Styling options for geriatric hair improved with product innovations

November 1, 2010

Several recent developments, such as ammonia-free hair dyes and more gentle hair-straightening methods, can help make taking care of geriatric hair easier, according to an expert.

Key Points

Durham, N.C. - Several recent developments, such as ammonia-free hair dyes and more gentle hair- straightening methods, can help make taking care of geriatric hair easier, according to an expert.

Hair undergoes many changes as a person ages. The layer of lipid on the outside of hair, or the 18-MEA layer, is protective against hair damage.

Frequently, geriatric hair is wiry and has a straw-like feel.

"Whether the hair is processed or not, the cuticle and lipid layer are not as well-formed," Dr. Draelos says.

In some cases, the dye can penetrate too deeply and the hair turns an unusual dark color. In other cases, the dye does not take at all or a person might try to dye their hair a blond color, and instead it comes out a grayish-yellow color.

"This is because the dye was not able to produce the proper color, because one of the co-factors in the dying process is melanin, and if the hair is gray and doesn't have much melanin, it doesn't always dye properly," she says.

Newer, ammonia-free hair dyes are now available to address some of the issues of aging hair.

"These have a special product that is placed on the hair to mimic that lipid layer so that the cuticle is restored and damage is prevented. That prevention of damage results in better dye results and an improved cosmetic appearance, because dyes that contain the ammonia and peroxide damage the cuticle. This magnifies the problem that is already present as hair gets older," Dr. Draelos says.