Many women enjoy changing hairstyles to keep up with the latest trends. Although short styles take little time to achieve, longer hairstyles require patience and time. While genetics plays an important role in determining the rate of hair growth, certain practices can help prevent breakage and encourage long, healthy strands of hair.
While hair grows at varying rates, most women experience a rate of hair growth around 6 inches per year. Many women notice their hair grows more rapidly during the warm summer months, while showing a slower rate of growth during the winter season.
While styling techniques can affect how quickly your hair reaches your desired length, dietary factors and overall health may affect the growth cycle of your hair. Women often subject their hair to chemical treatments that can cause dryness, leading to breakage that keeps the hair from reaching long lengths. Some medications, including birth control pills and some cancer treatments, may slow your rate of hair growth. Poor health and inadequate nutrition may also limit your ability to grow out your hair.
Help your hair grow at its fastest possible rate by eating a nutritionally balanced diet. Eat a variety of foods, including foods that contain protein. A diet rich in protein may improve hair growth. Select styles that don’t require harsh chemical treatments like permanent wave solutions and bleaches. Avoid pulling your hair into tight styles, such as braids, ponytails and buns that can over-stretch your hair and lead to breakage and hair loss. Use a detangling spray and wide-tooth comb to smooth out tangles gently.
Topical hair treatments, such as deep-conditioners, can help protect your hair from moisture loss. If your hair feels dry and brittle, performing a conditioning treatment on your hair can help reduce splitting and breaking. Gently massage your scalp once or twice each week to increase blood circulation around the roots. Eliminating sources of excess stress can help your hair grow at its optimum speed. Scalp medications, such as non-prescription minoxidil, may actually encourage new hair growth in both men and women.
If you notice a sudden thinning or slowing of your hair’s growth, check with your doctor. Your doctor may want to test for medical conditions that affect hair growth, such as hypothyroidism or nutritional deficiencies. Treating these underlying conditions can help improve the health of your hair.