Everyone desires to know the fast hair growth secrets, as having lustrous hair is not just healthy but a social symbol too. Sometimes despite all the efforts we end up suffering from hair fall, hair thinning and other scalp infections. Hair growth is a sum total of everything that makes us, beginning from the genetic makeup, diet, lifestyles choices, drugs, fitness, hygiene, health, etc. Let us understand how does hair grow and how can you make it faster?
What Is Hair Made Of And How Does It Grow?
The hair is made of waste materials excreted in the form of dead cells. These dead cells are made of fibrous proteins called keratin. They are tough cuticles that are pushed out from the scalp. It grows out from little pockets inside the skin called hair follicles that maintain the stem cells. Follicles lie beneath the skin and hair shaft lies outside. The hair consists of several layers beginning with cuticle that is the outermost layer, then comes cortex that consists of keratin bundles and melanin, and the innermost is medulla which is open as fibre centre.
Each hair strand is attached to your scalp by the hair bulb. The hair bulb grows and divides cells in order to build the hair shaft. All the important nutrients are supplied to your hair via the hair bulb. Hormones are delivered to the hair bulb in order to give them structure and growth at different periods of your life.
Also Read: What Is The Hair Growth Cycle?
The hair grows in a cyclic manner, under 3 stages
- Growth Phase (Anagen) – It is the active growth phase of hair follicles. Each strand spends several years before moving onto the next phase.
- Transitional Phase (Catagen) – In the course of few weeks’ hair growth will slow down and the hair follicles will start to shrink
- Resting Phase (Telogen) – Hair growth completely stops and the hair follicle detaches itself from the scalp resulting in hair loss. A new hair pushes out and the cycle begins again.
The Hair Grows in the following steps –
- The hair begins to grow from roots that lie deep in the follicles.
- Blood vessels in the scalp provide nourishment to the hair.
- The hair is then pushed out from skin passing through oil glands which make it soft and shiny.
- The hair then dies out before coming out from skin, thus the visible portion of the hair is made of dead cells.
Understanding Hair Growth And Hair Loss
How Fast Does Hair Grow For Men And Women?
The rate of hair growth is around 1.25 cms. Or 0.5 inch per month that is 15 cms. Or 6 inches in a year. But it varies as it depends on a number of factors including age, health status, kind of hair, medications, genes, etc.
What Causes Slow Hair Growth?
If your hair is growing slower than the average rate, then there can be few underlying causes for this. In cases where the hair growth cycle is disrupted due to hormonal imbalance, heredity, medication or stress; the anagen phase is cut down and hair directly enters the telogen phase. Also with age, anagen phase decreases, thus making the hair weak and thin. Some causes that slow hair growth, include –
- Genetics – If your parents suffered from slow hair growth, then chances are that you might even suffer from it.
- Stress – When you are stressed, the body releases certain hormones that inhibit normal hair growth too.
- Trauma or physical injury – Due to injury or trauma or self-inflicted hair pulling, the hair growth slows down.
- Aging – With age the hair growth slows down as hair strands become smaller and have less melanin.
Medical Reasons –
- Alopecia areata – An autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues. Thus hair follicles in the scalp are attacked and hair growth slows in addition to hair fall.
- Thyroid – Hypothyroidism causes lowering of thyroid gland secretions in the body thus causing dryness of scalp and slower hair growth.
- Deficiency – Certain vitamins, minerals and iron deficiency can lead up to slowing hair growth and eventually hair fall.
- Medications– Certain drugs also cause slowing of hair growth that include anticoagulants, gout medicines, beta blockers, excess vitamin A, anticonvulsants, etc.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy – These treatments weaken the hair follicles and causes them to fall off too soon.
- Diseases – Certain health condition like PCOD, diabetes, hypertension can also cause slowing of hair growth and hair fall too.
How To Make Hair Grow Faster?
There are certain scientifically proven procedures and medications that have shown great results in increasing hair growth and slowing hair fall. These treatments will not only enrich the stem cells which may have been ill performing, but also help in regeneration of hair naturally. Additionally, consuming a healthy diet, keeping up with hair care routine and maintaining proper lifestyle can also help in increasing hair growth.
Here are the available hair regrowth treatments in India:
- PRP – Plasma Rich Platelets is a therapeutic treatment that is non-invasive and absolutely safe to regrow the lost hair and bring about natural regeneration. The patient’s own blood is extracted and is put to procedures that will separate the plasma and activate the platelets in that plasma beaming with growth potential. This protein rich plasma is now injected back into the scalp in areas of scanty or improper hair growth. Thus stimulating the dormant or ill performing hair follicles and bringing renewed hair growth.
- Minoxidil – It is a USFDA approved topical drug that is proven to bring hair growth. It comes in solution and foam form, with 2% and 5% variants. It is suitable for both men and women. Though it comes over the counter, but refer an expert dermatologist before applying this on your scalp as there are certain dosage instructions that are specific and also side effects may occur with improper usage.
- Finasteride – Another USFDA approved topical drug to treat hair fall and hair thinning in men. This must also be applied under expert guidance.
- Oral Medications – Drugs like dutasteride can be prescribed by your dermatologist also oral contraceptives (only for women) to treat hair thinning and bring faster and stronger hair growth.
- Hair Transplant – An invasive and painful procedure where tiny grafts of scalp, rich in hair are taken and harvested. Then even tinier grafts are put back into the scalp with slow or scanty hair. This brings regrowth of hair, naturally.
Natural Tips For Hair Growth
Things to do for faster hair growth –
- A healthy diet including all essential nutrients – Visit a dietician to know what to eat and what to avoid in your daily diet. Food and proper hydration plays a vital role in hair growth. What you eat will determine the health and growth of your hair.
- Use suitable hair products – It is important to use hair products specifically prescribed by the dermatologist. When you consult an expert, he/she can determine the correct formulation that is suitable for your scalp and hair.
- Massage your scalp – Scalp massages improve blood circulation and help dormant hair follicles to grow. Weekly massages are an excellent way to increase hair growth.
- Take keratin/ biotin and other supplements – If you observe any hair fall or slowing of hair growth, then refer to a dermatologist and begin with these supplements based on the prescription.
- Pay attention to your scalp – Be sure to check for any infections and deformity on time. And prevent deposition of dead skin cells by washing and keeping it clean.
- Stay hydrated – Drinking ample water is essential to enrich the circulatory system. This will help in removing toxins and keeping the skin and hair healthy.
Also Read: Natural Hair Gowth Tips That Work
Things not to do to prevent slowing of hair growth –
- Strong Chemicals – Using harsh chemicals will damage the internal structure of your hair as well cause long term hair damage.
- Over styling – Constant tugging and pulling of hair using hair styling tools will weaken the roots and lead to hair shedding. This will cause an unnatural halt on the hair cycle and delay hair growth.
- Dirty scalp – Clean scalp will ensure the longevity and health of hair follicles whereas a dirty scalp will cause hair loss. Dandruff, dry scalp, psoriasis, eczema are signs of unhealthy scalp and must be treated in time.
- Pick and pluck – Do not pick or pluck hair as this may cause unnecessary strain to the hair causing them weak and shedding off too soon.
- Limit the usage of hair dryers and straighteners – Hair dryers and straighteners cause immense damage to the hair shaft as this high temperature weakens the hair also slowing the further hair growth.
- Avoid brushing wet hair – When wet, hair shaft is weak and easily sheds off. So do no brush your hair when it is damp
- Does Hair Growth Slow Down When Your Hair Gets Longer?
No, hair growth does not slow down when the hair gets longer. Though visibly it may seem that hair growth is much faster in short hair. Since long hair is more vulnerable to breakage it may lead to hair shedding. Also heat and styling products cause the hair to become weak. And in long hair the hair fall is more apparent as hair falls from its ends. Hair growth remains constant irrespective of the length. An average life span of hair is 6-8 years and the growth of hair is entirely determined by individual’s genes and overall health.
- Does Hair Grow Faster in Male or Female?
There are no scientific studies that suggest if male or female hair grows faster. Though hair at different parts and in different people may show varied growth patterns but there is no scientific indication for the same.
- How Fast Does Hair Grow in a Month and Year?
The rate of hair growth is around 1.25 cms. or 0.5 inch per month that is 15 cms. or 6 inches in a year. Though it may vary depending on factors including age, health status, kind of hair, medications, genes, etc.
- What Is The Maximum Length To Which You Can Grow Your Hair?
The maximum length of hair depends on length of anagen period for the individual. Usually the maximum length is around 100 cms. or 40 inches for an adult, but there are people with longer hair
- Do Split Ends Slow Down Hair Growth?
Absolutely not, split ends are a tear or rip of the cuticle at the end of the hair strand which is the dead part of the hair. It is a type of hair damage that is a result of dry and brittle hair. Split ends can occur in the middle of the hair shaft and doesn’t necessarily have to occur at the end of the hair strand. Hair growth occurs from hair follicle and then outside, so despite of split ends, the growth of hair will be normal.