What Is The Average Hair Growth Rate?
Before we dive into the phases of hair growth, it is helpful to understand how quickly hair naturally grows to get a good understanding of what to expect.
According to the U.S Center for Disease Control, hair grows an average of 0.50 inches per month. If we break that down, that equates to 0.17 inches a day or about 6 inches per year.
That sounds like a lot but why does it not feel like I am growing that much? Let’s dive into it…
Stages Of Hair Growth
1) Anagen Phase “Active Growth Phase”
During the Anagen phase, your scalp will produce 90-95% of all of your hair follicles. This is due to your cells in the root of your hair dividing every 24 hours to produce new growth.
The amount of time your hair follicles are in this active growth phase will vary depending on a lot of predetermined factors, but an average Anagen phase lasts between 2-8 years before an unknown signal triggers the body to enter into the Catagen phase.
2) Catagen Phase “Transition Phase”
During the Catagen phase, your hair cells will stop dividing which means no new hair growth will be produced. Just fewer than 1% of the hairs on your head are at this stage at any single point in time.
An average Catagen phase will last 4-6 weeks.
3) Telogen Phase “Hair Loss Phase”
The Telogen phase is where the hair follicles begin to change shape to begin the process of falling out naturally. This is what you see when you brush through your hair and you see hair strands on your brush or on your bathroom counter. This phase is necessary to keep your hair and scalp healthy.
Typically you will lose an average of 50-100 hairs per day. About 10-15% of the hair is in the phase at any given time. This stage lasts about 3-4 months on average.
It is important to note that all of the hairs on your hair do not go through these stages at the same time. At any given moment each hair follicle could be at a different stage. This is the reason that you do not go bald followed by extreme hair growth.
How Do I Increase My Hair Growth Rate During The Anagen Phase?
The actual growth rate of your hair during the Anagen phase can greatly fluctuate depending on genetics, age, ethnicity, health factors, time of year, and diet. In a 2005 study conducted by the International Journal of Dermatology, they found that female Asian descendant hair grows at the fastest rate while African descendant hair tends to grow the slowest. In men, the hair growth rate did not differ depending on ethnicity.
Researchers from this study also believe that hair tends to grow at a faster rate during the summer than the winter due to greater exposure to the sun’s UV rays and dietary changes (eating more fruits and vegetables).
Researchers are not 100% sure what factors trigger the body to go into the Anagen phase but they do recommend a few tips to promote healthy hair.
What Can Shorten Your Hair Growth Rate During The Anagen Phase?
It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason why your hair growth rate may not be the same as others during the Anagen phase. In addition to the predetermined set of genetic factors and stages of life, some potential reasons why your hair could stop growing could include:
- High level of stress
- Traumatic event
- Calorie-restricted diet or other extreme diets
- Short Anagen syndrome
- Pregnancy or aftermath of caring for a newborn
- Hormonal imbalance
- Over styling/applying to much heat
- Poor diet
- Overuse of products in the hair
- Pulling on the hair too tight
What Can I Do To Naturally Increase My Hair Growth Rate?
1) Increase Your Vitamin Intake
According to The Vitamins and Nutrition Center, any nutritional deficiency can contribute to hair thinning and loss. With age, blood circulation will naturally start to decrease. To combat the effects that this slowing down has on your hair growth, it is recommended to increase the number of vitamins in the bloodstream.
As an antioxidant, Vitamin E is recommended in order to promote healthy nail and hair growth. Always speak to your healthcare provider before taking any vitamins.
2) Eat Protein & Foods Rich In Biotin
Vitamin H, or more commonly known as Biotin, is known for helping to turn food into fuel for your body. Biotin can also assist in increasing metabolism and helping build blocks of amino acids and carbs which turn into protein.
Hair growth starts at the follicle which is made of protein cells. For faster and stronger hair, it is recommended to eat a diet rich in both biotin and protein.
This can include foods such as:
- Nuts and seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
3) Well Balanced Diet
Besides consuming a healthy amount of protein and biotin-rich foods, having a well-balanced diet is key to keeping your hair healthy. Foods rich in vitamins A and C, such as spinach and broccoli, are a great addition to a well-balanced diet.
Vitamins found in both spinach and broccoli produce sebum which is needed to add moisture to your scalp. Not to mention antioxidants found in many green vegetables can help eliminate free radicals, making your hair grow faster and stronger.
It is important to keep your diet as balanced as possible so that your body is not lacking nutritional deficiencies.
4) Use Coconut Oil As A Hair Treatment
Coconut oil is one of the hottest ingredients in the hair industry and for good reason. Comprised mainly of smaller medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil has a high affinity to stimulate new hair growth. Due to coconut’s oil molecular weight and structure, it directly sinks into the hair follicles instead of just sitting on top of the hair. This means that effects are not just surface level but rather it helps to also repair and stimulate the hair instead of being discarded after a wash.
Additional benefits of coconut oil include:
- Adding a natural shine to the hair
- Moisturizing the hair and scalp
- Reducing protein loss
- Releasing itchy and dryness on the scalp
Check out our article to learn more on why you should be using coconut oil on your hair here.
5) Replace Your Cotten Pillowcase With A Silk One
Ever wonder why you wake up in the morning and your hair is in a million different directions? This is caused by one thing, friction. By replacing your old cotton pillowcase with a silk one, you create less friction on your hair during the night. Friction disrupts the cuticle layer of the hair which has been shown to cause hair loss.
Silk fibers help to absorb some of that friction at night which cause the moisture level of your skin and hair to remain intact. Not to mention silk is naturally non-absorbent and antibacterial, whereas regular cotton absorbs moisture and bacteria.
Check out these silk pillowcases on Amazon:
At the end of the day, what triggers an individuals hair growth rate to be higher than another is still a mystery to scientists. No one solution will work for everyone so it might be a lot of trial and error before learning what best works for you. Don’t underestimate the power of what a regular trim can do for your hair. Frequent trips can encourage new hair growth even if your growth rate has plateaued.
Always remember to check in with your doctor if you are experiencing extreme hair loss. Interested in learning more about why you might be experiencing hair loss? Check out our latest article that lists three new ways stimulate new hair growth.
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