Hair Growth. Is it all a myth ?

Ellie has decided that she wants to grow her hair as long as it can get. We have always kept her hair medium length all her life, not for any particular reason, but just we quite liked her hair not too long or too short.

If you have wondered about growing your hair, there are some terms you need to be familiar with. Remember them because we will keep referring back again to them.

What I am going to try to answer in this post are the following questions that Ellie has been asking me recently

  • What makes my hair grow?
  • How long will it take for my hair to grow really long ?
  • What can I do to make my hair grow longer ?

What makes my hair grow ?

Some terminology you may want to familiarise yourself with

ALL hair grows in the same way and your body has a LOT of hair.

Think beyond what is on your scalp. You are covered in hair from your scalp, to your arms, legs, etc.. pretty much everywhere except your lips, bottom of your feet and your palms. You see, hair is far more than just what is on your scalp.

To understand hair growth, you have to go back to the start and understand where the magic begins.

It begins under the skin, at a place called The Hair Root.

  • Hair roots are the living parts of your hair . As your hair starts to grow,  it rises up from the root and pushes out through the follicle. Eventually it comes out of the skin where it can be seen (hair shaft).
  • By the time you can see your hair, the cells within that strand of hair is no longer alive. That's why it doesn't hurt when you get your hair cut!
  • Your hair grows in cycles -  The Anagen (active growth) phase,  The Catagen (resting) phase where hair stops growing, which lasts four to six weeks, and the Telogen phase when your hair falls out . A new  hair then begins to grow from the same follicle and the cycle repeats itself.
  •  At any particular time, about 85% of your hair is in the Anagen  phase, while the remaining 15% are in the Catagen and Telogen  Phase

 How long will it take my hair to grow really long ?

  • This is a mixture of lifestyle and DNA. You hair has a natural maximum hair length. For some, it is their shoulder, for others it is the waist and for Rapunzel, it was several feet.
  • The maximum rate at which your hair grows cannot be sped up. It is already hardwired by nature. However, if you continue reading, there are  things you can do to ensure your hair is growing to its best ability.

What can I do to make my hair grow longer ?

In an ideal world, what you would like is to extend the Anagen (active growth) phase, which would allow hair to grow faster. Sadly, at the moment, there is no proven scientific remedy to extend this phase and there there is no magic pill you can take to double the rate at which your hair grows.

However, keeping your hair healthy while it’s in the Anagen phase can extend the phase’s length, offering each strand more time to grow before it’s time to fall out. The healthier your hair and body are, the stronger your hair will be, meaning you’ll shed less hair and give it more time to grow. 

You now already know that there is no quick solution to growing your hair faster—the process takes time—but there are some things you can do to make sure your hair follicles are as healthy as can be, which is helpful in the growth phase.

Keep your hair and scalp clean

The main part of taking good care of your hair is keeping it clean and conditioned.

Develop a healthy hair routine

  • Some people might wash their hair every day, while others might only wash their hair once or twice a week. How often you need to wash your hair depends upon your particular hair and what you've been doing.
  • If you exercise or go swimming often, you'll need to wash your hair more frequently because of the sweat or chlorine. When you wash your hair, use a gentle shampoo and lukewarm water.
  • Gently massage your hair with your fingertips to make sure you get all of your hair clean. You might also want to use a  Nourishing conditioner.
  •  If your hair already has lots of natural oils, you might not need the conditioner.
  • Gently dry your hair with an old t-shirt or Hair towel.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner to help define and moisturise.
  • Always be gentle with your hair. Avoid yanking your hair when you're trying to untangle it.

Eat plenty of protein.

A healthy diet is pivotal to long, healthy hair—because healthy strands grow from a healthy body. Your strands are mainly made of protein, like your nails, so eating protein rich foods can be  a key hair-growth booster.

Include Iron in your diet

Include iron-rich foods in your diet such as  dried apricots, and dark, leafy greens like spinach etc. You can also take an iron supplement.

Regular Trims

If your hair is breaking at the ends due to split ends, it simply won’t reach its maximum length. Do not shy away from a regular trim to rid your hair of dead and broken ends.

Regular Deep Conditioning 

Treat your hair to a deep conditioning mask once to twice a week to infuse much needed hydration, promote elasticity, retain moisture, prevent breakage and protect your hair to keep your hair healthy during the Anagen Phase.

Avoid High Heat

It’s important to limit blow drying, flat ironing and curling because when you add unnecessary heat, you are compromising the integrity of your hair. If you do use heat, set it on a low heat and low power setting. Do not overheat the section of hair that you’re working with. You know you have over done it, if it is too hot to touch. 

And remember, if you eat well, sleep well and reduce stress, you will not only have great hair but your health will improve.

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