Factors that influence hair growth
Now let’s get into what most people are interested in, HAIR GROWTH.
To understand hair growth, you must first understand what causes hair to grow and what prevents it from growing. Now that we understand a little bit more about the hair growth cycle, let us look at the factors that influence or reduce hair growth. I will divide these into the following:
1. Internal factors
2. External factors
*NOTE*: If you haven’t read the post on the “Hair cycle”, now would be a good time to read it before moving on [:-)]
1. GENETICS: As much as you would like to think that your genes do not play a part in your hair growth, it does. As mentioned before, hair grows on average between ¼ and ½ of an inch per month. Depending on your genetic makeup, it can grow faster or slower. Don’t be alarmed if your hair does not seem to be growing as fast as someone else’s. The important thing to note is that everybody’s hair is different, so DO NOT COMPARE. Study and understand your hair and work at making it as healthy as it can be. Healthy hair will grow. Once you master the art of caring for your hair, growth will come. Don’t worry too much about it.
2. HEALTH: What you put in your body is what you will get out! If you are packing your body with unhealthy food, both your body and hair will suffer the consequences and produce the same poor quality as the food that you put in it. Eating healthy will positively reflect on your body, skin, nails, and even the way you think. A starved body also has a starved mind. Having a well balanced meal also includes keeping your body well hydrated. It is therefore recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of pure water per day and exercise regularly unless otherwise indicated by a physician.
3. HORMONES: There are many different types of hormones produced in our bodies. The same goes for men as well as women. The differences are in the quantity and types produced. Women of child bearing age in particular undergo a lot of hormone changes which can then influence how their hair grows. Medication, either prescribed or otherwise, and stress also play a vital role in hormone production.
1. ENVIRONMENT: The sun and wind can be both good and bad at the same time. Although we can all enjoy the sunlight, especially on a cold day, and the wind on a hot day, they can both be very damaging to our skin and hair. Just as the heat and sun can cause forest fires in heavily dense areas, it can cause burns to your skin and hair. The sunlight with its UV waves can literally burn your hair if it is not properly protected. The wind can be just as damaging by lifting the cuticles of the hair strands or by allowing strands to rub on each other creating knots and breakage. So it is essential to cover and protect your hair and skin from these and other elements. I live in Antigua & Barbuda, in the Caribbean, where it is sunny year round, but in countries where there is winter and drought, you have to protect your hair from the snow and the scorching rays. It is important that you protect your hair, particularly the ends since they are the oldest and weakest part of the hair. So by simply wearing a cap or having your hair in a bun, you can reduce the amount of damage to your hair.
2. PRODUCTS: There are no magic potions out there that will make your hair grow. Products DO NOT make your hair grow but they can influence the quality of your strands so it is important to keep your hair clean. You would not go for four months without taking a shower, would you? Just as it is essential to clean your skin, so it is with your hair. When there is a lot of product build-up on your hair and scalp, it can weigh down the strands, close the cuticles and prevent moisture from entering. If your hair is not sufficiently moisturized then it will eventually become very dry, weak and brittle. The only way to see growth is to keep your strands well moisturized and healthy.
3. TOOLS & ACCESSORIES: As simple as it may seem, just brushing your hair can cause it to break. Styling tools, if used incorrectly can be traumatic to both your scalp and hair. Extra care must be taken with your hair, particularly when using styling tools and hair accessories. There is a misconception that you must pull tightly on the hair strands in order to stimulate growth. But it is quite the contrary, pulling on your hair actually makes it weaker and weak hair leads to breakage. So be gentle with your hair particularly while washing and styling it.
Remember, the health of your hair and, ultimately, hair growth is influenced from the inside (DNA, eating healthy, hormones) and outside (weather, products, hair tools).
Have fun growing your hair!