Hello all! Inspiration struck again, so I am writing about this topic, which I’m not sure how many of you know & understand. As they say, ‘Knowledge is Power’! Once we know the enemy, we can definitely deal with it in a better way.
Hair aging strikes one & all, although timing may be different. Like for all chronic conditions, aging in hair also gets influenced by internal factors – genetics, hormones, diseases etc. and by external factors – environmental conditions, diet, sleep, stress, chemical exposures etc. So, even though genetics play a key role, many external factors can accelerate this process, which is commonly observed nowadays, especially in cities. Hair aging has some visible signs like graying of hair, excessive hair fall and some subtle signs like thin, brittle, frizzy, damaged & unmanageable hair.
Given the poor lifestyle choices, environmental pollution, stress, and increasing exposure to chemical & physical hair treatments (‘so called’), hair have started aging sooner( 20’s), than later. It is very distressing psychologically, especially if it starts that early, but frankly there is no age when one welcomes graying. This sets off a vicious cycle of people using colors to camouflage and other treatments (keratin, cysteine, hair botox etc.) to strengthen hair, getting duped by the effective marketing done by salons. No one really knows whether these treatments actually benefit in the medium to long run, beyond their cosmetic value, as they are not scientifically proven and studied well. But social constraints push people to try them out.
Thankfully, there’s still hope! Scientific studies have known that not all changes due to aging in hair are irreversible. The size of hair follicles has been observed to reduce as age advances, but unless complicated by other causes, scarring has not been observed. So, if addressed at an early stage, the process might be reversible. This possibility has excited many in the pharmaceutical & cosmeceutical sector and it has become a trending topic for research & innovation. The currently available treatments help a great deal in slowing down this process. So, keep fingers crossed and soon scientists might be able to find the elixir to reverse hair aging!
Dermatologists like myself are both excited & baffled by the pace of innovations in this field. I strongly believe that day is not far when we will treat graying like any other disease and won’t have to resort to harmful chemicals to camouflage or manage aging hair. In the meantime, carefully examine the science behind any treatments you use for your hair & seek help when u feel lost!
Keep watching this space for more specifics on currently available treatments for hair!
Dr. Pooja Gupta