Healthy hair tips: Dealing with slow hair growth

Healthy hair tips: Dealing with slow hair growth

09 Mar 2022

Bad hair days—we’ve all had them at some point in our lives. Being unable to tame unwieldy hair can be bad enough to sour our mood and make us feel self-conscious for the rest of the day.

For some individuals, bad hair days are passing misfortunes. However, for others, bad hair days may be more than just a matter of missteps in hairstyling and could signal issues relating to hair and scalp health. Most commonly, adults can one day discover that the problem of thinning hair or hair loss is what is causing their hair woes. They may also be dealing with slow hair growth, a related issue that emphasizes the appearance of unhealthy hair.

Both men and women are affected by this problem and have searched for ways to slow hair loss. Although this issue is mostly associated with the inevitable process of ageing, slow hair growth or hair loss can become a concern for anyone at any age. More so, there is not one singular cause for slow hair growth or hair loss; it can be attributed to genetics, environmental stressors, one’s current lifestyle or a mix of these factors and more.

With hair being one of the ways in which we express ourselves, project confidence, and exude an overall state of healthiness, it’s natural for people dealing with slow hair growth to want to find and test ways to slow hair loss. Many individuals, perhaps yourself, may have attempted to address this issue with a myriad of home and salon-based services and a slew of products, but found that few or none have provided adequate changes. The frustration from this can be palpable, which is why we’re here to help.

As you read on to better understand the issue of slow hair growth, it’s best to approach it as a legitimate health concern, rather than an aesthetic or beauty-related issue. This article hopes to provide the best solution among the many ways to slow hair loss that can finally work for you, offering both relief from your worries as well as lasting, health-anchored results.

Dealing with slow hair growth

Understanding slow hair growth and hair loss

All of the hair in our body is made from a protein called keratin. The strands of our hair are connected to our skin or scalp through hair follicles. Our hair follicles supply oxygen and nutrients to the roots and also lubricate our hair with a natural oil called sebum. On our scalps, there are approximately 100,000 hair follicles and as time passes, scalp follicles produce hair that grows, falls out, and regrows (2).  

If you suffer from slow hair growth, you may have made it your goal to lose as little hair as possible. You might have done this by shampooing less frequently or skipping hair brushing and other means of styling, but in truth, our scalp naturally sheds 50 to 100 strands of hair on a daily basis regardless of what you do or don’t do to your hair (7).

Hair loss in itself is not a cause for panic. It is a completely normal biological process and your scalp’s way of replacing old, brittle strands with fresher, healthier hair. Hair loss becomes a problem when it turns into slow hair growth; when the scalp does not replace the hair it sheds quickly enough, you may notice that your hair has become either or both fragile and sparse, and perhaps more susceptible to breakage (7). If you find that your hair has reached this point, it’s important that you take more care to understand the potential causes behind it.

Potential causes of slow hair growth or hair loss

There are many things that could cause slow hair growth or hair loss. To name a few things, it may be a side effect of medication or other treatments including chemical treatments such as straightening, perming, or dyeing, illness, hereditary factors, or chronic stress (7). Even wearing certain hairstyles (such as tight ponytails or braids) too often may cause physical stress to the scalp or hair follicle, speeding up the process of hair fall and making it more difficult for fresh hair to grow (8).

Changes in weather may also be a culprit. Overexposure to UV rays during sunnier days in the summer can cause hair to become dry and brittle, and at the same time, the hydrogen bonds in our hair are easily broken by water, so high humidity during summers can contribute to increased hair loss. Regardless of season, slow hair growth can be a problem for those who spend a lot of time outdoors where they’re constantly exposed to the sun (2).

Groups affected by slow hair growth

It’s inaccurate to think that slow hair growth or hair loss affects only, or mostly, men. Though the problem may be more noticeable in men, it is estimated that more than 50% of women experience notable hair loss as well. The most significant cause of hair loss in women is female-pattern hair loss (FPHL), and this condition similarly causes hairless spots or noticeable thin hair in women the same way genetic male-pattern baldness can in men (1).

Solutions for slow hair growth

Now that we’ve covered the basics of slow hair growth and hair loss, we can now move on to the next step: ways to slow hair loss that you can try today. Below, we list down some of these methods.

Gentle washing is key

Slow hair growth can be combated in the shower. You may not realise it but incorrect hair washing practices can contribute to slow hair growth or hair loss, as hair is especially sensitive to breakage when wet (3). With this in mind, dermatologists recommend the following steps: use a gentle shampoo, apply a moisturizing conditioner after shampooing, use a leave-in conditioner after applying your moisturizing conditioner, and wrap your hair in a microfiber towel after you shower. As you’re rinsing or soaking your hair, use your fingertips to massage your scalp to clean hair of excessive oils and perspiration for a gentle wash (3).

Take long breaks between or completely stop chemical treatments

If you can help it, withhold from colouring, perming, straightening, or other chemical processes. These treatments stress hair and weaken strands, most especially if they’re done by untrained individuals or at home without proper post-treatment products to follow up the process. If you find yourself needing to get any of the aforementioned done to your hair, it’s best to leave it to the care of the experts at salons as they’ll know what products to use for your scalp (3).

Refrain from heat styling

Like chemical treatments, heat styling compromises hair and is a common cause for slow hair growth and hair loss. Avoid regular use of hair dryers, curling wands, flat irons, and hot combs as one of the ways to slow hair loss. You might want to turn to heat styling only for special occasions rather than make it an everyday practise (3).

Live a healthy lifestyle

Yes, just like most problems in life, slow hair growth and hair loss can be dealt by making improvements to your lifestyle. Eating healthy and getting nutrients can help combat hair loss while avoiding excessive alcohol intake and smoking that causes inflammation, can also protect you from the problems of slow hair growth and hair loss.

Dealing with slow hair growth

Treating slow hair growth with supplementation

By treating slow hair growth and hair loss as health conditions, it makes sense to explore the benefits of mineral and vitamin supplementation to address these concerns. Aside from the practical ways to slow hair loss down mentioned above, you can also try our vitamin packs to help promote hair health. Hair-focused supplements are available through Vitable Australia’s vitamin subscription, the best of which we list here.

Cranberry

Vitable’s cranberry supplement formula contains both Vitamin C and silica that, together, repair connective tissues in hair. Additionally, cranberry supplements also support the body’s collagen production, a process essential in the growth of healthy hair (4).

Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it makes up much of healthy hair. Though it’s mostly associated with maintaining skin’s suppleness, it also contributes to solving the problem of slow hair growth and reducing hair loss (5).

Biotin

Remember that hair is made up of the protein keratin, so with this in mind, biotin is definitely something you’d want in your vitamin packs as it is closely linked to the production of keratin. There are studies that suggest the use of biotin supplementation to improve hair health and growth, as well as hair thickness and strength (6).

In the end, one of the best ways to combat slow hair growth and hair loss is to treat it as a health issue that is best addressed by medically-backed solutions, such as proper supplementation. Vitable Australia’s vitamin subscription makes sure that anyone in Australia can get their personalised vitamin packs delivered to their doorstep to make caring for your health even more convenient and achievable. Reach your hair health and other health goals with the vitamins and minerals you need from Vitable!

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

1. Cleveland Clinic. “Hair loss in women”. Cleveland Clinic.Published (n.d.) on https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16921-hair-loss-in-women. Accessed January 14, 2021.

2. Better Health Channel. “Patterned Hair Loss”. Better Health Channel. Published (n.d.) on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/patterned-hair-loss#how-hair-grows. Accessed January 14, 2021.

3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. “HAIR LOSS: TIPS FOR MANAGING”. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Published (n.d.) on https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/treatment/tips. Accessed January 14, 2021.

4. Vitable.”Cranberry”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/cranberry. Accessed January 14, 2021.

5. Vitable. “Collagen”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/collagen. Accessed January 14, 2021.

6. Vitable. “Biotin”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/biotin. Accessed January 14, 2021.

7. National Health Services UK. “Hair loss.” Published (n.d.) on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hair-loss/. Accessed January 17, 2022.

8. Family Doctor. “Hair Loss.” Published (n.d.) on https://familydoctor.org/condition/hair-loss/. Accessed January 17, 2022