Where a state mane sprouted in younger years, sometimes only a few hairs remain in old age. They also sooner or later lose their color and become dry. In addition to the right care, a healthy diet also helps against this.
For many, shiny, full and strong hair is part of a good appearance. But even the most splendid mane of hair eventually gets old. The hair becomes finer and drier with age – and if it goes badly, also thinner. If the hair falls out, sometimes also the self-confidence suffers. The industry takes advantage of this and advertises quick solutions, from shampoos to massages to nutritional supplements. Everything only Humbug, or brings it actually something?
That hair falls out is quite normal. There are up to 60 a day, says the Bonn dermatologist and hair expert Professor Gerhard Lutz. If there are significantly more or if you already find clear spots, the first thing to do is to search for the cause. Possible causes include thyroid dysfunction, skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis or fungal infections.
Hair loss is not a disease
Drugs can also cause hair loss as a side effect. The same applies to a lack of trace elements such as zinc, selenium or iron. If such a deficiency is behind it, it is worth taking a look at eating habits. Who would like, can also try to counteract with Schussler salts, says alternative practitioner Ursula Hilpert-Muhlig.
Hair loss, however, is often neither due to a disease nor to a deficiency symptom, but rather is constitutional. Then shampoos or tinctures from the drugstore promise to make the hair sprout again. "However, there is usually no clear scientific and clinical evidence for this," says Professor Lutz. The same applies to scalp massages. They are supposed to improve the blood circulation of the scalp. Thus stimulate hair growth. "However, this could not be proven so far either."
According to Lutz, genetic hair loss can nevertheless be stopped or even reversed by regular external application of the active ingredient minoxidil. This drug was originally intended in the 1970s as a preparation for the treatment of high blood prere. When used, it turned out that the drug also led to increased hair growth. Today, minoxidil is therefore used not only as an antihypertensive, but also as a solution or foam for hereditary hair loss.
The active ingredient is available over the counter at pharmacies. The product is applied twice a day to the affected areas of the head. "In many, but by no means all cases, even cosmetically acceptable growth of the hair could be observed," explains Lutz. How exactly the solution or foam works on the scalp has not yet been researched in detail. And it has a catch: once you have used it successfully, you have to take it for the rest of your life. "As soon as the drug is discontinued, the hair loss also continues," says Lutz.
With age, the scalp produces less sebum
In old age, however, one has to fight in doubt not only with hair loss. Because the scalp produces less sebum, the hair also becomes drier. It should then be washed with a mild shampoo. "Many products already contain conditioning substances," says Antonio Weinitschke, a master hairdresser in Aachen from the Central Association of the German Hairdressing Trade. The hair should be rinsed with water as cool as possible.
Those prone to extremely dry hair can also massage castor oil into hair before bed and leave overnight. Hilpert-Muhlig advises. The oil is said to stimulate hair growth – but this has not been proven. For the cure, after massaging in the oil, a foil is wrapped around the hair and a towel is placed over it. Washing your hair the next morning is the order of the day. Afterwards the hair often feels supple. "To keep it that way, the cure should be repeated regularly," says Hilpert-Muhlig.
When coloring, the same applies in old age as in young years: The hair must be provided afterwards with a rich cure pack. Gray hair is best cared for with special silver shampoos and conditioners, says Weinitschke. Then the hair does not take on a yellow tint.
"However, it is crucial for healthy hair growth that it is also supplied with appropriate vitamins and trace elements from the inside," adds Lutz. Biotin (vitamin H) is important in this context: it supports the production of keratin – hair and nails are mainly made of it. Biotin is found in spinach, egg yolk, nuts or mushrooms.
The body also needs iron, which is contained in almonds and pistachios, for example, zinc and selenium, so that the hair sprouts. "Deficiencies increase the risk of hair looking dull, brittle and falling out," explains Lutz. Therefore, in addition to care tailored to the hair, a balanced diet is a must.