What is the thickest color of hair?
Aging changes in hair and nails
Your hair and nails help protect your body. They also keep the temperature of your body steady. As you age, your hair and nails begin to change.
HAIR CHANGES AND THEIR EFFECTS
Hair color change. This is one of the clearest signs of aging. Hair color is due to a pigment called melanin, which hair follicles produce. Hair follicles are structures in the skin that make and grow hair. With aging, the follicles make less melanin, and this causes gray hair. Graying often begins in the 30s.
Scalp hair often starts graying at the temples and extends to the top of the scalp. Hair color becomes lighter, eventually turning white.
Body and facial hair also turn gray, but most often, this happens later than scalp hair. Hair in the armpit, chest, and pubic area may gray less or not at all.
Graying is largely determined by your genes. Gray hair tends to occur earlier in white people and later in Asians. Nutritional supplements, vitamins, and other products will not stop or decrease the rate of graying.
Hair thickness change. Hair is made of many protein strands. A single hair has a normal life between 2 and 7 years. That hair then falls out and is replaced with a new hair. How much hair you have on your body and head is also determined by your genes.
Nearly everyone has some hair loss with aging. The rate of hair growth also slows.
Hair strands become smaller and have less pigment. So the thick, coarse hair of a young adult eventually becomes thin, fine, light-colored hair. Many hair follicles stop producing new hairs.
Men may start showing signs of baldness by the time they are 30 years old. Many men are nearly bald by age 60. A type of baldness related to the normal function of the male hormone testosterone is called male-pattern baldness. Hair loss may be at the temples or at the top of the head.
Women can develop a similar type of baldness as they age. This is called female-pattern baldness. Hair becomes less dense and the scalp may become visible.
As you age, your body and face also lose hair. Women’s remaining facial hair may get coarser, most often on the chin and around the lips. Men may grow longer and coarser eyebrow, ear, and nose hair.
Contact your health care provider if you have sudden hair loss. This can be a symptom of a health problem.
NAIL CHANGES AND THEIR EFFECTS
Your nails also change with age. They grow more slowly and may become dull and brittle. They may also become yellowed and opaque.
Nails, particularly toenails, may become hard and thick. Ingrown toenails may be more common. The tips of the fingernails may break.
Lengthwise ridges may develop in the fingernails and toenails.
Check with your provider if your nails develop pits, ridges, lines, changes in shape, or other changes. These can be related to iron deficiency, kidney disease, and nutritional deficiencies.
As you grow older, you will have other changes, including:
- Hair follicle of young person
- Aged hair follicle
- Aging changes in nails
Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Skin, hair, and nails. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Siedel’s Guide to Physical Examination. 10th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2023:chap 9.
Tosti A. Diseases of hair and nails. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 413.
Walston JD. Common clinical sequelae of aging. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 22.
Review Date 7/21/2022
Updated by: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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Does Your Hair Color Affect Hair
Thickness and Hair Restoration?
If you’re experiencing male pattern baldness, you’re probably asking yourself various questions about the health of your hair. Some of them concern the connection between hair thickness and thinning, as well as how it impacts hair restoration prospects. At the Advanced Medical Hair Institute, Dr. Joseph Williams will answer all your questions and provide long-lasting solutions.
Relationship Between Hair Color and Thickness
The darker your natural hair is, the thicker it’s likely to be. Brown and black hair generally have thick hair strands. Conversely, your hair is less dense than that of blonde-haired people. According to research, the melanin in dark hair contributes to its thickness. Although several genes influence hair color, the best known is MC1R. It’s instrumental in the production of a protein known as melanocortin 1 receptor, which in turn helps in producing melanin.
Depending on the level of activation, this receptor triggers chemical reactions that result in the production of eumelanin. This pigment occurs overwhelmingly in brunette and black hair. Failure to activate the receptor leads to the production of pheomelanin, the essential pigment in red hair. Research shows that blond hair appears when a tiny amount of brown eumelanin is produced without other colors being present.
How Does Hair Dye Affect Thickness?
While dyeing doesn’t prevent hair growth, it can still damage the parts that undergo cosmetic treatment. Hair dye doesn’t penetrate below the scalp, so it can’t affect hair follicles. However, it can weaken hair shafts to the point of accelerating thinning or shedding, which ultimately leads to hair loss. The repeated combing and rubbing associated with the coloring process loosens your hair. Most dyes also contain chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, which adversely affect telogen hair.
If the procedure makes your hair color lighter, it interferes with its protein composition. Peroxide gets rid of eumelanin pigments, which can result in hair breakage. It causes temporary hair loss, which generally ends once you stop using hair dye.
The Effect of Hair Color On Restoration
Your hair color is one of the essential features that Dr. Williams will take into account while planning your transplant procedure. If you have dark hair and light skin, you’ll need more grafting to account for the contrast. If your skin shade closely matches that of your hair, you’ll need fewer transplants to achieve your desired appearance.
Anyone looking at your scalp should ideally have a hard time telling the difference between your natural and transplanted hair. The more light passes through your hair, the balder you appear. The solution to this problem is to not only transplant more hair but also ensure the individual shafts are thick. Additionally, curly or wavy hair gives the impression of a thicker coverage after restoration. If your scalp is flexible or loose, Dr. Williams will have an easier time inserting new hair follicles.
You’re probably wondering whether the color of your transplanted shafts will match your natural hair. Through advanced procedures such as follicular unit extraction (FUE), the back of your head is the essential source of individual donor follicles. This attention to detail increases the likelihood of the restored hair matching the rest of your scalp. If you wish to dye your hair after a transplant procedure, it’s advisable to do so after at least four weeks. The one-month wait allows your scalp to heal. It also prevents irritation from the chemicals in the dye.
Let Dr. Williams Solve Your Hair Issues
At the Advanced Medical Hair Institute, Dr. Joseph Williams is always ready to solve your most pressing hair issues. His skill, experience, and investment in the latest technology make him the most qualified hair expert around. Having done countless successful hair transplants, he guarantees a natural-looking result that will immediately give you a youthful appearance. Please book an appointment today for more details.
If you grab a single strand of your hair and examine it closely to see if it looks more thick or thin, what you’re looking at is the hair shaft. Are thinner or thicker hair shafts in your genetics? An AncestryDNA® test can reveal what your EDAR gene can tell you about your hair strand thickness.
Human Hair Thickness
Hair thickness is not necessarily tied to how much hair you have on your head. When scientists talk about “hair strand thickness,” what they’re referring to specifically is the diameter of each individual strand.
In other words, having lots of hair doesn’t always mean you have thick hair. And having thick hair doesn’t necessarily mean you have a lot of it.
You could have a lot of hair, but the individual strands could be very thin. Or you could have little hair, but the hair strands themselves could be very thick.
And while age isn’t perfectly correlated with hair thickness, your hair strands do get thinner as you age.
Genetics of Human Hair Thickness
Genetics strongly influence human hair thickness. Although several genes help determine hair thickness and texture, an AncestryDNA test focuses on the EDAR gene.
EDAR’s a gene on chromosome 2 that plays a key role in the development of hair and skin before you’re born. Researchers have pinpointed a variant in this gene that’s linked to thicker hair strands.
Hair thickness is an “additive» trait. This means that if you inherited two copies of the “thick hair» version of the gene (one from each parent), you’ll likely have even thicker hair strands than if you only inherited the «thick hair» version from one parent.
What Science Says About Hair Thickness
The EDAR gene carries instructions for making a protein that affects hair thickness. A gene variation of EDAR that arose about 30,000 years ago seems to give some people thicker strands of hair.
More than 90% of Han Chinese, 70% of Japanese and Thai people, and 60% to 90% of Native Americans carry the “thick hair» version of the gene. Meanwhile it’s almost nonexistent in people of African and European descent.
Both age and sex can also affect your hair shaft thickness. Men tend to have thicker hair strands than women, and as mentioned everyone’s strands get thinner as they age.
Fun Facts About Hair Thickness
Some people believe shaving a baby’s head will make the hair that grows back thicker. But this is a myth. Shaving your baby’s hair won’t affect hair thickness because it’s mostly determined by genetics.
Cutting an adult’s hair doesn’t affect its thickness either. But it can help get rid of split ends, which can make hair strands look thinner.
What can impact your hair’s thickness, as mentioned, is your heritage. But how much? If you look at a cross-section of a strand of hair from people of East Asian heritage, it’s about 30% larger than hair strands of African people and 50% bigger than those of Europeans.
Fujimoto A, Ohashi J, Nishida N, et al. A replication study confirmed the EDAR gene to be a major contributor to population differentiation regarding head hair thickness in Asia. Human Genetics. 2008;124(2):179–185. doi:10.1007/s00439-008-0537-1.
Fujimoto A, Kimura R, Ohashi J, et al. A scan for genetic determinants of human hair morphology: EDAR is associated with Asian hair thickness. Human Molecular Genetics.2007;17(6):835–843. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddm355.