How Fast Does Hair Grow?
The average rate of hair growth is about half an inch a month according to the American Academy of Dermatology.2 This results in about six inches of hair growth every year.
This is good news for those who want to grow long locks!
However, this rate of growth is influenced by several factors, including genetics, gender, age, and nutrition.2
- If your family members tend to have faster-growing hair, there’s a good chance that you will too.
- Men tend to grow hair faster than women.
- Hair grows fastest between the ages of fifteen and thirty.
- And a healthy diet is essential to keeping rates of hair growth optimized.3
Hair Growth Phases
There are three phases to hair growth: anagen, telogen, and catagen.
During the anagen phase, the hair follicle produces new growth. This can last anywhere from two to six years depending on individual factors.
After the anagen phase is the catagen phase.
This is a transition period of one to two weeks where hair is neither growing nor resting. Finally comes the telogen phase.
During this three- to four-month period, hair follicles are resting and some will fall out.3
This doesn’t mean that all hair falls out at once! There are an average of one hundred thousand hair follicles on each person’s scalp.2
Those hair follicles are in different phases at different times, meaning that there is always some hair growing, some hair resting, and some hair in between.
Hair Loss, several factors are at play
It is normal to lose about one hundred hairs per day. However, if you notice your rate of hair growth slowing down or an increase in hair shedding, there may be one of, or a combination of, several factors at play.
There are several medically identifiable types of hair loss. The most common ones include androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium.2
Androgenetic alopecia is a genetic condition that causes the anagen phase of hair growth to become progressively shorter.
It is commonly referred to as male- or female-pattern baldness.
In this condition, the hairs that do grow become progressively thinner. Eventually, the affected follicles stop producing growth altogether.3
Alopecia areata is an immune disorder. In this condition, the immune system attacks hair follicles by mistake, resulting in their destruction and, ultimately, hair loss.3
Telogen effluvium is a non-specific hair loss disorder. In this condition, a large number of hair follicles suddenly enter the telogen phase and fall out.
This condition is usually triggered by changes in a person’s environment.
They may include increases in stress, illnesses, poor nutrition, certain medications, and changes in hormone levels.3
How to Increase Hair Growth and Combat Hair Loss
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat hair loss! The correct method depends on the type of hair loss you are experiencing.
Ways to treat hair loss
The best way to know what type of hair loss you are experiencing is to speak with a dermatologist, who will be able to guide you to the correct treatment for you and your condition.
Those with androgenetic alopecia may be prescribed topical minoxidil or oral finasteride.
While both of these medications promote hair growth, they work best at preventing further hair loss.3
Those with alopecia areata may receive steroid injections, topical steroids, or medications to calm the immune system.3
Those with telogen effluvium will be happy to learn that the condition usually resolves on its own, typically over the course of several months. Treatment of the condition involves removing the initiating factor.
Even if you are not experiencing hair loss, there are ways to grow longer and healthier hair.
General ways to improve hair health
General ways to improve hair health include keeping a healthy diet, taking supplements to make up for nutritional deficiencies, and living a healthy lifestyle.
Vitamins and nutrients to look out for include iron, biotin, zinc, and vitamins D and B12.1
After you’ve boosted your hair growth, be sure to stick to good haircare practices to retain the length you’ve grown.
These include regular trims, conditioning, and gentle handling.
- Ablon G, Berkowitz S, Kogan S, Raymond I. Long-term efficacy of a nutraceutical supplement for promoting hair growth in perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women with self-perceived thinning hair. SKIN The Journal of Cutaneous Medicine. 2021;5(6). doi:10.25251/skin.5.supp.90
- Blume-Peytavi U, Hillmann K, Guarrera M. Hair growth assessment techniques. Hair Growth and Disorders.:125-157. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-46911-7_8
- Grimalt R, Sharma A. Faculty opinions recommendation of common causes of hair loss – clinical manifestations, trichoscopy and therapy. Faculty Opinions – Post-Publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. 2021. doi:10.3410/f.739181755.793582390
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