Hair defines a person’s appearance, but rarely are we happy with what genetics gives us. We can cut, color and perm our way to a new look, but there is nothing that makes hair grow faster. According to Dr. Howard P. Baden of the American Academy of Dermatology, hair grows an average of six inches per year. At any given time, 90 percent of hair is in an active growing phase. Despite there being no secrets for faster hair growth, you can encourage healthy new hair to grow.
Hair is an accurate indicator of overall health, so it only makes sense that if you take care of your body from the inside out, your hair will reflect it. Though there are no magic hair-growth diets, including good-for-you foods on your menu will improve the condition of new hair growth and give hair a healthier-looking appearance. Colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as protein, provide essential vitamins and minerals for optimal hair growth. Likewise, eliminating harmful foods from your diet such as caffeine, alcohol and simple sugars, and eating meat sparingly, will improve hair’s condition. Also important is drinking 10 cups of water a day, getting a full eight hours of sleep each night and exercising daily. Too much stress actually slows down new hair growth, so be sure to find a stress-busting activity you enjoy such as yoga, gardening or reading.
Though it’s possible to get all the nutrients you need for optimal hair growth from a well-rounded diet, not everyone has perfect eating habits. Dr. Jeffrey Benabio, who maintains The Dermatology Blog, advocates taking 1,500 micrograms of a supplement called biotin, which is an essential water-soluble B vitamin. Benabio also suggests a supplemental amino acid called carnitine. Higher concentrations of carnitine are in red meat, pork, poultry and dairy products. Karen Marie Shelton of HairBoutique.com also recommends making vitamins C and E, as well as beta carotene and flaxseed oil, as part of your supplement regimen.
Good nutrition, supplements and reducing stress might promote new hair growth, but they do nothing for the hair already on your head. Though hair is essentially dead, proper maintenance will give it a healthier appearance. Karen Marie Shelton suggests treating your hair like a piece of “fine old lace.” Avoid stressing hair by over-styling with hair dryers, hot irons and crimpers. Similarly, avoid brushing and handling more than necessary, and trim the ends on a regular basis. Finally, protect the shaft with periodic hot oil treatments. And if you can’t wait for your hair to grow, fake it. Wigs, weaves and extensions make going from short to long quick and simple.
- my long hair image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from Fotolia.com