Graying of the beard

Telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, hair shaft disorders, etc.
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daveyreh
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Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:02 am

Graying of the beard

Post by daveyreh »

Hi Tom,
I've noted you keep a clean shaven face, but did you ever get any questions or experience about how these exercises affect beards? At 33, I've noticed small amounts of grey speckled into my beard, although its still mostly dark. Do you think the facial exercises you prescribe have any positive effect on beards?

I would think that the side burns area might be the most at risk since there are few volunatary muscles near there to stimulate blood flow. Wondering if its possible to keep the beard pigmented throughout life too as I imagine a scalp of dark hair and a beard of grey (and the inverse for that matter) would look strange indeed.

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Graying of the beard

Post by Tom Hagerty »

The scalp exercise stimulates a temporary surge of blood flow into the capillaries at the base of the hair follicles. It also is conducive to new blood vessel formation in the scalp area just as physical exercise is conducive to blood vessel formation in the body. But how about if the circulating blood is lacking in trace minerals or loaded with toxins from a habitual bad diet or smoking.

I think it is the diet (and the right genes too) that keeps the hair, facial & scalp, its natural color. I'll give you just one example: The trace mineral copper aids in the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into the dark pigment that gives color to the scalp hair and facial hair. But other trace minerals are important too, like zinc, selenium, and perhaps magnesium and manganese.

I would definitely suggest getting these trace minerals (heavy metals) from natural sources because you don't want an overdose that you may get from supplements. In fact an overdose of selenium can be a disaster for the hair. Read my article on this and watch the Andrea Lewis video.

Dexter
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Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:03 am

Re: Graying of the beard

Post by Dexter »

Tom, could the increased (nutrient rich) blood flow and new blood vessel formation also help in maintaining (and perhaps somewhat restoring?) the subdermal layer of fat tissue under the scalp skin? Kinda offtopic, but the extremely tight, thin scalp skin is very obvious on bald men and I believe is a major factor in hairloss.

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Graying of the beard

Post by Tom Hagerty »

I don't think it is possible to restore the subdermal layer of fat once it has disappeared. Even though the scalp exercise will increase capillary density, it's probably unlikely that increased blood flow, even if the blood is full of nutrients, will increase the depth of the subcutaneous layer.

There is a lot of misinformation about thin scalp skin and scalp flexibility though. I've been around men in high stress jobs all my life. And I've seen most of these men, even in their late thirties, sporting large balding areas in the scalp. All this prolonged psychological stress (usually self-imposed) has probably contributed to the thin tight scalps. But the tight scalp/thin subdermal fat connection is complex so I want to give some definition and explanation of the relationship.

The first component of scalp laxity is the ability of the scalp to slide on the underlying pericranium. The pericranium is the smooth tissue covering the skull. During the scalp exercise the skin of the scalp slides back and forth on this smooth tissue. This sliding back and forth has nothing to do with the stretching of the skin or the elastic content of the skin. It is simply the mechanical movement of the scalp on the pericranium.

The second component of scalp laxity is the "stretchability" of the skin of the scalp. It has noting to do with the sliding of the scalp during the scalp exercise. Perhaps this looseness of the scalp skin might be conducive to maintaining the subdermal fatty tissue. But I do not really know if a tight scalp is conducive to a thin layer of fatty tissue, although I speculate that it is. I've seen these paper-thin, tight scalps in many day traders in the stock market and in professional horse players who bet large amounts at the racetracks. Maybe the continual stress these men are under in some way contributes to a tight, thin, and bald scalp.

Hair follicles of terminal hair (thick, pigmented hair) are between 4 and 6 mm in length, set at a diagonal angle. These healthy follicles need a nice bed of three layers of tissue in order to flourish. A tight, thin scalp is a poor environment for terminal hair.
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mani9
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Re: Graying of the beard

Post by mani9 »

So Tom does the sub dermal fat layer function as an important component of the scalp? Also for a person undergoing weight loss will the loss of the fat around the face and scalp be detrimental for the hair folicles even with scalp exercises?

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Graying of the beard

Post by Tom Hagerty »

A healthy terminal hair follicle is 4 to 6 millimeters in length. This follicle is embedded diagonally in the scalp tissue. Scalp tissue that is thin and atrophied does not support terminal hair follicles very well. The base of the hair follicle, the dermal papilla, is embedded in the subcutaneous layer of the skin. This is the layer below the epidermis and the dermis. Fat cells (adipocytes) and other connective tissue cells are in the subcutaneous layer along with arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels.

These fat cells and other connective tissue cells form a framework that supports the hair follicle, which is really a micro-organ. Fat cells are also important in cell signaling and other metabolic activities.

As people get older the dermis and the subcutaneous layer start to thin - fewer fat cells, fewer collagen, and elastin molecules. But sometimes the thinning of scalp tissue starts prematurely. This premature thinning could be caused by chemicals like Accutane. But other factors might also cause this thinning: excessive sun exposure, tight scalp skin, poor scalp circulation. This is just speculation, but I don't think that a rational weight loss program will cause any thinning of the fat layer in the scalp.

The thinning of the scalp certainly starts in the skin above the galea, the crown area. This is the area where circulation is less robust, and where hair loss usually starts. As you probably noticed if you are doing the scalp exercise correctly, that after a session of vigorous exercise the scalp feels pumped up. This "pumped up" feeling is the consequence of heightened circulation. Adequate circulation is probably conducive to healthy scalp tissue - that is, tissue in all three layer of the scalp. And that includes the adipose cells in the subcutaneous layer. Of course this might be wishful thinking but it does make some physiological sense. (By the way, there are no capillaries in the epidermis - no blood flow.)

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