We all are aware of bodily changes as our birthdays accumulate but I think most of us are surprised when we start having dry hair. This usually happens around the time of menopause; at which time your scalp usually produces only half of the oil (Sebum) that it did previously. Some appreciate the fact that they no longer have greasy hair but it comes at a price. Sebum has protective properties such as the lubrication that minimizes friction from other strands of hair when combing or brushing, and/or removing built-up static charge on dry days. With the loss of this oil, your hair feels rougher, is duller and less manageable.
But don't lose hope, you just have to treat dry hair as you would change your routine to combat dry skin. First, don't overcleanse; washing too often strips the natural oil from your hair. Alternating dry shampoo
with your usual liquid shampoo reinvigorates the scalp without the dryness that comes from a shampoo and blow-dry.
On days you use a liquid shampoo, use a leave-in hydrator (Nexxus Botanluxe Nurishing Botanical Leave-In Conditioner ($12, drugstores) is an excel lent product to use. Also keep a mini spritzer with your leave-in conditioner handy for mini spritzs during the day, spot-treating any areas that start to feel dry. If you find some spots especially dry when you run your hands through your hair, this is an excellent idea for you.
On a final note, an occasional glaze to use for extra insurance against any dullness of color. A glaze is a clear treatment that adds glossiness to your hair and survives multiple shampoos. A glaze is one of the most reasonable treatments you can get at a professional salon but there are also products that you can use at home. A good one is Oscar Blandi At Home Salon Glaze Shine Rinse ($25, )
Then there is the 'widening' of the part. Unfortunately, you start losing hair fibers from your head in your 20s and can shrink as much as 20-35 percent by age 60. Also, recent research found that the actual diameter of each strand starts to shrink in your early 40s. This shrinkage is believed to be linked to hormonal changes caused by perimenopause and menopause since hair growth
is a hormonally-driven process.
To combat this thinning you should rethink the products you are using to wash and condition your hair. Never use a clarifying shampoo which will strip too much protective oil from fragile thinning hair. A more astute choice would be a keratin-enriched formulation. The hair becomes fragile because of a loss of protein which is the major cause of it becoming fragile. There are many products on the market today that contain keratin that work very well with delicate hair strands. And always use a conditioner. If you use the correct amount you won't weight your hair down but will protect your hair from breakage.
Your styling routine will also change. Fine hair is much less adept at holding a style so you should change your styling regimen by using products designed for fine hair such as Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Style Triple Action Volume Mousse ($4, drugstores). And DO NO backcomb. While it may seem the right thing to do if your hair Is thinning, i.e., add volume, you can be permanently damaging the already fragile outer layer. Instead use a root lifter such as TRESemme 24 Hour Body Root Boosting Spray ($4.50, drugstores). Also minimize exposure to heating styling tools which are damaging. Air-dry your hair most of the way and blow-dry only to remove the last bits of dampness and to style.
Lastly, opt for a good professional cut. One with layers around your face and on top for volume. Avoid laying on the bottom, however, because when you remove thickness on the bottom your hair gets stringy. Not what you're looking for.
If the right cut, care and styling still doesn't give you volume of hair that you want, and the thinning still bothers you, consult a dermatologist. There are stronger remedies available ranging from Rogaine for Women to Aldactone which is a blood pressure medication that's been used successfully off-label to restore hair growth (personally, unless I have complete faith in my doctor who can assure me on pain of death, taking anything orally that is not specifically made for the situation, I wouldn't do this).
You should see a doctor immediately if you notice patches of hair loss on your scalp, or if, besides the thinning, you have any swelling, scarring or severe itching.
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