Slow or no hair growth can have numerous causes, ranging from the effects of medications and diet to stress and even scalp infections. When hair is healthy, about 90% of it is growing at any given time, while the other 10% is resting. After a few months of resting, healthy hair naturally falls out to make room for new hair. When new growth begins, healthy hair will grow about half an inch per month. If you have a genetic or medical condition causing hair loss or thinning, or perhaps if you just want more hair or healthier long hair as soon as possible, there are both medicinal and natural strategies you can try. Healthy hair maintenance, a balanced diet, and certain topical or prescription treatments may help your hair grow faster. Whatever your motivation, the information below outlines the step to take to help your hair grow faster.
Eat a Balanced Diet
General nutrition is essential to having healthy, fast-growing hair. In addition to eating a balanced diet of unprocessed foods, it’s important to make sure you eat specific foods that are particularly effective at nurturing hair growth to increase your chances of having your hair grow faster. What you eat will not affect the hair that has already grown, but it will affect new growth. Dietary effects on hair may take up to 6 months to be visible even though changing your diet may begin affecting the growth of hair in a much shorter time period.
# Some proteins harden to form keratin, the structure making up a strand of hair. Without enough dietary protein, your body does not have the necessary materials to build new hair, so strands may be weak or produced very slowly.
# Healthy protein sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and soy products. Ensuring you have enough protein in your daily diet will literally give your body the building blocks for new hair growth.
Be sure to eat adequate amounts of iron and zinc. Iron and zinc deficiencies can lead to poor hair health or even hair loss in addition to conditions such as anemia.
* Iron is essential for the transmission of oxygen to your cells (including your hair follicles) and helps your body use protein to build strong hair. Animal sources, such as lean meats, poultry, and eggs are most readily absorbed by your body, but good vegetarian sources include beans, lentils, tofu, and soybeans.
* Zinc helps your body grow and repair tissue, such as your hair, and keeps the oil glands around your hair follicles working as they should. Get your zinc from peanut butter, lean meat, oysters and crab, poultry, pumpkin seeds, or chickpeas.
* If you have a zinc or iron deficiency, you may need supplements that should only be taken under the direction of a health professional. Many people can achieve healthy levels of iron and zinc by eating the above-mentioned foods or by consuming fortified grain products, such as cereal, bread, and pasta.
Don’t cut fat out of your diet. Healthy fats are indispensable to hair growth. Without fat in your diet, your body cannot maintain healthy hair.
* Fat is also very important to the body because it helps it assimilate vitamins that are necessary for hair growth, like Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
* Be sure to limit your fat into to a healthy level and focus on unsaturated fats and fatty acids such as Omega 3.
Make sure you meet your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Having a Vitamin C deficiency can cause dry, dull, and weak hair that is prone to breakage.
# Your body uses Vitamin C to build collagen, a fiber essential to the production of new hair cells. Without Vitamin C, your body will also have a hard time absorbing iron, so it’s doubly important to make sure you get your daily dose, particularly in combination with iron-rich foods.
# Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, pineapples, strawberries, guava, broccoli, kale, and peppers.
Take B Vitamins to avoid hair loss. Anecdotally, B vitamin supplements and topical applications have gained a significant following among those trying to speed up hair growth.
# There is little scientific evidence that increased consumption of B Vitamins such as riboflavin and biotin actually leads to healthier hair, but deficiencies of these vitamins can lead to hair loss or thinning. Consult with your physician before taking any supplements since hair loss could be a result of something other than a Vitamin B deficiency.
# Good sources of B vitamins include seafood, spinach, oatmeal and other whole grains, soybean products, lean dairy, lean meats, bananas, lentils, potatoes (with the skin), peas, beets, broccoli, and artichokes.
Reduce Your Emotional and Physical Stress Levels
Intense physical or emotional stress can cause hair growth to slow or shut down completely. In severe cases, stress can cause hair loss. It may take several months to see visible slowing of hair growth or even hair loss because of extreme or chronic stress, but that doesn’t mean that stress levels should be ignored. It generally takes many months to repair the damage that stress inflicts on your hair so the sooner you start reducing your stress levels and learning how to relax on a daily basis, the better chance you’ll have of promoting faster hair growth.
Maintain good general health. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep to reduce general physical stress levels.
# Extended fatigue, dietary deficiencies, and sleep deprivation can trigger your body to go into a survival mode where it exclusively devotes its energy to maintaining essential bodily functions and organ repair, leaving your hair malnourished and unprotected from damage and loss.
# Alternately, when your body has adequate stores of the nutrients required for healthy hair and does not need to devote energy and nutrients to simply keeping you awake, it can utilize those nutrients to build and protect your hair. The better your nutrition and general health, the more likely your body will be able to construct healthy hair quickly.
Identify specific physical stressors. Certain physical stressors, such as excessive dietary supplementation or overuse of certain over-the-counter medications, physical trauma, and hyperactivity can stress the body to the point of shutting down hair production and growth
# If you are experiencing one of these factors, address the physical condition to reduce strain on your body before focusing on promoting swift hair growth. Slow or unhealthy hair growth or hair loss may be signs that your body needs to heal itself in another area before devoting nutrients and energy to quickly constructing hair.
# In many cases, hair growth will return to previous rates after recovery or following the removal of the physical stressor. For instance, someone suffering from the physical trauma of a car accident may notice slow hair growth for several months, but once the wounds have healed (and emotional stress is also addressed), hair growth should return to normal
Learn how to effectively manage emotional stress. Emotionally stressful events, such as the loss of a loved one, a change in employment, feeling a lack of security, or worrying about not having a safe place to live, can all cause slowed or halted hair growth until the body is able to adjust. Removing emotional and psychological stressors can help give your body the environment it needs to produce healthy and rapid hair growth.
Identify and Address Potential Medical Stressors
Make sure your slow hair growth or hair loss is not caused by a medical problem. If you have a medical condition or prolonged illness, prescription medication, substance abuse disorder, eating disorder, genetic or family history, or other serious medical situation that may be causing slow hair growth or hair loss, consult a physician before beginning any hair growth regimens. In some cases, resolving an underlying medical condition can help hair growth return to normal or speed up
Consider wearing a wig if you are undergoing treatment for cancer
# Chemotherapy can cause hair loss or significant changes in hair growth for cancer patients. Radiation therapy can also damage hair, although most patients find that hair growth returns to normal shortly after treatment finishes.
# If you have lost your hair due to these medical treatments, you may be able to select a realistic and personalized wig to wear (often free of cost) while your hair grows back. If your hair does not begin growing soon after treatment ends, discuss potential options for hair growth treatments with your healthcare provider.
Ask a physician or pharmacist if your medication may be the culprit. Certain medications, such as birth control pills, heart medications, gout treatments, blood pressure medications, arthritis pills, and depression medications, can cause hair loss or growth problems. If hair loss or thinning is a side effect you have noticed, inform your doctor and discuss a possible change in prescription.
# Discuss with a physician whether your health condition may cause slow hair growth, thinning, or hair loss. Some diseases, such as diabetes or lupus, can cause problems with hair growth, and certain individuals experience the loss of clumps or large portions of their hair.
* If you are suffering from a chronic health condition that has this side effect, discuss possible methods for preventing hair loss with a doctor before beginning over-the-counter hair growth treatments or significantly altering your diet. Certain hair growth supplements or dietary change efforts may negatively impact your health because of your current condition.
Get checked for a scalp infection. Scalp infections, such as ringworm, can infect the skin and hair on your scalp and slow or prevent healthy hair growth.
* If you suspect you have this or another fungal infection, discuss using an oral or topical anti-fungal medication to treat the condition before focusing on hair growth treatments. In many cases, once ringworm is treated, hair begins to grow normally again.
Avoid highly restrictive diets unless advised by a physician. Eating disorders, restrictive fad diets, crash diets, fasting, and certain nutrition-related illnesses can cause slow hair growth and even hair loss. If your nutrition is sub-optimal due to any of these conditions, discuss proper nutrition with a physician or dietitian before beginning hair growth regimens.
Ask your healthcare provider whether your hair issues may be caused by hormonal fluctuations or imbalances.
* Hormonal changes, such as menopause, a change in birth control use, pregnancy or childbirth, thyroid problems, or elevated levels of testosterone, can cause hair thinning, loss, or slow hair growth. In many cases, balancing your hormones will return hair growth to normal.
* Growth naturally slows with age, so if that your hair loss is caused solely by natural hormonal changes related to age, maximizing hair growth through diet and nutrition is the best treatment.
Limit Damaging Styling Treatments
Hair may begin to grow more slowly or may even fall out more frequently when certain styling techniques are used, making hair appear to grow more slowly overall. Frequently styling and cleaning your hair in harsh ways may cause hair loss, thinning, or damage. Although occasional use of the following techniques may not cause problems, repeated use of or the regular combination of multiple techniques below may exacerbate damage. In most cases, this damage is reversible, but because hair grows slowly it will take time to restore your hair’s natural health if you regularly used these styling methods.
Avoid perming, crimping, chemically or mechanically straightening, curling, and bleaching or repeatedly coloring hair. These treatments can weaken hair strands and stress hair follicles, leading to increased hair breakage and even hair loss. Hot styling tools can cause damage very quickly, so air dry or manually style hair whenever possible.
Brush or comb hair no more than twice per day. Excessive or improper brushing and combing can pull hair out prematurely, preventing quick and natural gains in hair length that gentler or less frequent brushing may allow.
* Avoid pulling harshly or detangling without the assistance of a conditioner or detangling spray.
* Always hold hair in one hand, if it is long enough, while brushing or combing with the other to prevent pulling hair out from the root.
Do not use rubber bands to hold hair back or to style hair. The rubber can snag the hair and cause it to break or dislodge at the root.
Avoid hairstyles that pull hair tightly, such as cornrows and tight ponytails. These styles can put stress on the hair follicle and damage or break your hair at the root or further down the strand. Ask your hairdresser for alternate style options that will reduce the pull on your roots, minimize the need for hair treatments and hot styling tools, and reduce opportunities for hair breakage.
Choose hair products carefully and follow proper hair hygiene. Keeping hair clean and healthy allows your hair to continue growing and reduces breakage and loss.
# Most people should not wash their hair more than 2 or 3 times per week. African Americans and those with curly, dry, or coarse hair may need to wash their hair even less frequently, as natural oils are essential for strong and healthy hair. Over-washing can cause hair to lose moisture, leaving it prone to breakage and split ends.
# Consider applying coconut oil before or after washing to prevent hair damage, as research indicates it prevents protein loss in hair more effectively than mineral oil and sunflower oil.
# Wash with a clarifying shampoo to remove build-up of styling products. Be sure to scrub the scalp as well to remove dead skin cells, dirt, excess oil, and styling product residue. Use lukewarm water to prevent over-drying hair and scalp skin cells.
# Other hair treatments to prevent breakage and improve hair strength and moisture may slow hair damage and loss, as well. Consider regular oil or conditioning treatments to smooth the hair follicle and permeate hair with nutrients that will prevent damage, keeping your hair healthy so that it will be able to continue to grow.
# Regularly trimming hair to remove split ends (at most every 10 to 12 weeks) can help prevent split hairs from traveling further up the strand, weakening the hair and making it prone to breakage. Trimming hair does not promote faster growth, but may help prevent hair damage that can lead to the appearance of slower or less healthy hair growth.
Try a Hair Growth Supplement or Medication
Consider an over-the-counter or prescription hair growth treatment. In most cases, medications are not necessary for improving hair growth (and may even have adverse or unnoticeable effects). Many people will be able to achieve faster, healthier hair growth by regulating their diet, behavior, and stress levels. If your hair loss or slow hair growth has a medical cause or if you have tried natural methods without success, however, you may be a candidate for hair growth medication or supplements. Before beginning any of the treatments below, including the herbal remedies, it is important to consult a physician or health professional.
Try a homeopathic remedy for hair growth. Although many natural therapies for hair growth are anecdotally recommended for hair growth, they have not been scientifically demonstrated to increase hair growth.
* Supplements and natural treatments such as biotin, masques and creams made of household foods and oils, herb waters, and vitamin or mineral supplements may help some individuals achieve faster hair growth.
* In some cases, such treatments may promote healthy hair through topical application, but there is incomplete evidence to suggest such treatments help hair grow faster.
Buy Rogaine at a drugstore. Rogaine (minoxidil) is the only over-the-counter (non-prescription) topical treatment shown to increase hair growth and prevent hair loss in some people, and it is safe for both men and women to use.
Ask your doctor about corticosteroid injections or ointments, Finasteride, Anthralin, or other prescription-strength drugs.
* Corticosteroid ointments or injections are available through physician offices for certain causes of hair loss, and have been shown to stimulate hair growth in some patients.
* If you have a diagnosed hair loss condition such as alopecia, prescriptions like Finasteride or Anthralin may speed up hair growth but must only be used as prescribed. Women should not take Finasteride.