As you know, every one of us is born with a fixed number of hair follicles for our lifetime. Out of these, around 5 million follicles are on various part of our body whereas our scalp contains around 1 lakh follicles. These follicles will get damaged and will eventually stop producing hair as we get older. This is how hair thinning and baldness occurs.
According to The American Academy of Dermatology, the hair on your scalp only grows about ½ an inch every month on an average basis. That means about 6 inches a year. Even though the science behind hair growth is known to us, we still don’t know how can we speed up this process.
Basically, there are three stages of hair growth which are:
- anagen: This is the initial phase of the growth in which hair grows actively and lasts around two to eight years.
- catagen: This is the transition phase. In this phase, hair stops growing and it usually lasts four to six weeks.
- telogen: This is the resting phase. In this phase, hair begins to fall out and it usually lasts two to three months.
On an average basis, at any given time, your scalp will have 90 to 95% of the follicles in the anagen phase and 5 to 10% in the telogen phase. This explains why it is common to lose about 100-150 hairs every day.
Is it possible to increase the anagen phase of hair follicles?
In the anagen phase, hair follicle cells at the base of your hair continuously multiply and form new hair cells. This results in hair growth because matrix cells shed a part of their structure and combine with keratins giving rise to hair strands that grow beyond your skin’s surface. If by any means we can trigger the anagen phase of the hair, we can achieve faster hair growth. Researchers are still working on this. In the meanwhile, there are certain steps you can take to promote healthy hair as described below:
How to achieve stronger and healthy hair
Even though there are no magic methods to have your hair grow really fast overnight, there are methods to keep it strong and healthy. If you are considering the use of hair supplements to speed up your hair growth like keratin, biotin, or some other nutritional supplements, make sure to consult your doctor before starting any of them. This is very important because there are chances that these supplements may cause undesirable side effects or interact with medications you are already taking. Following are six useful tips which will speed up your hair growth.
1. Take vitamins and nutrients
Even though many hair supplements are available nowadays, keep in mind that nothing can substitute a well-balanced diet which includes the necessary vitamins and minerals for hair growth. Here are some supplements which can help you for faster hair growth:
- Omega-3 and 6 Supplements: A study conducted on 120 healthy females show that the ones who took these supplements showed improved hair density and less hair loss.
- Zinc supplements: It is found that people with zinc deficiency suffer hair loss and they can be benefitted from taking zinc supplements.
- B-5 and Biotin supplements: This is an oral supplement which is found to be helpful not only in improving hair strength and quality, but also to reduce hair fall according to various studies conducted.
- Vitamin C Supplements: There is circumstantial evidence that these supplements help to prevent oxidative stress on the hair which causes thinning out and graying of hair.
- Iron Supplements: The relationship between iron deficiency and hair growth is not still established and the evidence available is insufficient.
- Vitamin D Supplements: These supplements are found to help people with Alopecia as most of these people are found to be vitamin D deficient.
2. Apply essential oils on your hair
Few drops of essential oils can be mixed with shampoo or with jojoba oil before using them. Make sure you do not apply essential oils directly on the skin. Always dilute the essential oil by mixing with carrier oils such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, mineral oil or castor oil.
3. Use topical ointments
Many tropical ointments are found to help people with hair loss. Various studies conducted show that tropical ointments are useful not only in treating different hair loss conditions such as alopecia, but they also help in promoting hair growth. Some of the recommended ointments are melatonin, minoxidil 5%, and ketoconazole shampoo.
4. Try keratin supplements
To be honest, there aren’t many studies which prove the effectiveness of keratin, protein, and vitamins on your hair health. But in one of the studies conducted, a product was tested which had 500 mg of keratin along with other minerals and vitamins. The result obtained showed a hair loss reduction of 12.5% and an increase in hair strength by 5.9%. Not only that, the group which took this supplement also showed improved hair luster and brightness.
5. Use protein supplements.
Protein is a very important factor in promoting strong, healthy hair. It not only helps hair growth but also protect hair from various environmental and chemical damages. If you are someone who experiments with your hairstyle often and applies heat on it, you may need a protein treatment to protect your hair. These supplements are easily available online these days. An alternative method to reduce protein loss from your hair is using coconut oil.
While taking protein supplements, keep in mind that too much protein can prove to be harmful to your kidneys. In rare cases, it may cause your hair to become brittle also. Therefore, it is always better if you make your diet protein rich instead of going for protein supplements. Some foods which are high in protein are nuts, vegetables, yogurt, etc.
6. Apply caffeine to your follicles
Studies about the relationship between caffeine and hair growth are still going on. A cell study done on follicles reveal that caffeine may indeed promote the growth of your hair. You can try hair products containing caffeine for this purpose.
The main factors which affect hair growth are age, family history or genetics, stress, hormonal changes, general health of the person, lack of nutrition, hair type, a trauma that damages follicles and other health conditions. If we look into these factors closely, we can understand that most of these factors are out of our everyday control. The best you can do is to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet. Make sure to consult your doctor if you experience any abnormal and excessive hair loss as this might be a symptom of a more serious health problem.