Think back to your childhood. Now focus on your pre-adolescent hair. It was probably more vibrant, shinier, fuller, and either lighter or brighter in color than your natural hair is now. There are a few reasons for this.
During childhood, we have more hair in the growth stage than at any other time, giving us plenty of volume. At this time in your life, the sebaceous glands are working at the peak of their efficiency, which gives strands a high gloss. Hair pigment hasn't started to darken, so your hair color is vibrant, and you probably aren't yet messing around with hair-changing chemical processes, or using heat appliances - all of which can rough up strands' cuticles or strip them away entirely, leaving hair dull and brittle. Teens and 20s During your young adult years, hair slowly begins changing from its childhood state: Strands may become coarser, growth may slow just a bit, color grows progressively darker, and the sebaceous activity for most of us goes on overdrive, pumping out oil at a furious rate. (This is the same sebaceous activity that makes your complexion pimply.) The teens and early 20s are a time for experimentation - and rightly so: how else are you going to find out what works for you and what doesn't? Most of you have strong, slightly oily hair and can afford to rough it up a bit with the latest color or texture trends.
Notice I said, "most of you." In beauty, as in life, there are no absolutes, and if you happen to be born with fragile hair or sensitive hair, take it easy. Your 30s, 40s, and 50s By the time you've reached your 30s, your hair has reached a plateau - the sebum is being produced at a more manageable pace and you have settled (I hope) into your looks and accepted your hair type. Your strands have reached their darkest shade the biggest surprise awaiting you is probably the appearance of gray.
Blondes, redheads, and light brunettes are more likely to go gray, while deep brunettes have a better chance of going white. Of course, when you go gray depends on your genetic makeup - if your father and mother didn't see gray until they were 95, then you probably can expect the same; if they both went gray in their 20s, you'll probably be gray by the time you hit 35. The 30s and 40s, however, are a kind of "human average age" for this rite of passage. And while we're on the subject of gray, keep in mind that gray hair does not mean your strands are no longer healthy.
It simply means your cortex no longer contains melanin. Another piece of information: Gray hair often has a wirier texture than pigmented hair, so don't be alarmed if these uncolored strands spring away from your head at strange angles. This is okay - even if you feel a like a Brillo pad. Your 60s and beyond By now you may be sporting quite a head of gray or even white - hair. Sebum production has slowed considerably and your hair may grow drier and less in need of shampooing (and more in need of conditioning).
Most humans experience thinning hair with age. By thinning, I don't mean obvious balding - although if you are prone to that, now's the time it will start happening. I simply mean that you will have less hair than you did in your youth. That's because as we age, our hair spends less time in the anagen, or growth, stage, and more time in the catagen (transition) and the telogen (resting) stages. At this point, there should be no great hair surprises for you.
Instead, with each decade expect a gradual decrease in sebum production and a gradual increase in graying and thinning.
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