Having long hair is the dream of many females and also few males. They do all sort of things to get long hair almost overnight. But how fast does hair grow?
- How many stages do hair undergo?
- Is impossible to increase the anagen phase of hair growth?
- What can be done to make your hair thicker, stronger and long?
- The factors that affect hair growth.
How fast does hair really grow?
Hair grows from a small bulb into a follicle. These are surrounded by a protein called Keratin at the base and also has sebaceous glands to produce oil and moisturize the hair follicle and scalp. People have different types of hair like straight, curly, etc and each type requires a different type of treatment including the amount of moisture required, the frequency of cleansing and so on.
Research has found that a hair follicle on a normal person’s head grows up to an average of half inch a month, that is around 6 inches a year. This may be effected by various factors like age lifestyle, genetic background, diet and many others.
Stages of hair growth (Hair growth and fall cycle)
Each hair strand undergoes 3 stages as stated below:
- Anagen phase: This is the active growth phase and lasts from 2-7 years. At this phase hair growth is rapid and it occurs usually at an early stage to young adult stage. About 90 percent of hairs on the head are in the anagen phase.
- Catagen phase: The catagen phase is the transition phase and usually is very short-term. Its duration is only around 1-2 weeks. About 5 percent of hairs on the head are in this stage at any point of time.
- Telogen phase: This is the third stage of hair growth and fall cycle and it is also often referred to as the resting phase. Its duration is 5-6 weeks. This is the phase where the dermal popilla is separated from the follicle, which means hair fall occurs at this stage. Approximately around 10-15 percent of the hairs are in the telogen phase.
Some consider the last phase of hair growth and fall cycle as the final, or exogen phase where the fully matured hair sheds and new hair becomes ready to take its place. This stage lasts from 2 to 5 months.
Losing 50 to 100 hairs per day during this stage is considered normal, but anything more than this is hai fall problem. Old hairs shed rapidly and new hair isn’t formed and the hair present hair becomes thin and shine disappears, this is referred to as hair fall problem by experts. At this stage it is better to consult the best skin specialist so they can prescribe the right medicines or procedure to overcome hair fall problems. If the problem is too serious then hair transplantation can be an option where the best dermatologist will assess your condition and take the decision. Aarna clinic is one of the best clinic which has a well experienced dermatologist.
As each phase has its own timeline and can be affected by various factors like age, lifestyle, etc. It is certain that some steps can be taken to make sure that the hair growth is proper and fast.
What can be done to maintain healthy hair?
Not all the factors which effect hair growth are in our control. Factors such as genetics, hormonal levels, pollution are far beyond our control, but other factors like lifestyle changes, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, regular exercise, and meditation are absolutely in our control.
1. Keep up with the essential nutrients: Our health depends on the nutritious food we consume, so does the health of our hair. To get the healthy hair which is voluminous, and shiny it requires a lot of vitamins and minerals like
- Vitamin A which helps in the production of sebum to keep the scalp and hair moisturised
- Vitamin B, especially B7 which is called Biotin plays an important role in carrying the nutrients to our scalp.
- Vitamin C with its antioxidant properties protects the hair from damage caused by free-radicals. It is also responsible for the making of collagen which is an important protein present in the hair.
- Vitamin D deficiency can lead to an immune condition where hair fall occurs by shedding huge number of hairs without new hair being formed. Technically it is like to alopecia.
- Vitamin E is needed by the hair to increase hair growth.
- Zinc deficiency has also been linked with rapid hair loss, ironically even excess amounts zinc are also linked to hair loss.
- Iron deficiency causes reduction in the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body, this will weaken the hair strands making it thin and stimulation for new hair will be effected.
So eating food rich in these vitamins and minerals will boost hair growth and strengthen hair, but don’t do anything in excess as it may reverse hair growth and end up in hair fall problems, so it is best adviced to make an appointment with the best dermatologist so you know which vitamins and minerals are deficit in you.
2. Role of essential oils in hair growth: Essential oils are pivotal in growing thicker, faster, and longer hair with less breakage, less loss of hair and also to have a strong and super soft hair. To get a fuller voluminous hair with less breakage and shiny hair try using essential oils like cedarwood essential oil, rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil, thyme essential oil, peppermint essential oil, tea tree essential oil, and many more which are available in the market and also online. Make sure you mix them with another carrier oil before applying them on to the scalp as direct application may not give the best results. Their use also depends on your hair type and hair condition so it always best to take expert advice before going for such treatment, you can find the best skin doctor to reap the benefits of these essential oils.
3. Keratin Treatment for Hair: Keratin is a protein found in the hair, nails, and skin. It is a structural protein which is a building block of your hair which is not easily torn like the other cells of the body. Keratin treatment smoothes the hair making it easy to manage. It also makes the hair look glossy, shiny and full. If used by people with curly hair, keratin helps to reduce frizz and appear straight. This can be taken at a salon, or keratin serums, shampoos and conditioners can be used as well as keratin supplements can be taken orally. The effects of the treatment vary based on the thickness of your hair, the kind of keratin treatment you use, and also if your hair is healthy to begin the treatment. An aesthetic dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon at a dermatology hair treatment centre can give the best advice regarding the right keratin treatment for your hair.
If hair thinning continues to be a problem then there are many latest treatments available such as drugs to fight hair loss, especially minioxidil and finasteride, surgeries for hair restoration, supplements and changes in diet, mesotheraphy, and many others. Consult a skin specialist near you before you could decide on your own treatment to avoid any complications.
4. Include protein in your diet: Hair follicles are essentially made up of protein, especially biotin which is necessary for the production of another hair protein called Keratin. If you have a biotin deficiency, research proves that, taking biotin supplements can boost hair growth and make it look lustrous. Do remember not to exceed the recommended daily dose of any supplement can have adverse effects on health. Discuss with your skin doctor at a dermatology (skin care) and hair fall treatment centre before you get your hands on any supplements.
5. Caffeinate your hair: Regular topical application of coffee is found to stop hair loss and stimulate hair growth. Research says that the negative effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) causing damage to hair follicles is reduced by caffeine. Caffeine helped to block the effects of DHT to a greater extent and also resulted in elongated, longer and wider hair roots. This also increased the anagen phase of the hair as per the study. Caffeine stimulates blood circulation to the scalp so it uplifts the hair formation.
6. Oxygen reach: Always make sure your scalp gets enough oxygen through proper blood circulation. Avoid wearing tight hairstyles and anything that gives more pressure or stress to your hair. Better have a loose hairstyle before going to bed and comb your hair regularly. There are hair growth stimulating combs available in the market too. Another effective way to use your own blood and growth factors for promoting hair growth is GFC PRP Treatment which can be taken under expert skin specialist. When you are in a doubt as to the results or side-effects of taking the GFC PRP Treatment, the scalp micropigmentation, also known as hair tattoo, can come in handy.
This procedure replicates the appearance of natural hair follicles. Your skin specialist will give more details regarding this procedure.
Factors that affect hair growth
There are many factors that affect hair growth like
- Genetic background
- Health problems like thyroid dysfunction, PCOS, etc.
- Excessive exposure to heat
- Over use moisturizers
- Use of certain medication like steroids
- Use of hair products that doesn’t suit one’s hair type
- Nutritional problems like vitamin deficiency
- Health conditions like recent illness or alopecia
- Hormonal imbalance
- Scalp infections due to lack of proper care and hygiene
- Smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption.
To know what may be the potential cause of your hair fall problem and treat them with ease, you can have general dermatology consultations with the best dermatologist like Dr Pavithra HN who offer some of the best-in-class hair treatments and have many happy customers.
Hair Growth During and After Pregnancy
A woman during pregnancy undergoes drastic changes in hormonal levels including estrogen which helps to keep the hair in the anagen phase for a longer period of time. This this gives an appearance as of the hair has thrown thicker and full. Also as the mother-to-be takes many supplements including iron, zinc and folate, which are all essential to enhance hair growth and make it thick, smooth and shiny, it is said that hair grows faster and healthier during pregnancy. Nevertheless it is not unusual for some women to experience hair thinning and loss of hair during pregnancy because of lower levels of estrogen lebales and hormonal imbalance but more research is yet to be done.
Post-child birth, women experience more hair fall problems for the first 3 to 4 months. This is because the estrogen levels come back to normal and thus the hair goes into the catagen phases and eventually to the telogen phase almost in no time causing hair to fall in clumps. This is absolutely normal and there is no need to panic. Consult the best dermatologist near you and take treatment if the condition persists for more than 8-12 months after delivery.
Apart from all these, if you still experience loss of hair and/or no regrowth of hair, then it is better to go for hair transplantation (either follicular unit transplantation (FUT) or follicular unit extraction (FUE)) or laser treatment after talking to your doctor. However if you want to avoid these surgical procedures, then opt for non-surgical/non-intrusive procedures which are widely available in Bengaluru.
In the recent past, PRP treatment is gaining momentum and is guaranteeing results and other innovative treatments are also carefully selected as per your requirements like hair growth stimulating combs, topical application products, vitamins and other supplements.
If alopecia areata remains a problem, and if your hair fall is less than 50 percent, then treatments like Intralesional Treatment of Alopecia Areata (ILTAC) are a great choice. This treatment is available in most of the trichology hair clinics.
Disclaimer: Before starting any treatment, it is always advised to visit a dermatologist near you so that he will diagnose the problem and treat it according to your hair condition and health issues, if any. This information is only for information purpose.
Hair goes through three major phases and all these stages can be affected by various factors. Hair can be grown faster and can be made full, voluminous, shiny and smooth by having a nutritious and balanced diet. Keratin and caffeine treatments can boost hair growth and regular oil massage will promote hair growth and reduce hair fall problems. Use of right products which can be prescribed by your doctor are vital as well.
The key to a healthy and fast growth of hair is to live s stress-free life and adopt a healthy lifestyle by making the necessary changes and consulting the best dermatologist near you, if necessary.