In this week’s edition of the blog, we will discuss 6 ways to make your hair grow faster and stronger naturally. But before we get into the specifics, it will be useful to quickly review the hair growth cycle, with more specific details available in one of our previous blogs. Hair growth begins from the follicle, or the root, located underneath the skin. Like all living things, it needs nourishment to grow which is provided by blood vessels located at the base of the follicle. From birth of the new hair to it falling out several years later, each hair will pass through the four different stages of the cycle of hair growth:
Anagen - the growth phase lasting between 2-7 years and dictates the length of your hair.
Catagen - the transition phase lasting about 10 days where the blood supply feeding the hair is cut off and the hair prepares to enter the next phase in the cycle.
Telogen - the resting phase, roughly 3 months in length, where a new hair begins the growth cycle while the resting hair remains in place.
Exogen - in which the old hair sheds and the new hair continues to grow.
You can probably see similarities towards the importance of the blood and nutrients provided to the growing hair by the follicle to the blood and nutrients provided by the umbilical cord to an unborn child in the womb. And what will many women do when they find out they are pregnant? They will cease alcohol consumption, alter their diet, and perhaps take supplements so that their baby will be as healthy as possible when born. You can do the same thing with your hair. If your diet is suboptimal, you may find yourself experiencing hair loss at a greater rate than what you might experience with a proper diet. Keep in mind that when the body is starved of nutrients, it will direct those that it does have available to your most important organs for survival. Hair is not critical for survival, so your follicles may be the first affected. And for this reason, maintaining a healthy diet that supplies your follicles with the nutrition they need from the inside of your body is the first thing you can do to grow your hair faster and stronger naturally. But it is not just about vitamins and minerals. The hair cells in the follicles also require proteins and complex carbohydrates to function properly. Remember that your hair is mainly composed of the protein keratin, implying that a supply of protein is required for hair growth. And just as we mentioned before, if your body does not have enough protein, it will ration that which it does have to your more critical organs and your hair will yet again be left wanting and become dry and brittle. In order to accommodate this protein demand, it is best to include eggs, meats, fish and beans/lentils in your diet, which are all excellent protein sources.
Along these lines of thought, it is also important to avoid any kind of crash diets, as they can also deprive the follicles of the nutrients they need for healthy hair growth. In fact, there are several published reports available that document fairly extreme hair loss in people that were abiding by some form of crash diet.
So now we can understand the importance of a healthy, well-rounded diet for natural hair growth, but are there other lifestyle adjustments you can make to help grow your hair naturally? Indeed there are.
Reducing your level of stress can inhibit a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium, in which a great deal of your hair may abnormally and simultaneously transition from the anagen or growth phase of the hair cycle to the telogen or resting phase, and roughly three months later the hair will fall out. One of the triggers for telogen effluvium is known to be stress, while others could be illness, a reaction to medications or even childbirth. Just keep in mind that you won’t observe the hair loss until 3 months after the inducing event. The good news is that telogen effluvium is reversible and if the triggers are removed, your hair should return to normal. There are many different strategies to remove stress from your life, some people may use meditation techniques or yoga, others exercise, but a nice scalp massage can also help and have another benefit. The theory is that by massaging the scalp, cells within the follicles are stretched, enabling them to produce thicker hair while also dilating the blood vessels such that more nourishment can be provided to the follicles to encourage further hair growth. There is clinical evidence to support this theory, in which a small test group were given a daily scalp massage for 24 weeks, after which significantly thicker hair was observed.
Finally, there are things we can do during our regular hair styling that can help reduce hair loss. Reduce the temperature of your water when you shampoo and condition as hot water can contribute to loss of moisture in your hair and lead to premature breakage. Along similar lines, you may want to limit your use of blow dryers or heated styling tools. Perhaps turn the heat setting down and towel dry your hair first if you must use them. And hair coloring – most of them contain the ingredients listed in our previous blog on toxic ingredients in skincare products. Do you really want to use that on your scalp?
In this blog our goal was to provide 6 ways to make your hair grow faster and stronger naturally. Maintaining a proper diet was first and foremost, with supplementation if necessary. The importance and reasons for including sufficient sources of protein were also described. Avoiding any type of crash diet is also important to recognize, as such a diet will almost inevitably lead to some form of nutrient deficit. Avoiding or controlling your stress levels will help reduce hair loss via telogen effluvium, while regular scalp massages can not only help relieve that stress, but also encourage thicker hair growth. Finally, we discussed some of the pitfalls of hairstyling. So back to the original topic – 6 ways you can make your hair grow faster and stronger naturally: 1. Healthy diet, supplement if necessary; 2. Sufficient protein; 3. No crash dieting! 4. Reduce stress levels; 5. Scalp massage 6. Minimize use and heat provided by styling accessories and accept that your natural hair color is already gorgeous.