Val Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: I keep seeing references to "older hair." Does hair really age?

A: Yes, in a way, it does, says David Kingsley, PhD, a trichologist (hair specialist) in New York City. As we get older, our skin, including the scalp, tends to get drier. Scalp oil moisturizes the hair; the less oil, the drier the hair. And as it loses melanin (pigment), turning white or gray, hair tends to feel drier. It grows more slowly, too, and gets finer, partly because hair growth is affected by hormones, and as we age our bodies produce less estrogen and progesterone. If you'd like your hair to remain delightfully youthful, make sure you eat well and regularly; include enough protein in your diet; exercise; drink enough water (so that you're not thirsty); and to hedge your bets, take a multivitamin, says Kingsley. By the way, he says don't be afraid to color your hair if you don't like the gray; as long as you don't overprocess, it won't do any harm.

Bottom line: Take good care of your body, and it will show up in your hair.