Hair growth is a complex physiological process. So, speeding up this process is too.
Average hair growth rate is 12-13mm per month or up to 15cm per year. To increase this number, you must not only eat well but also maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The key material for hair growth is keratin, a special type of protein that is distinguished by its mechanical strength and insolubility in water.
Also, to increase hair growth, various nutrients are needed: omega-3, zinc, iron, vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamins C and D.
Read on to find out which hair growth and thickening treatments work.
How to increase hair growth?
To understand how to increase hair growth you have to understand how it really grows.
There are three phases of hair growth: anagen (active growth stage, lasts 2 to 8 years), catagen (transition stage, lasts 4 to 6 weeks) and telogen (wilting stage, lasts 2 to 3 months)
About 90-95% of the hair on the head is in the anagen or active growth phase, the remaining 5-10% is in the wilting phase.
A healthy person loses up to 100-150 hairs a day, after which the hair follicle returns to the growth phase or dies. When the rate of regeneration or growth of these hair is less than that which is lost is when baldness appears.
The regeneration capacity of a follicle is influenced by hormones, nutrients as well as by general health.
Therefore, carrying out a balanced diet and providing the correct foods, as well as avoiding stress are fundamental points to increase hair growth.
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Nutrients and foods of importance for hair growth
When talking about hair growth, it is very important to emphasize nutrition and eliminate nutrient deficiencies that interfere with growth. This is even more important than trying to speed up the process by taking supplements or using expensive products.
Here are some examples of nutrients and foods important for hair growth.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a special type of fat that the body uses to fight micro-inflammation, which can affect hair health.
A study in 120 women showed that after six months of taking omega-3, omega-6, and antioxidants, there was a significant improvement in hair quality¹. In particular, the daily amount of hair loss decreased, its diameter (or thickening) increased.
The main source of omega-3s in the diet are blue sea fish, and they are also found (in lesser amounts) in some plant foods and products.
Read more: Benefits of Omega-3 How much is in food?
Zinc is the second most abundant mineral in the human body. It is required for hundreds of different metabolic processes, including the synthesis of hormones and the production of collagen.
Zinc deficiency also impairs hair growth.
A study of 30 healthy people and 312 people with alopecia showed that hair loss is closely related to zinc levels in the blood. (2)
However, it is important to know that this does not mean that zinc supplementation can increase hair growth in healthy people. Rather, the lack of these foods can cause you to lose more.
Read more: Foods with zinc – What are they?
3. Vitamin B7 (biotin)
Vitamin B7 is a water soluble vitamin that is involved in hair growth. In particular, biotin is a source of sulfur, which is an important mineral for collagen, one of the fundamental proteins in hair.
Despite the fact that most hair growth enhancement products contain biotin, there is still no clear evidence of their effectiveness in speeding up this process.
4. Vitamin C
Lack of vitamin C can cause hair loss. This is because it is one of the essential nutrients to synthesize collagen.
Some examples of foods rich in vitamin C are the well-known citrus fruits, although peppers, squash and most berries such as blueberries and strawberries are also high in content.
Make sure to add this vitamin to improve hair health.
Natural products to improve hair growth
Although today there are no products or medications that directly accelerate hair growth. Some can reduce the percentage of their loss, strengthen and increase the density of growth.
These products should be applied in small amounts and on the ends of the hair, avoiding direct application to the scalp.
Also, some studies suggest that caffeine could improve hair growth processes. When applied to hair, caffeine increases the anagen growth phase and stimulates the proliferation of keratinocytes³.
In that research, the effectiveness for women was significantly higher than for men.
How can I increase the shine and color of my hair?
A healthy hair follicle produces a special oil that acts as a natural antiseptic and protective agent. In fact, it smooths the outer surface of the hair (this layer is called the “cuticle”), helping to retain moisture and maintain elasticity.
In turn, the smoother the surface of the cuticle, the more light is reflected from the hair and the brighter its shine, in addition, the hair looks thicker.
The spaced use of special oils helps to avoid excessive dryness of the hair, contributing to its better growth.
In addition, to increase the shine and color of the hair, you should avoid washing it frequently (every 2-3 days is fine) and make sure that essential foods and nutrients are not lacking in your diet.
Strictly speaking, increasing the rate of hair growth is practically impossible.
However, the use of even some products and providing essential nutrients can improve the quality of the hair.
Replenishing the deficiency of a number of nutrients can help increase metabolic processes in the hair, indirectly affecting growth.