If healthy hair is a reflection of being healthy, what is being said of your health when your hair just won’t grow, and how can you change the length and overall health of it? There are a number of things that affect your hair’s growth. First, it’s important to understand the composition of your hair in order to get a better idea of what it needs from you.
Fun Facts About Hair Growth
- All of the ends on your hair are dead ends.
The reality of hair is that the roots are the only living bits. Everything else is already dying, or dead once it reaches the end. Split ends are proof of damage and should be attended to.
- Humans have roughly the same amount of hair as apes. While apes remain covered in thick hair all over their bodies, we’ve evolved out of that need. Maybe it’s because we have clothing to warm us. Nevertheless, the hair’s still there; it’s just thinner.
- Despite what you may think, hair is the second fastest growing tissue in your body after the bone marrow.
- Hair is quick to grow but slow to react.
Results of healthy habits won’t show overnight, but don’t let that discourage you from continuing!
Nutrition and Hormones
Everything you consume is broken down and dispersed to keep your body healthy and functioning. If you don’t consume enough nutrients or have conditions that cause deficiencies, your hair can suffer greatly. Although it’s primarily made up of keratin, hair needs an abundance of:
- fatty acids
- trace minerals and elements
Hormones are needed to metabolize and distribute nutrients that help hair grow. Your difficulty with growth due to deficiencies may be caused by:
It’s no coincidence that hair is more brittle, weak, and faded after your 30s. Hormone production decreases after your prime years between 12 and 30, and your hair receives less and less nutrients with age.
Illness and Diet
Anything that causes you to produce less hormones or break down less essentials will damage your hair. This can range from simply not consuming enough (common from eating disorders, poverty, fasting) to not producing enough (a result of illnesses, medications, stress, etc.).
Necessities are transferred through blood, making circulation another must-have. If you’re looking for motivation to work out, exercise promotes blood flow to the scalp. Just make sure to shower afterwards to wash off the sweat and excess oils, or you’ll see further damage and even ingrown hairs.
Healthy Hair Maintenance and Growth Rate
If you’re healthy, but your hair still seems dull, lifeless, and stunted, your routine may be the culprit. The rules are simple:
- Brush daily. At least once.
- Read the directions on the shampoo bottle. Read the ingredients, too.
- Don’t shampoo too often. Hair needs oils.
- Never skip conditioner! In fact, conditioning treatments can supplement your usual routine.
- Always use protection. Don’t use styling tools without protective products.
- Go natural. Your hair could use a break from the heat.
- When drying wet hair, don’t rub it. Blot, squish, wring, or shake. Whatever you do, just don’t rub it!
Tips and Tricks for Hair Growth
At the end of the day, your hair’s growth depends greatly on the major changes you make and the time you’re willing to put into taking care of it. However, if you feel that the little things matter just as much as the big ones, here are some handy notes to consider!
- Hair stretches when it’s wet.
Brushing hair when it’s wet helps to elongate strands. Braiding wet hair before bed also gently pulls and lengthens. As it dries, the stretched hair will relax into the longer position. It’s sort of like pulling a balloon to activate its elasticity before blowing it up.
- New hairs grow immediately upon removal.
A trim every so often seems counterproductive when trying to grow your hair out, but it helps in two ways:
- It cuts off the split and damaged ends, giving the appearance of healthier hair.
- It awakens the follicles in the same way as naturally shedding hair does. This promotes an immediate reaction to grow more hair in its place.
- Hair takes shifts.
As 90% of your hair grows, the remaining 10% is at rest. If you’re disheartened by a lack of results, remind yourself that there is still 10% of your hair that needs to be awakened.
- One hair can live for 5 years.
Remember that fact about your hair’s response time? Your healthy habits will show eventually, and they’ll stick around for a while if you’re persistent. This explains why hair can look great as you enter puberty even though your hormones are going crazy. It’s still showing evidence of a controlled body from up to 5 years ago! Five years from now, you’ll thank yourself for starting better habits today.
- Hair reacts to temperature.
Warm temperatures expand follicles. That’s helpful during treatments, but using hot tools can fry strands and relax follicles to the point of the hairs being shed. Cool water at the end of a shower contracts follicles and helps seal in conditioners.
You’re an individual with your own quirks that set you apart from all others. You have unique qualities and needs, but you also share the same basic human needs as others. Your hair is no different! Whether you rock beach waves, pin straight locks, kinky strands, or curls galore, all hair types have the same essential requirements.