Generally, it is not our waistline that thins as we age. More than likely, it’s primarily the hair on our heads. Hair growth rate and loss affects nearly everyone with aging. Hair strands become smaller and have less pigment.
Depending on genes, testosterone-related male-pattern baldness may begin by age 30, balding completely by age 60. Half of women experience hair loss by the time they hit 50, according to the North American Hair Research Society. With female-pattern baldness, hair becomes less dense, exposing areas of the scalp.
Going through a major crisis can trigger alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation that turns the melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) off. As a result, patches of white or gray develop among regularly colored hair.
Body and facial hair may diminish as we age. Women’s remaining facial hair can become coarser on the chin and around the lips. Men may grow longer and coarser eyebrow, ear, and nose hair.
It is possible for people to gray prematurely. When combined with thinning scalp hair, bushy eyebrows and long ear hairs, the evidence suggests someone is approaching senior years.
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- Aging changes in hair and nails. medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004005.htm Retrieved 18 Mar 2018
- What Actually Happens To Your Hair As You Get Older. prevention.com/beauty/aging-hair-myths Retrieved 18 Mar 2018
- Kantor J, Kessler LJ, Brooks DG, Cotsarelis G. Decreased serum ferritin is associated with alopecia in women. J Invest Dermatol. 2003 Nov;121(5):985-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2003.12540.x. PMID: 14708596.