget that smoking is a big contribution to nails looking yellow due to the nicotine creating stains. Another cause of nails yellowing would be the lack of using a base coat when painting your nails with coloured varnish.

Over time the natural nail colour can become discoloured and become slightly yellow, grey or even opaque. The speed of nail growth also decreases over time causing the nails to sometimes become thinner and brittle, meaning they can break easily.

By maintaining good nail hygiene habits will help with any concerns you may have. Always keep your nails clean and dry. This will stop any bacteria under the nail causing any infections. Long periods in liquids and water will mean your fingernails will split, wearing protective gloves when washing and cleaning will help.

If you happen to be a nail bitter, it’s best to stop that habit as soon as possible, biting fingernails will damage the nail beds meaning even the smallest cuts can lead to various fungal infections.   

 

Why does excess body hair grow as we age, such as in the nose?

The worry of having thick, wiry hair in your ears and nose can be a big worry for some as they become older.

However, believe it or not, that hair had been there the entire time. The body is covered in light, small hairs called vellus, when there is a increase in testosterone, such as puberty, the vellus hair becomes darker and more coarse. This continues throughout our lives and seeing dark hair appearing in ears, noses etc will increase. This doesn’t have to be a terrible tragedy, you will no doubt be the only one to notice the change. However, for men, barbers offer to trim away any unwanted hairs, as for women you can ask for professional help in a salon or spa.

Sources:

https://www.advancedlaser.ca/blog/why-do-we-get-hairier-as-we-age/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-long-and-short-of-aging-nails-2223467

https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20855507,00.html

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-nails-and-health

 

 

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