Depending on ethnicity, hair does not age in the same way or at the same speed. Explanations.

Hair, aging, differs, according, to, ethnic, origin

While hair aging is an inevitable biological process, it is however the consequence of certain factors responsible for visible changes.

A new study describes the unique characteristics of hair aging among different ethnic groups. According to the authors, these findings could help in adopting a specific approach to prevent hair damage over the course of a lifetime. In detail, the scientists found that the onset of hair graying varies by ethnicity. Indeed, the average age for Caucasians was around 30 years old compared to the late 30s for Asians and 40s for Africans.

Unequal aging

Like skin, hair aging includes both intrinsic aging, which involves natural physiological changes that occur over time, and extrinsic aging, or changes associated with environmental exposures and physical stress caused by daily care. "Despite a similar chemical composition, the structural properties of hair vary among different ethnic groups and, as a result, hair aging also differs. As the population ages and diversifies, there is an increasing need to understand the aging process in different hair types," said author Neelam Vashi, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine and Director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center at Boston Medical Center. 

For this study, researchers analyzed 69 publications to examine current knowledge about changes in hair structure over time. Data on hair structure, aging characteristics and responses to extrinsic damage, as well as racial and ethnic differences were collected. 

The impact of menopause

According to researchers, the dual role of hair for protection and cosmetic enhancement makes it incredibly important for physical and mental well-being. "A thorough understanding of the unique characteristics of hair aging among different races and ethnicities is essential for the proper management of mature patients," concluded the lead author of this study. 

Caucasians and Asians often see damage to the distal hair shaft. African-Americans, on the other hand, experience damage near the root. In addition, after menopause, women also see some changes with a decrease in anagen hair (active or growing) in the frontal scalp, lower growth rates and a decrease in hair diameter.