Regardless of our gender, we're always concerned about our appearance in one form or another. For some, it's making sure their makeup is just right, while for others it may be their nails, skin condition, or hair (or all of the above).
Through time, men have generally been shown to be the ones who suffer more from hair loss than women – or at least it has been more openly discussed, don't you find?
I think one of the issues that can visually age a person is their hair. Whether men or women, losing your hair can be incredibly upsetting, confidence shattering, and concerning. It's not so much about the greying of the hair anymore, because grey hair can be so beautiful! However, hair loss can be a terrible feeling to go through – for both men and women alike.
Another immediate view we have over a person's ageing is when we see their hair changing colour, or greying. Yet it seems that through time women seem to be a lot more concerned about greying than men; why is that? Grey or white hair is so beautiful!
It has been said too often that "with age, men become distinguished, while women just look old," and I find that so upsetting to hear! Don't you? For years I was in the publishing business, and owned a magazine geared to older adults. I always emphasized the term "ageing gracefully" rather than "anti-aging" because to this day I find the term "anti-aging" to be meaningless (we all age, don't we??).
If we're going to age gracefully we're going to have to focus on the quality of both our skin and hair. And the time to do this is now, not later, because getting younger is still irreversible (regardless of what the lotions and potions at the drugstore tell you). And this goes for both men and women.
Eating well, sleeping enough, de-stressing as much as possible, exercise and water, yadda yadda, all have effects on the quality of our skin and hair: Its density, ability to regenerate, ability to fight off DHT (dihydrotestosterone, one of the culprits for hair loss), retain elasticity, and so on. These are all common sense remedies for not only looking healthful but feeling healthy as well. Personally, we think it's not about it becoming grey or white at all (did I say we love grey and white hair? We sure do!)
What about our vision of ourselves?
Men don't often seem to get as concerned about their appearance as women do, wouldn't you agree? At least they are not as open about this as we women are. Women are tough on themselves, while men don't seem to get too open or chatty about their belly rolls, muffin tops, sagging underarms or greying hair. I've yet to meet an older man that concerns himself about the few wrinkles he's seeing develop around his face, as much as a woman would traditionally concern herself with. I do believe that "men are from mars and women are from venus" and we generally feel things differently.(*see footnote) Maybe this is why men don't seem to stress too much about their appearance?... What are your thoughts on this?
We are centenarians, it's worth it to look after our bodies NOW.
Regardless of gender, we need to pay more attention to our bodies. Men are not the only ones losing their hair, it's just that (according to studies) their balding is more severe and more extensive than women's. And it's happening at a younger age now. Women lose their hair as well, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, most women will begin to visually show signs of hair thinning by the age of 40. Unfortunately, many of the reasons for our hair loss are our own fault, and may be remedied or delayed a few years. Let's take a closer look:
This is what a healthy hair and scalp routine should look like, for both men and women:
Cleansing: Children should be taught that washing their hair is unnecessary; it's the scalp that needs cleansing, and not more than once per week using a gentle, natural cleanser or very mild shampoo. Less is better, and with this lesson we'd be doing less damage to our hair follicles in the long run. Read more on this viewpoint [HERE].
Product: Try to work with the type of hair you have, learn to love it, cut it to reflect its best style for the type of hair and shape of your face, rather than slathering it with all kinds of toxic products that will damage and weaken it in the future.
Tools: Refrain from using curling irons, blow dryers and straighteners as much as possible. Once in a while for a party is fine, but not daily! The high heat these apparatuses emit are highly damaging for the hair and scalp – especially when they are so close to our scalp.
By age 30: Get into a routine of massaging your scalp daily. Not only is it relaxing (there are a ton of nerve endings and muscles on your scalp!) but it can boost circulation and promote good sebum production (natural hair oils). Add some leave-in hair oils to your scalp once per week, the night before you wash. Develop a solid exercise routine – find something you can keep doing as you get older, something you love and that can take out outside of the house and office, whether it's hiking, cycling, speed-walking, weight-training, dancing, Yoga, Meditation, so on.
By age 40: Add some leave-in hair oils to your massages; those that will promote circulation, cell turnover, pore cleansing and fortifying, and promote hair growth – like pumpkin seed oil, sesame seed oil, rosemary extract, and Saw Palmetto oil. Boost your intake of good quality supplements to support the ageing of your body and thus the strengthening of your hair follicles and production of hair, like Melatonin, pumpkin seed (and other seeds) extract, Complex Vitamin B, E, and A, and Vitamin C to boost immune system response. Best to see a Naturopath and/or a Nutritionist for guidance on what you need specifically and individually, as diets and lifestyle vary.
By age 55: At this point you may be looking at winding down your "office days", full-time work, and should have a good exit strategy for a business you own if it's not one you enjoy. Stress is a big part of hair loss and illness in general. If by age 60 you don't like what you do, seriously consider changing it. You got this! Prevention of prescription medications is huge here, so if you can keep physically and mentally fit, you're more likely to prevent or altogether halt hair loss and scalp weakness. Medications are one of the reasons for hair loss. Do everything you can to prevent having to take them! Get healthy NOW if you haven't done so already. It's not too late to change your mindset and change your life! You're not an old fart yet my friend, remember, WE ARE CENTENARIANS!
60 and beyond: Look at fulfilling your life with events, people, practices and routines that will fulfill you. It's not a bunch of hooey and fluff, it's true: Being happy and relaxed is a great and inexpensive way to boost immune system and ward off illness as well as hair loss and more wrinkles. If you haven't yet tried it, learn Mindfulness Meditation, do stretching exercises daily, and keep on those supplements and daily scalp massages!
We touched on the subject of children and their hair/body/cleanliness routine, yet I'm a firm believer in that much of the issues with our skin and hair is "psychologically and traditionally taught". We had to shower often, use shampoo AND conditioner, we had to have baths to "wind us down" before bedtime (and every day too), we had to brush our hair constantly and yank out every knot, pull it back tight or it would be a bad thing. This really needs to change...
I truly believe that we need to teach our children that it's okay to have some dirt on. That it's not necessary to have a daily shower, and that skipping a shower or two is actually a healthy thing! The scalp microbiome actually protects our scalp and promotes healthier hair growth. Showering or having baths daily is only going to remove this protective good-bacteria layer.
As we age, it's never too late to reinvent ourselves. Take a deep breath and relax. Your hair is the way it is because you are the result of hundreds of people's genes, so suck it up buttercup and learn to understand it, every curl and twist and turn, every straight strand and cowlick. Fix what you can and learn to appreciate what you cannot. Looking after your hair the most natural way now will save you from a future of thinning hair later. Or baldness.
Why am I losing my hair? What are the most common reasons for hair loss?
This is a question that is not easily answered and deserves its own blog post. If someone tells. you that you're losing your hair because your father or grandfather did, they're minisculely correct, but it's such a small part of the reason. Remember, you're not all "your father" and his genes are a but a small part of the makeup that is YOU.
Hair loss is due to many other factors, and a huge part of it is stress-related. Stress can cause illness, illness can cause hormone changes, stress can be a reason why you need medications – whether because of high-blood pressure, diabetes or a heart attack. Stress can deprive you from proper sleep and digestion, bad digestion can cause metabolic issues and faulty nutritional absorption. Stress sucks, so take a look at that first.
Hair loss can also be due to the years of clogging your hair follicles with toxic products that may contain silicones which can act like plasticizers on your pores. Take a look at that as well, and if you have not already, SWITCH! Switch your hair products and go for some of ours, for example. The more natural its ingredients, the better! And it's never too late to regrow beautiful hair.
(*)Please note these are general views about 'men' and 'women', we're not getting too in-depth about gender-neutral or gender-orientation views here. It's a general discussion piece, take it lightly, and please DO comment with your own views! Discussion = education.
What's your story? What do you think about hair as we age?
Are you balding or is your hair thinning? Are you feeling frustrated about finding the right style for your hair type? Do you wish you could just shave your hair right off?
What do you think about grey and white hair for men and women? Is it becoming more acceptable to let your hair change?
Share your comments and your stories, we'd love to know!
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