Hair grows 6 inches per year for the average person according to this study on the anatomy of hair. And while it grows faster for some and slower for others based on diet and lifestyle habits, one thing remains consistent, how fast your hair grows is determined by your genetics. And the same goes for how much hair you’ll have.
You’re born with all the hair follicles you’ll ever have and by the time you're born and they will have already been hard at work pumping out hair. Unfortunately the speed they work at only gets slower with age. Although you can’t do anything to speed up how fast your hair grows, you can avoid dangers that hurt the rate or if your hair grows at all. And this includes diet and lifestyle choices from exercise to what you eat, and your clothing.
Yoga and stress reducing exercise for example can help keep your hairs natural growth cycles maintaining proper production levels according to this study by Harvard. And wearing a loose fitting hat to protect against UV rays and air pollution may help decrease scalp inflammation. Inflamed scalps may see hair loss vs. growth or a slowing of growth according to the NIH. The tools you use for styling may also impact hair loss, and losing hair may make the appearance of a slowed hair growth.
If you sleep on cotton pillow cases, your hair has more friction causing breakage for fine and brittle hair as you toss and turn compared to silk which is smoother. The same goes for cotton vs. silk scrunchies as silk is able to slide through your hair with less friction.
And paying attention to the vitamins and minerals you take in can impact how fast or slow your hair grows. Consuming the right amount of vitamin C for hair growth and iron can keep your body’s natural growth speed intact. Try a sweet fruit like a kakadu plum instead of a pastry with added sugars which are bad for your hair.
But if avoiding dangers will only help you keep your hair healthy, why do so many people still think you can make your hair grow faster?
Why people say you can make your hair grow faster
People confuse hair density (i.e. how many hairs are on your head) or hair shaft thickness with hair growing faster, and this is the cause of confusion. It’s the appearance of hair growing faster compared to the thickness of the hairs and quantity of them on your head.
There are myths like “hair grows faster in the summer,” but the truth is that your hair grows at the same speed throughout the year, just more of your hairs fall out in the fall making it seem like your hair is growing slower in autumn.
There’s also an entire industry built around hair supplements, but any promises of faster hair growth are just marketing gimmicks promising the world without true scientific evidence. At least we couldn't find any. It's similar to repairing split ends, you can only cut them off.
So don’t fall for the misinformation, or worse, waste your money on products that trick you into thinking they’ll make your hair grow faster. Instead focus on doing the things that science has proved will help you keep your hair as healthy, long, and strong as your genes will allow.
How to keep hair growing as fast as possible
Even though you can’t force your hair to grow faster, you can fight off thinning and hair loss in a few ways.
If you’re seeing your hair thin or stop growing altogether, there are medical treatments that can help. Creams like minoxidil may help restart hair growth from dormant follicles as it relaxes vascular smooth muscle and increased follicle size according to this study.
Microneedling can add to the effect of hair growth by stimulating the pathway your body uses to trigger the hair follicle. There are also injectable medicines with keratinocytes, the stem cells your body uses to create individual strands of hair. These treatments won’t make your hair grow faster, but they can help prevent hair loss, and in some cases even make hair follicles that have quit start producing hair again.
A healthy diet and a good hair care routine are also important to keep your hair growing as fast as it can. Make sure to pack your diet with foods for hair growth like hamburger and salmon. Getting the right amount of nutrients can work to maintain hair growth, like biotin, vitamin A, and vitamin C. All of these nutrients work together to help blood flow carry plenty of the oxygen needed to your hair follicles, fight free radicals floating around your system, and keep your scalp protected against damaging oxidative stress.
Next, follow good grooming techniques to keep your scalp and hair healthy. Knowing how often you should wash your hair will help keep your scalp free of inflammation which can lead to hair loss. And ditch elastic hair ties which rip and pull on your follicles, not to mention fray your locks, for spiral hair ties which have less friction.
Hair grows roughly 6 inches per year, and although you cannot speed this up, it could be slowed down due to the wrong foods, an increase in stress, or a lack of exercise. Luckily you now know how to avoid slowing hair growth so you can keep your body’s natural cycle intact. Did you find this article interesting? Subscribe to our blog below for more content just like it.