“My hair is so brittle and dry!”
If the skin on your face and body is parched and ashy, your hair and scalp are most likely suffering from the same fate. Scalp is skin after all. At this stage of life, our bodies produce less natural oil. Hair gets moisture from sebum that’s secreted by the sebaceous glands connected to the hair follicles, says Dr. Weaver, author of Dr. Weaver’s Black Hair Loss Guide: How to Stop Thinning Hair and Permanent Baldness.
As we age, the production slows down. Cell turnover speed also decreases, which results in dead cells that can block the pores and inhibit hair growth. Medical issues that plague us such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism and even high blood pressure — and the medicines that treat these conditions — have sometimes been linked to hair loss and dry strands, too.
In her practice, Amerson has seen diabetic patients who suffer from hair thinning, breakage and texture changes. If you suspect your medicine is having an adverse effect on your hair, speak to your doctor about options.
Most women also go through menopause in their 50s, adding to the hormone-related hair problems you began to see during this decade.
What to do:
Internal: Dr. Weaver suggests horsetail. It’s an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant that contains calcium, fatty acids, iron and magnesium. It can have a positive effect on brittle hair. Making sure you have ample omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can also help. Salmon or walnuts are great sources, but vegan, non-nut supplements are also available.
External: Try a scalp scrub to exfoliate dry skin cells that are blocking your pores on your scalp. Many over-the-counter versions are available, or try a simple brown sugar and peppermint oil scrub to slough off dead skin and stimulate your scalp, but be gentle.
To counter the dryness try oils, such as almond oil that penetrate the hair shaft and jojoba oil which mimics the oil our bodies produce naturally. Both are in Sarah Faith Organics Happy Scalp Revitalizing Growth Oil ($12.99, sarahfaithorganics.com).
To maintain the strength of your hair, this may be a good time to switch up your style. Opt for looks that require less heat-styling or ditch extensions that can put additional stress on your weakened strands. Less is more during this decade — less manipulation of your tresses equals more luscious hair on your head.