Hair growth can be a touchy subject for a lot of people. It can be frustrating when your hair won’t grow. Whatever you try, your scalp just won’t cooperate. Why does this happen, and what can you do about it?
Potential Causes for a Lack of Hair Growth
Many factors affect hair growth. One of the most important is genetics.
But there are other reasons that hair doesn’t grow, or grows slowly. These include changes in hormones, stress, and not eating right. These and other issues can result in hair breakage, making it hard to grow your hair.
Sometimes, a medical problem can lead to a lack of growth, or even hair loss from your scalp. If you have experienced unexpected hair loss, see your doctor. A medical condition could be the reason you’re experiencing hair thinning or your hair won’t grow.1
Pregnancy and Hair Growth
Pregnancy can be another major factor in the growth of hair. Some women actually experience more rapid hair growth while pregnant. Others experience hair loss soon after giving birth.
As it turns out, the hormone estrogen is the reason. Estrogen can stimulate this growth during pregnancy. Once the baby is born, estrogen levels return to normal. This can result in hair loss.2
Phases of Hair Growth
The average scalp has about 100,000 hair follicles. As you age, these follicles can slow down or even stop working. This can slow hair growth, or even lead to hair loss. Your hair should grow about a half an inch per month, or about six inches per year.3
All strands of hair go through a growth cycle. There are three phases, or stages:
Anagen Phase – This is the stage of active growth. About 90-95 percent of the follicles in the average scalp are in this phase.
Catagen Phase – This is a transitional phase, where hair doesn’t grow.
Telogen Phase – The telogen phase is where hair “rests” and falls out.4
Tips to Help Promote Hair Growth
So, it would seem logical that you would want to stay in the anagen phase of hair growth as long as possible. Here are some tips that could help stimulate your scalp and make growing your hair a little easier.
Do you experience breakage of hair? Do you have brittle hair? Do you have split ends? Breakage, split ends, and other problems might be a sign of a nutritional deficiency. Your body needs the energy provided by proper nutrition for your hair to grow as it should.
For example, omega-3 fatty acids (typically found in fish) may help promote the appearance of hair thickness.5
A lack of zinc could contribute to hair loss.6 According to one study, zinc supplements might help to strengthen the hair shaft and improve hair quality.7
→ Essential Oils
Essential oils could help quicken the pace when it comes to the growth of your hair. Pumpkin seed essential oil, for example, has been shown to help stimulate growth.8
A word of caution: never put essential oils directly on your scalp. That could cause irritation. Instead, put a few drops in your shampoo, or mix them with carrier oils like coconut, sunflower, or argan oils. Research indicates these oils could help prevent breakage and other types of hair damage.9
Change Your Hair Care Routine
If you commonly experience split ends or breakage, your hair care routine might be damaging your hair shaft. Heat styling could be a culprit. Even the way you brush your hair could lead to breakage. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.
Whether you have short hair or long hair, regular haircuts could help reduce split ends. This will help you grow your hair longer.
Pay attention to your scalp. If your scalp is itchy, or you have a dry scalp, consider changing shampoos.
Talk to a dermatologist for solutions to your scalp problem.
When heat styling, put your dryer on a cooler setting. Is a flat iron part of your heat styling routine? Consider applying a protective spray first. Your stylist can give you some recommendations on the best spray to use.
It’s healthy to brush your hair, of course. But overdoing it can lead to breakage and damage to the hair shaft. Limit your brushing to one time a day.10
Talk to a Professional
If you’re still having problems with slow hair growth, talk to a pro. This could be your stylist or a dermatologist. They might be able to give you tips to help you enjoy normal hair growth.