Most people assume that once their hair is gone, it's gone. But in reality, you can do a number of things to increase hair growth and restore a healthy, vibrant, and young look.
Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle
Human hair is made up of two core parts: the hair follicle and the hair shaft. The follicle serves as the anchor that connects the hair to the scalp. It's made up of a bulb and papilla, both of which are located beneath the scalp. The bulb contains the hair's active cells, while the papilla is responsible for providing the blood supply to encourage growth.
The hair shaft is the part that's visible to the naked eye. Made up of Keratin and a protective layer (known as the cuticle), it takes several years for hair to grow out. The average scalp has roughly 100,000 hair follicles, which is why it's totally normal to lose around 100 hairs a day.
Understanding how these hairs are replaced is important so you can regrow hair safely and effectively.
There are three main stages of hair growth - which is collectively referred to as a cycle. They are as follows:
The Anagen Phase. This is the growth period. During this phase, cells divide rapidly and create new hair growth. This stage typically lasts anywhere from two to seven years. During this time, hair can grow to a maximum of 18 to 30 inches. (The length depends on factors like genetics, hair care, age, health, etc.)
The Catagen Phase. This second phase is a transitional period. It typically lasts only two or three weeks on average. During this period, hair growth stops and the hair becomes detached from the blood supply.
The Telogen Phase. The third stage is the Telogen phase. Also known as the resting period, this is where the roots rest and become replenished. (This phase usually lasts somewhere around 90 days.)
Once a hair completes the Telogen phase, it reenters the anagen phase, and the cycle is repeated again. At any given time, it's estimated that 80 to 90 percent of your hair will be in the Anagen phase.
So what causes hair loss?
The simplest answer is that hair loss occurs when you lose, on average, more hairs per day than you grow. Over time, this deficiency leads to thinning and, ultimately, balding. This imbalance in the hair growth cycle can be caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, excessive DHT, medication, and age.
The good news is that, in many instances, hair can be regrown. The key is to approach hair loss treatments with caution. Not all products and treatments are safe and legitimate. It's up to you to research which options are best for you.
4 Tips for Regrowing Hair
If you're serious about regrowing hair, you'll want to research as many options as possible and gather information from a variety of sources. Having said that, here are a few common tips that you'll encounter in your research:
1. Improve Your Diet and Nutrition
Did you know that you can dramatically improve your chances of regrowing hair by improving your diet to include the proper balance of vitamins and nutrients? Options include eggs, beans, nuts, sweet potatoes, avocados, berries, fatty fish, and spinach.
2. Rethink Your Hair Care Regimen
Be smart about how you take care of your hair. You should wash your hair two to three times per week, use natural hair care products (free of chemicals and parabens), and practice gentle drying and brushing. When styling your hair, avoid tight styles that pull on your scalp.
3. Try Laser Therapy
Low level laser therapy, or LLLT, is one of the safest and most effective ways to regrow hair. While it can take several months to see noticeable results, consistent use of an LLLT cap can stimulate dormant follicles to regrow hair and fill in areas that are thinning.
4. Use One of These Medications
There are two approved medications for treating hair loss caused by heredity: Minoxidil (Rogaine), which is available without a prescription, and Finasteride (Propecia), which requires a prescription from your doctor.
Rediscover Your Youth
Hair loss is a common and natural part of life. Millions of men and women deal with it on a regular basis. And while some people embrace it, many suffer from a lack of confidence.
If you find that hair loss is having a psychological impact on your social life, romantic life, and/or career, it may be time to do something about it. Continue researching your options and initiate a treatment plan that works for you.