You might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to make your hair grow faster. Do any products help? Can dietary changes speed up growth? And what about medications or treatments?
In this article, we’ll help answer those questions. We’ll also take a closer look at what can affect hair growth and the steps you can take to improve the growth of your hair.
Here’s a fascinating fact: You’re born with all the hair follicles you’ll ever have — around 5 million to be exact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Of those, about 100,000 follicles are on your scalp. When it comes to losing hair, the AAD says it’s totally normal to lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day.
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.
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, there are steps you can take to help your hair grow.
Let’s look at 10 steps that may help your hair grow faster and stronger.
According to Dr. Lindsey Bordone, a dermatologist at ColumbiaDoctors and assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, we can’t control everything that affects our hair growth. But there are things we can avoid that may cause impaired growth and increased shedding.
“Restrictive dieting can decrease resources and nutrients needed for hair growth,” said Bordone.
“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,” she explained.
“Even after resuming a healthy diet, hair shedding usually goes on for a period of months,” said Bordone.
“If your diet is severely restrictive, hair won’t grow optimally, and shedding can occur,” said Bordone.
“Eating a well-balanced diet with adequate protein intake is important for optimal hair growth,” she added. “Generally, we recommend 50 grams of protein or more per day.”
We all know that caffeine can give you an energy boost, but one 2014 study found that it may also have growth-promoting effects on your hair.
According to the study, caffeine may help promote new hair growth at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels in both men and women.
If you’re interested in caffeine-infused products, these recommended products are available online:
Essential oils not only smell good, but they may also help promote hair growth.
One study found that a daily dose of 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil in capsule form resulted in an increase in hair growth in men. After 24 weeks, the men who took pumpkin seed oil experienced a 40 percent increase in hair count.
Another study looked at four groups of mice, each of which was given a different hair treatment. The treatments consisted of saline, jojoba oil, 3 percent minoxidil, or 3 percent peppermint oil.
The study found that the group given peppermint oil showed the most hair growth. This included a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth.
Specific vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are especially important for your overall health and also play a key role in providing your body with the energy needed for hair growth. This includes:
One study found that taking omega-3 and omega-6 supplements for 6 months may help protect against hair loss.
Data from another study suggested that lower zinc levels may play a key role in hair loss.
While the research demonstrating the efficacy of biotin is limited, a review of the literature found 18 reported cases that showed clinical improvement in both hair and nail health after biotin supplementation.
If you’re interested in vitamin supplements, these products are available online.
- LesLabs Hair Health contains all the essential nutrients to support hair growth. This dietary supplement contains vitamin A, vitamin E, thiamin, biotin, pantothenic acid, zinc, zinc, pumpkin seed extract, MSM, and bamboo stem extract.
- Sugarbear Hair Vitamins are a vegetarian gummy supplement that contains vitamins A, C, D, E, vitamins B-6 and B-12, folate, zinc, biotin, pantothenic acid, and more.
The study examined the effectiveness of daily, 4-minute scalp massages. After 24 weeks, the researchers found that the nine men involved in the study had thicker hair than at the start.
While the study didn’t show any noticeable difference in hair growth, it’s thought that a scalp massage may help dilate blood vessels beneath the skin. This, in turn, may lead to thicker, stronger hair that’s less likely to break off or become damaged.
You can get a professional scalp massage or indulge in a do-it-yourself massage at home.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Sapna Palep of Spring Street Dermatology says using PRP therapy with patients who have hair loss has shown promise.
While more controlled studies are needed, one study found that PRP may serve as an effective treatment option against hair loss.
“PRP is a breakthrough treatment that uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to restore and accelerate hair growth,” she said. “Platelets are protein derived from one’s own bloodstream and DNA that can act like a stem cell when placed back into the body,” said Palep.
Scalp injections of PRP can jostle awake dormant hair follicles, resulting in more hair growth.
Treatments are once a month, for 3 months, and every 6 months thereafter for maintenance.
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 a 2011 study, 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.
If you’re interested in heat protectants, these recommended products are available online:
Vanessa Thomas, a cosmetic chemist and founder of Freelance Formulations, says there are some ingredients, like minoxidil, that have been clinically tested for hair growth and have shown positive results.
Used to treat hereditary hair loss at the back of the head, minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine.
“Some products that contain minoxidil do not need a prescription if the concentration of minoxidil is under a certain percentage,” said Thomas. However, any product that uses this drug has to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Rogaine doesn’t work for everyone, and it can take up to 4 months to see results.
“When we dye our hair and change the texture with chemicals, these processes can put stress on the hair and cause it to break,” said Thomas.
“But when we tone down these processes, hair breaks off less and can seem like it’s growing faster,” she added.
While genetics does play a role in hair growth, several other factors also come into play. And while there’s no magical formula for instant hair growth, there are steps you can take to boost the health and growth of your hair.
Eating a healthy diet that includes key nutrients as well as adequate protein is key. Using certain products and treatments may promote hair growth, while dialing back on heat treatments and chemical processing can help, too.
If you’re concerned about hair loss or have trouble getting your hair to grow, you may want to talk with your doctor about why this may be happening.