Why Does Hair Change Over Time?
Ever look at a picture of yourself when you were a kid and wonder what happened to the perfectly straight hair you used to have? Or maybe why your hair went from golden blonde to medium brown? It’s no secret that many of us experience significant changes to our hair as we age. It could be changes in the texture and feel of our hair, or maybe changes in its color and tone. But why does this happen? The answers can range from biological to environmental, or can be the result of the routines and products we use to care for our hair.
In this article, we will take a look at the reasons why our hair changes over time, and help explain how our hair care routines can evolve along with our hair to keep it looking healthy and beautiful. Let’s start by examining the different reasons you may experience a change in your hair.
Reasons why hair changes over time
There’s no two ways about it; hormones make your hair change. It happens when you enter adolescence puberty begins, of course. It also continues more gradually after you reach maturity and start to age at a steadier pace. During the teenage years, your body produces greater amounts of hormones that affect the way your hair looks and feels, as well as the obvious change of having hair grow in more places. In addition to experiencing changes to hair on your head, this is likely when you start learning methods of hair removal as part of your beauty routine. Silk’n has many products available to make hair removal safe and easy. Browse our full line of hair removal devices.
As far as the hair on our head is concerned, some people find that their hair grows thicker and coarser, while others may experience straight hair turning curly, or that their hair color may change from light to dark, or vice versa. Changes in the feel of hair are due to the way the hormones cause the amino acids that make up the structure of our hair to bond together. Changes in color are due to the changes in the way our bodies produce melanin, which is the same thing that can cause our eyes to gradually change to a darker color as we age.
Once the surge of hormones from puberty subsides and our bodies reach a steadier state during adulthood, these changes to our hair become more gradual until there is another change in hormonal balance such as pregnancy or menopause. Both of those instances can cause hair to change nearly as dramatically as it does during puberty. Pregnant women commonly report significant changes to the feel and look of their hair as their pregnancy progresses, with typical experiences including thicker, more voluminous hair and faster overall growth.
Even though we all experience changes in hormone levels throughout our lives, the degree to which these changes affect our hair is determined by our genetics. For example, there’s a good chance that if your mother had thick and wavy hair, you will likely inherit similar characteristics in your hair. While this can be somewhat predictable, it’s definitely not a guarantee. Regardless of what your parents may have experienced in terms of hair changes, your experience may be the same, completely different, or somewhere in the middle. Genetics gives you the starting point, but how you care for your hair, as well as medical or environmental factors, will determine how different your hair ends up being from that of your parents.
Depending on the type and severity of many medical conditions, it’s not uncommon for the look and feel of hair to change as a result of the condition or the required treatment. One well-known example of this is chemotherapy and radiation for the treatment of cancer, with the effect being hair loss. However, there are many other medical conditions that can trigger changes in the hair, these include hypothyroidism, dermatitis, vitamin deficiency, and even brain aneurisms. Some cause faster or excessive hair growth, others result in thinning hair or hair loss. As a general precaution, it is recommended that anyone who experiences any noticeable or unexpected hair changes should consult their doctor for advice, if they’ve not already been made aware of it as part of their medical condition.
Many people underestimate the ability for stress to manifest itself in physical changes in the body, but the effects of stress can be substantial if left unchecked. Excessive stress can impact the body in many ways, including weight gain, skin rashes, and changes to the hair. The effects that stress has on the hair can range from thinning hair and hair loss to reduced melanin production, causing hair to prematurely turn gray. Managing stress levels is critical to our general health and well-being. Take stress seriously in yourself and in others and be sure that you get the support you need to reduce stress, and offer support in times of stress to others who need it.
Between dyeing, perming, bleaching, straightening, curling and all the other things we can do to our hair, it should come as no surprise that even our hair care routines can have an effect on the natural appearance and feel of our hair. If you regularly strip the color from your hair and re-color it, you likely know the feeling that it has when it’s been subjected to a lot of chemical treatments. Hair can become brittle, coarse and dry if too many chemicals are applied in succession.
Eventually, if left alone entirely, your hair will completely grow out and return to its natural state and color, but this can take months or longer, depending on how long your hair is. This is why it’s so important to treat the hair after coloring, or performing other high-intensity treatments, to make sure that it stays healthy and smooth.
Depending on where you live, you may experience changes in your hair that are due to the environmental conditions and climate. For example, you are likely familiar with the fact that sun exposure and UV rays can alter the color of your hair. Also, the humidity level in the air can also affect the look and feel of hair, either making it frizzy and out of control, or dry and dull. While there isn’t much you can do to completely shield your hair from the environment, there are products you can use to minimize the effects and maintain the desired look and feel of your hair.
Tips for Managing Changing Hair
Whatever the reason may be that your hair has changed, most are generally no cause for worry. There are wonderful products available for all types of hair that can transform how it looks and feels in any way that you desire. Here are some examples of products and procedures that can help you change the look and feel of your hair.
Smoothing Shampoos and Moisturizing Conditioners
For those of us who struggle with dry or frizzy hair, a good shampoo and conditioner combo can go a long way to taming our manes. These products contain mild oils and moisturizers to help smooth and protect the hair, so it stays smooth and soft after washing, and enables you to style your hair in many ways that would otherwise be very difficult.
Colouring and Hair Dyes
If you’ve grown up and out of the hair color of your youth, it’s a very simple process to get it back. Salons are able to recreate any color you may want, including some that are decidedly ‘unnatural’. If you want to go shocking red or perfectly purple, there’s nothing stopping you! Coloring treatments are available for all kinds of hair, and many are much gentler on the hair and scalp than older products were.
Changes to Your Hair Style
As your hair changes with time, it might be a good idea to change your hairstyle along with it. Many of us become accustomed to a particular style, but as the properties of our hair change, the style we know and love may not look as good. Sometimes a slight change will make a big difference. For example, if you find your hair getting thicker, it might be time to include a bit of strategic layering to get the look you want while removing the extra unnecessary bulk to your hair. Not only will your style look better, you’ll find it to be more comfortable, too.
General Health & Well-Being
Aside from the products and treatments we use to care for our hair, a lot can be said for the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and incorporating good habits to boost our overall well-being. For example, drinking more water throughout the day keeps your body hydrated, which has benefits for the entire body, including skin and hair. Improving your diet to include healthier foods that are higher in all the essential vitamins and nutrients will also have a positive effect on your overall well-being, and in turn will impact the appearance of your hair and skin.
For some examples of the kinds of foods that can impact the look and feel of your hair, there’s a great article over at EatThis.com that you should check out. In their list of Foods for Healthy Hair, you’ll find many examples of the best foods to eat, and the worst ones to avoid. It’s a handy reference you can use to help make some easy adjustments to your diet that can have a positive impact on your hair without drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Changing hair is as inevitable as the tides, but as you can see, there are lots of things you can do to keep your hair healthy and get the look you want. Understanding why our hair goes through changes, and the different kinds of changes that you can expect, makes it easier to choose the right solution to our hair care challenges.
We hope that this article has helped provide the information you need to understand your changing hair, and explain the choices you have available to help impact those changes the way you want.
- Stephanie Slaptsis