Long, healthy hair is a sign of beauty, vitality, and youth. Whether you’re anxious to get movie-star-caliber locks, combating problems with hair growth, or simply trying to put a catastrophic haircut behind you, there are a variety of natural and medicinal strategies you can use. The information below outlines steps you can take today to help your hair grow faster.
Follow a Healthy Hair Diet
Eat a balanced amount of protein every day. Protein is essential for healthy hair growth. Just make sure you eat the right amount.
- Hair is largely composed of keratin, a protein made up of amino acids. To grow new hair, your body must produce more amino acids, which it can only do from consuming protein.
- Healthy protein sources include lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and soy products. Ensuring you have enough protein in your daily diet, the protein will literally give your body the building blocks for new hair growth.
Be sure to eat adequate amounts of iron and zinc. Iron and zinc deficiencies can lead to poor hair health or even hair loss in addition to conditions such as anemia.
- Iron is essential for the transmission of oxygen to your cells (including your hair follicles) and helps your body use protein to build strong hair. Animal sources, such as lean meats, poultry, and eggs are most readily absorbed by your body, but good vegetarian sources include beans, lentils, tofu, and soybeans.
- Zinc helps your body grow and repair tissue, such as your hair, and keeps the oil glands around your hair follicles working as they should. Get your zinc from peanut butter, lean meat, oysters and crab, poultry, pumpkin seeds, or chickpeas.
- If you have a zinc or iron deficiency, you may need supplements that should only be taken under the direction of a health professional. Many people can achieve healthy levels of iron and zinc by eating the above-mentioned foods or by consuming fortified grain products, such as cereal, bread, and pasta.
Don’t cut fat out of your diet. Healthy fats are indispensable to hair growth. Without fat in your diet, your body cannot maintain healthy hair.
- Fat is also very important to the body because it helps it assimilate vitamins that are necessary for hair growth, like Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
- Be sure to limit your fat into to a healthy level and focus on unsaturated fats and fatty acids such as Omega 3.
Make sure you meet your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Having a Vitamin C deficiency can cause dry, dull, and weak hair that is prone to breakage.
- Your body uses Vitamin C to build collagen, a fiber essential to the production of new hair cells. Without Vitamin C, your body will also have a hard time absorbing iron, so it’s doubly important to make sure you get your daily dose, particularly in combination with iron-rich foods.
- Good sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, pineapples, strawberries, guava, broccoli, kale, and peppers.
Take B vitamins to avoid hair loss. Anecdotally, B vitamin supplements and topical applications have gained a significant following among those trying to speed up hair growth.
- Though there is little scientific evidence that increased consumption of B Vitamins such as riboflavin and biotin actually leads to healthier hair, deficiencies of these vitamins can lead to hair loss or thinning. Consult with your physician before taking any supplements since hair loss could be a result of something other than a Vitamin B deficiency.
- Good sources of B vitamins include seafood, spinach, oatmeal and other whole grains, soybean products, lean dairy, lean meats, bananas, lentils, potatoes (with the skin), peas, beets, broccoli, and artichokes.
Have realistic expectations about your dietary changes. What you eat will not affect the hair that has already grown, but it will affect new growth. Dietary effects on hair may take up to 6 months to be visible even though changing your diet may begin affecting the growth of hair in a much shorter time period.
Promote Growth by Minimizing Stress
Maintain good general health and avoid stress. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep to reduce general physical stress levels. Intense physical or emotional stress can cause hair growth to slow or shut down completely. In severe cases, stress can cause hair loss.
- Extended fatigue, dietary deficiencies, and sleep deprivation can trigger your body to go into a survival mode where it exclusively devotes its energy to maintaining essential bodily functions and organ repair, leaving your hair malnourished and unprotected from damage and loss.
- When your body has adequate stores of nutrients required for healthy hair and does not need to devote energy and nutrients to simply keeping you awake, it can utilize those nutrients to build and protect your hair. The better your nutrition and general health, the more likely your body will be able to construct healthy hair quickly.
Identify specific physical stressors. Certain physical stressors, such as excessive dietary supplementation or overuse of certain over-the-counter medications, physical trauma, and hyperactivity can stress the body to the point of shutting down hair production and growth.
- If you are experiencing one of these factors, address the physical condition to reduce strain on your body before focusing on promoting swift hair growth. Slow or unhealthy hair growth or hair loss may be signs that your body needs to heal itself in another area before devoting nutrients and energy to quickly constructing hair.
- In many cases, hair growth will return to previous rates after recovery or following the removal of the physical stressor. For instance, someone suffering from the physical trauma of a car accident may notice slow hair growth for several months, but once the wounds have healed (and emotional stress is also addressed), hair growth should return to normal.
Learn how to effectively manage emotional stress. Emotionally stressful events, such as the loss of a loved one, a change in employment, feeling a lack of security, or worrying about not having a safe place to live, can all cause slowed or halted hair growth until the body is able to adjust. Removing emotional and psychological stressors can help give your body the environment it needs to produce healthy and rapid hair growth.
- Be patient. It may take several months to see visible slowing of hair growth or even hair loss because of extreme or chronic stress, but that doesn’t mean that stress levels should be ignored. It generally takes many months to repair the damage that stress inflicts on your hair so the sooner you start reducing your stress levels and learning how to relax on a daily basis, the better chance you’ll have of promoting faster hair growth.