Karen M. Shelton
Maximize Your Hair Growing Potential
The number one question that I receive through the AskKaren column is how to make hair grow faster. Many people write to tell me they are in a hair growing hurry because they are getting married, going to a Prom, meeting the future in-laws or fill in the blanks. They want me to advise them how to grow their hair from short to long in a matter of just weeks.
As many of you know, I am going to tell you the truth, as I know it, about hair. So the answer to "instant hair growth" is that there isn't any. There is no magic bullet. If you want to go from a short Bob to long flowing locks instantly than you have limited options. Your best best for overnight long hair is to consider hair extensions, clip on ponytails or long wigs.
Yes, there are lots of things that can maximize the potential of your hair growing cycle but it is folly to imagine that you can go to bed one night with shoulder length hair and the next day wake up with a new inch of growth.
There are some very rare exceptions, but most hair on most people is genetically programmed to grow a maximum of 6 inches a year.
There are some people like Crystal Gayle who obviously grows hair at a much faster rate than the average human soul. However, she is definitely the exception and not the rule.
Your Hair Is Dead - Let It Rest In Peace
Unfortunately many people are not aware of the fact that while hair can be extraordinarily resilient, once it has emerged from your scalp is has no facility for renewing itself. It is dead protein.
The average person has around 100,000 strands of hair on their head and the average rate of growth is a mere one-half of an inch per month. By the time the ends of your hair actually grow down to your shoulders, they are approximately two years old.
Think about it. Two years is a long time for hair to be subjected to the daily wear and tear of the environment, washing, drying, brushing, combing and any chemical processing. Just imagine what a piece of silk or fine fabric would look like after 2 years of constant handling.
Even if you take the best care of your hair possible, your hair still goes through a natural aging process which can also impact the growing cycle of your hair.
Maximizing Your Growth Cycle
The right vitamins and minerals play a major role in keeping your hair healthy. Any nutritional deficiencies can lead to thinning hair or even total baldness. It is a well known fact that an under active thyroid can result in frizzy or brittle hair while an overactive thyroid turn hair greasy and limp.
The bottom line to this thread is that your hair ultimately reflects the overall condition of your body. If your body is healthy and well nourished, your hair will be your shining glory.
If you are having any health problems or suffering from any nutritional deficiencies, your hair may stop growing or show damage.
If your body is in good health, you can maximize your genetic growth cycle through taking the proper blend of amino acids and B-vitamins.
It is also important to include B-6, biotin, inositol and folic acid in the supplemental program. It has been found that certain minerals including magnesium, sulfur, silica and zinc are also very important toward maintaining healthy hair.
Beta-carotene is also important to hair growth. This is because beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A as the body needs it, helps maintain normal growth and bone development, protective sheathing around nerve fibers, as well as promoting healthy skin, hair and nails. Beta-carotene is found in green and yellow vegetables and fruits.
Protein Is Important
Since hair is protein, a diet that is too low in protein may cause a thinning in hair or a retardation in the growth cycle. The converse is true, If you eat a protein-rich diet it will often result in improved hair growth.
Some nutritional experts suggest the dietary utilization of calves liver, brewer's yeast, wheat germ and a daily dose of two tablespoons of granulated lecithin to maximize hair growth, strength and beauty.
Other good food sources for protein include fish, eggs, beans and yogurt. Soy protein has also been found to be helpful in stimulating hair growth.
One study of the results of soy on the hair found that it not only strengthened the hair but caused it to grow. A great source of soy is tofu.
Excessive stress and some medications are conclusively known to retard hair growth. If you have a medical condition and your physician has prescribed medications it is imperative that you follow your doctor's orders regardless of the impact to your hair,
Warning: Always consult your doctor BEFORE you undertake any new type of vitamin or mineral program to make sure it does not interfere with any medical treatment you may currently be on.
However, if you are under severe stress it is helpful to reduce the stress as much as possible. Consider meditation or relaxation as a way to cut back on any major stress in your life. Your hair will love your for it.
Another secret hair helper is rest and sleep. It has been discovered that to grow faster, hair needs an adequate amount of sleep (7-9 hours are suggested).
Hair Growing Supplements
Eat right, exercise, reduce stress, rest, gets lots of sleep and your are well on your way to maximizing your hair growth potential.
You can either take a good supplement that contains the necessary vitamins and minerals or you can make up your own formula.
I have personally had some success (at least for me) with both the HairTopia and the H37 vitamins that are both designed to assist the body with the maximum hair growth building blocks.
For more details check out Jane Bullock's review of the Hairtopia Vitamins and also get the facts on what the vitamins consist of.
While eating the proper foods that contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals will help, it is a lot more difficult to guarantee that you will get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the foods you eat.
List of Supplements
In addition to making lifestyle changes, taking the following supplements every day can boost hair growth for many people:
||Vitamin B-complex - 50 mg. of the major B-vitamins (including folate, biotin and inositol)|
||Vitamin B-6 - 50 mg. of vitamin B-6|
||Vitamin C with bioflavonoids - one to two grams daily|
||Vitamin E - 400 to 800 IU daily|
||Beta-Carotene - 10,000 to 15,000 IU of beta-carotene daily|
||One recommended daily dose of magnesium, sulfur, zinc|
||Silica (horsetail) - 300 mg. daily|
||Nettle - 250 mg. three times daily|
||Flaxseed oil - one tbsp daily or one tablet|
||Beta-Carotene - 10,000 to 15,000 IU of beta-carotene daily|
Hair Growing Tips
Spencer David Kobren, Hair Boutique's Hair Loss advisor actually discovered that people have excellent hair growing results by following the Zone Diet which is low in fat. Many other hair care experts recommend the Zone Diet as very helpful for hair care concerns.
Here are some other hair growing tips:
- Eliminate or cut back on smoking, caffeine and carbonated sodas which weaken the body and block maximum hair growing potential.
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid foods that are high in sugar or fat.
- Treat your hair like a piece of fine old lace. Treat it carefully avoiding any unnecessary brushing, combing or handling.
- Avoid use of hot water, hot blow dryers or other hair care tools that may stress the hair.
- Have a weekly scalp massage to provide stimulation to the hair follicles.
- Do a series of ongoing hot oil treatments to protect the hair's shaft.
- Have regular trims to eliminate split ends and allow the hair to look and feel healthier.