So you probably got a bad haircut or your hair is not growing as fast as you desire or maybe you had a disease that caused your hair loss, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to make your hair grow faster.
I will help you by answering those questions. I will also take a closer look at what can affect hair growth and the steps you can take to improve the growth speed of your hair. But first, let me explain and demonstrate the anatomy of hair.
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The hair structure
Hair consists of two distinct structures: follicle—the living part that is located underneath the skin and the hair shaft—fully keratinized nonliving part above the skin surface. The arrector pili muscle, is a tiny muscle that attaches to the base of a hair follicle at one end and to dermal tissue on the other end. In order to generate heat when the body is cold, the arrector pili muscles contract all at once, causing the hair to “stand up straight”, and that muscle is located between the dermo-epidermal junction and your hair bulge area. Hair grows out of little pockets in your skin called follicles. According to Dermatologists, there are about 5 million hair follicles on our body, including roughly 100,000 on the scalp. Each strand of hair grows in four stages which I will individually demonstrate below.
Hair grows from a root at the bottom of a follicle under your skin. The blood in your scalp goes to the follicle and supplies oxygen and nutrients to the hair root, which helps your hair grow.
As your hair grows, it will push through your skin and pass by an oil gland. According to the AAD, it’s the oil from this gland that makes your hair shiny and soft. Hair development is a continuous cyclic process and all mature follicles go through a growth cycle consisting of growth (anagen), regression (catagen), rest (telogen) and shedding (exogen) phases. The duration of the phases changes based on the location of the hair and also personal nutritional and hormonal status and age.
1. Anagen is the active phase of the hair. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair (a hair that has stopped growing or is no longer in the anagen phase) up the follicle and eventually out.
During this phase, the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for two to six years.
Some people have difficulty growing their hair beyond a certain length because they have a short active phase of growth. On the other hand, people with very long hair have a long active phase of growth. The hair on the arms, legs, eyelashes, and eyebrows have a very short active growth phase of about 30 to 45 days, explaining why they are so much shorter than scalp hair. The beginning of an anagen phase is presented by the onset of the mitotic activity in the secondary epithelial germ located between the club hair and dermal papilla in the telogen hair follicle. The anagen is the active growth phase in which the follicle enlarges and takes the original shape and the hair fibre is produced. Almost 85–90% of all scalp hairs are in anagen.
Six portions of the anagen stage are demonstrated. Through the anagen I–V, hair stem cells proliferate, encloses the dermal papilla, grow downwards to the skin and begin to proliferate the hair shaft and IRS, respectively. Subsequently, hair matrix melanocytes begin to develop pigment and the form of the hair shaft begins to arise; in anagen VI, hair bulb and adjacent the dermal papilla formation is realized and the new hair shaft appears from the skin. This phase can last up to 6–8 years in hair follicles. Hair shaft synthesis and pigmentation only take place in anagen. The degree of axial symmetry within the hair bulb determines the curvature of your final hair structure. Fibre length is often dependent on the duration of the anagen or actively growing phase of the follicle. The featured regulatory proteins in the anagen phase are BMPs, sonic hedgehog, several WNT proteins and receptors. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), fibroblast growth factor-7 hepatic growth factor (HGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are thought to be important for anagen maintenance.
2. At the end of the anagen phase, the mitotic activity of the matrix cells is diminished and the follicle enters a highly controlled involutionary phase known as catagen.
The catagen phase is a transitional stage and about 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time. This phase lasts for about two to three weeks regardless of the site and follicle type. During catagen, the proximal of the hair shaft is keratinized and forms the club hair, whereas the distal part of the follicle is involuted by apoptosis Growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the formation of what is known as club hair. The catagen phase considers of eight different stages. The first sign of the catagen phase is the break off of melanogenesis in the hair bulb. Follicular epithelium, mesenchyme, neuroectodermal cell populations and also perifollicular vascular and neural systems demonstrate cyclic changes in differentiation and apoptosis. However, any apoptosis is occurred in the dermal papilla due to the expression of suppressor bcl-2.
3. Telogen is considered as the resting phase and usually accounts for 6% to 8% of all hairs in your body. Hairs don’t grow during the telogen phase, but they don’t usually fall out either. The telogen phase is also when new hairs start to form in follicles that have just released hairs during the catagen phase.
Some health experts consider the telogen phase the shedding phase, as well, but many scientists have divided this stage into two parts: the telogen and exogen stages. This phase lasts for about 100 days (almost 3 months) for hairs on the scalp and much longer for hairs on the eyebrow, eyelash, arm, and leg. During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest and the club hair is completely formed. Pulling out a hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root. About 25 to 100 telogen hairs are shed normally each day.
The telogen stage is defined as the duration between the completion of follicular regression and the onset of the next anagen phase.
4. During the telogen stage, the hair shaft is transformed to club hair and finally shed. The follicle remains in this stage until the hair germ which is responsive to anagen initiating signals from the dermal papilla, starts to show enhanced proliferative and transcriptional activity in late telogen, leading to the initiation of anagen.
The exogen phase is essentially an extension or a part of the telogen stage of hair growth. During the exogen phase, hair is shed from the scalp, often helped along by washing and brushing. Losing 50 to 100 hairs per day during the exogen phase is normal.
During the exogen phase, which can last about 2 to 5 months, new hairs are growing in the follicles as old hairs fall away.
On different parts of your body, the process is pretty much the same, except that the cycle only lasts for about a month. This is why the hair on the body is shorter than the hair on the scalp.
genetics, Age, thyroid problems, hormones, medications, and autoimmune diseases can all cause hair loss. If, and how quickly, your hair grows back after hair loss will depend on the underlying cause of your hair loss.
The hair on your head grows approximately about 1.27 centimetres per month, or 15.24 centimetres per year. In general, male hair does grow slightly faster than female hair. After a bad haircut, you can expect your hair to grow back at about this rate.
If your hair was longer than shoulder-length and you got a really short bob, it can take several years to grow the hair back to where it was before.
How can I help my hair to grow faster?
While genetics does play a role in maintaining healthy hair growth, several other factors also come into play.
Although there’s no magical potion or remedy that will result in instant growth, However, there are steps you can apply to help your hair grow.
Let’s look at some tips that may help your hair grow faster and stronger.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Particularly foods that are high in protein, vitamin C and iron. hair is almost entirely made of protein and consuming enough is important for hair growth. Restrictive dieting can decrease the resources and nutrients that are strictly needed for your hair growth, and since hair growth is a relatively low priority compared to other bodily functions, hair growth is halted quickly when your body is placed under stress due to restrictive dieting. Even after resuming a healthy diet, hair shedding usually goes on for a period of months.
- Try products that contain caffeine. We all know that caffeine can give you an energy boost, but a lot of studies have shown that it may also have growth-promoting effects on your hair. According to these studies, caffeine may help promote new hair growth at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels in both men and women. You can find many caffeine-infused products online, so look out for those as they are worth it
- Check your protein intake in your food. If your diet is severely restrictive, hair won’t grow optimally as desired, and shedding can easily occur which is unpleasant. Eating a well-balanced diet with enough protein intake is important for optimal hair growth to reach your goal. Generally, I recommend 50 grams of protein or more per day. Ask a doctor about taking supplements, particularly iron, folic acid, biotin, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and zinc, but only if you think these are lacking from your diet. There’s no need to take supplements if you’re already getting the nutrients you need from food.
- Avoid harsh chemicals or excessive heat on hair and skin. Heat from curling irons, hair dryers, and straighteners can damage your hair and cause breakage. While avoiding heat styling altogether may not be an option, you may want to try limiting how often you use these tools. Decreasing the temperature of heated styling tools can also help reduce hair damage. Additionally, according to different studies, using a heat protectant product before using a heated styling tool may significantly reduce hair breakage. Heat treatments work by forming a protective barrier that helps prevent moisture loss when using heated tools.
- Avoid dying your hair at all costs. Because when we dye our hair and change the texture of it with chemicals, these processes do put a lot of unnecessary stress on our hair and cause it to break. But when we tone down these processes, hair breaks off less and can seem like it’s growing faster
- Remove split ends with a regular trim every six to eight weeks.
Hair grows back at a rate of about 15.24 centimetres per year. If your hair is falling out, visit a doctor so that they can diagnose the cause of your hair loss whether it is hereditary or some kind of disease.
If your hair loss is caused by a medical condition, you’ll need treatment to address the full condition, not just its symptoms, before the hair can recover.
While genetics does play an important role in your way of hair growth, several other factors also play an important part other than genetics. And always put in mind that there’s no magical formula for instant hair growth that exists, however, there are other various steps you can apply in your daily routine to boost the health and growth of your hair.