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Getting to the Root of Caring for Your Hair at Any Age
Date:11/8/2007

lly starts to appear at this age. Dr. Draelos explained that gray hair occurs when the pigment cells in the body stop producing pigments, which is a sign that the body's ability to produce pigment is decreasing.

"Once the hair has been chemically dyed, it strips the protective lipid layer of the hair shaft and opens up holes in the hair shaft, allowing the dye to enter and create a new color," said Dr. Draelos. "Hair dyeing is damaging no matter what color or what kind of hair dye you use, but lightening your hair color more than three shades requires higher volumes of peroxide -- which in turn creates more holes in the hair shaft and causes more damage. So, the best thing a woman can do if she wants to cover her gray hair is to stay 'on shade' -- or to dye her hair within three color shades of her natural color. Typically, dyeing hair darker is better than dyeing it lighter."

In addition, women in their 40s usually enter the periomenopause period. As estrogen levels start to fall, women may notice more hair thinning, that their hair doesn't grow as quickly, and the hair shaft starts to thin slightly in diameter. Dr. Draelos noted that women who are having trouble with hair growth during periomenopause should see their dermatologist for treatment.

In Our 50s and Beyond

Once a woman reaches her 50s, she will notice that hair growth naturally slows down. Since the diameter of the hair shaft continues to thin, Dr. Draelos advises women to shorten the amount of time they leave on styling products -- such as hair dyes or permanent wave solutions -- because thinner hair shafts require less time to process.

Dr. Draelos recommended that older women use a good conditioner, as some protein-containing conditioners can replace lost protein and increase hair strength by as much as 10 percent. She also advised women to handle their hair as little as possible, including avoiding over-brushing hair.

"A lot of older women tend to use a lot of hair
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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