Hair plays a significant role when it comes to the appearance of men and women. Hair has different structures and layers. The strength of the hair is attributed to the tough protein called keratin, which is made up of amino acid chains.
A hair follicle is a sheath that surrounds the hair under the skin. The hair bulb, which is located at the base of hair follicles, provides hair its source of nutrition. The blood vessels nourish the living cells in the hair bulb and deliver hormones that regulate the growth and structure of hair at different stages of life.
How fast does hair grow?
The head contains approximately 100,000 hair follicles, and as people age, some of these follicles stop the production of hair, which is why hair thinning or baldness occurs. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the average growth of hair per month is half an inch, which is around 6 inches every year. The rate of hair growth usually depends on the following factors:
- Your age
- The type of hair you have
- Your overall health condition
- Other medical conditions
Growth Cycles of Hair
The growth of hair goes through three stages:
- Anagen - This is the first stage or the active growth phase, which lasts between 2-8 years.
- Catagen - This is the second stage or the transition phase, which lasts from a few days to a few weeks. In this phase, the period of active hair growth stops.
- Telogen - This is the third and last stage of the cycle or the resting phase, in which hair sheds for 2-3 months.
During the anagen phase, the scalp has around 90-95 percent of hair follicles, which means that approximately 5-10 percent of hair follicles are in the telogen (resting) phase. It would mean that around 100-150 hair falls out per day.
The length of the anagen phase is basically dependent on how long your hair is and if the cells present at the follicle base would continue to multiply and would convert into hair cells. The growth of hair occurs because of the shedding of a few of the structures of the matrix cells as they are about to reach the upper follicle. The structure of the shed is said to combine with the keratin to form the strands of hair that would exit from the surface of the skin.
How to Keep Your Hair Healthy and Strong
Although there are no direct methods to make people's hair grow faster in one day, there are other steps that you can take to make your hair healthy, strong, and long. However, it is also important to consult a doctor before using any type of hair supplements, such as keratin and biotin, since there are supplements that can cause interactions with certain medications leading to the occurrence of unwanted side effects.
1. Vitamin and Nutrient Intake
There are many vitamins and supplements in the market that claim to promote hair growth, but in most cases, these products do not always directly affect the length of people's hair.
The human body needs lots of energy for hair growth, so not consuming enough balanced meals with the nutrients you need can affect the growth of your hair. Although vitamins and nutrients can be sourced from your daily diet, there are also supplements that may help keep your hair healthy and strong. They include:
- Vitamin A
- B-vitamins (biotin)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 and Omega-6
2. Essential Oil Application
Using essential oils for hair can help stimulate hair growth, nourish hair, eliminate dandruff, prevent oily hair, reduce stress, and balance hormones.
A study has shown that pumpkin seed oil may help the growth of hair in men experiencing hair loss by approximately 40 percent. To use pumpkin seed oil, add a few drops of the oil into your regular shampoo. You may also dilute the oil with jojoba oil.
However, make sure not to directly apply essential oils to your skin to avoid any irritation. Dilute the oils first using carrier oils, such as:
- Coconut oil
- Mineral oil
- Castor oil
- Sunflower oil
Other essential oils that promote hair growth are peppermint oil and rosemary oil.
3. Topical Treatments
Topical treatments are generally prescribed for those who experience hair loss. Topical ointments may help in hair growth. According to studies, topical treatments may be used for the effective treatment of alopecia (hair loss). Topical treatments that promote hair growth include:
- Ketoconazole shampoo
- Finasteride (Propecia)
- Melatonin (topical)
- Minoxidil 5 percent solution (topical)
4. Protein Intake
Your hair can be protected against environmental and chemical damage by taking protein. However, the consumption of excessive protein can also affect the kidneys, so it is better to obtain protein from your daily diet instead of using supplements. You can get protein from nuts, yogurt, vegetables, and other protein-rich foods.
When styling your hair using heat, a protein coat can help protect your hair. One natural product that can help improve your hair is coconut oil.
5. Keratin Supplements
According to some clinical studies, using keratin supplements may help promote hair strength as well as reduce hair loss if they are used for three months. However, more research still needs to be done about the long-term and short-term effects of taking keratin supplements for hair growth.
Factors That Affect the Growth of Hair
There are a number of factors that can have an effect on the growth of the hair. These factors include:
- A family history of hair loss
- Changes in hormones
- Lack of proper nutrition or an unhealthy diet
- Any kind of trauma that leads to follicle damage
- Use of certain medications
- Stress, which can be physical, mental, or emotional
- Other medical conditions
Most factors that influence the growth of hair are often out of our control. One of the best steps to take is to consume a healthy and balanced diet along with proper hydration. A healthy dietary intake can help keep your hair strong and help prevent hair thinning and hair loss. Consult a doctor if you notice a significant loss of hair.