Hair Changes and Menopause
Most women start noticing their first gray hairs in their 30s or 40s, and by the time they hit 60, their natural hair color and texture have changed. Why does this happen? Hint: It’s usually not stress-related, but a normal part of aging!
Hair doesn’t “turn” gray at all really. Your hair color is determined when the hair follicle is produced. If a single strand of hair starts out brown (or red or black or blond), it is never going to change its color (unless you color your hair). As you age, your hair follicles produce less color so when hair goes through its natural cycle of dying and regenerating, it’s more likely to grow in gray or white, or silver after age 35. Genetics play a role in when hair changes begin.
The shift in the balance between androgen and estrogen levels can also lead to excessive hair growth (hirsutism) in areas of the body where hair follicles are especially sensitive to androgens, such as the chin, upper lip, and cheeks. Many midlife women find isolated, thick (often dark) hairs on their chin, while others notice downy peach fuzz–like hair on their face.
The menopause-related shift in testosterone and estrogen balance can also produce the opposite effect—hair loss. About 40-50% of women observe some degree of hair loss or thinning before age 50 due to an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen levels. Hair loss with aging can be related to genetics, so your parents’ experience with hair loss might predict what happens with your hair as you age.
The effects of postmenopausal hormone therapy on hair density are uncertain: some women report more hair loss, while others report less. If you notice you are losing a lot of hair, consult a dermatologist to assess the cause. There are medications to help. Hair loss can also be a result of other conditions unrelated to genetics such as eczema, stress, and nutrition.
” I decided to stop the hair dye a few years ago and learn to love my natural gray, white, and silver strands, joining millions of women worldwide in a new Silver Revolution who are doing the same. It’s an individual choice. Do whatever makes YOU feel beautiful! “