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Why Isn’t My Hair Growing?

Whether you’re trying to grow out a bad haircut or keeping an eye out for potential hair loss, it can be annoying when it feels like your hair hasn’t grown as fast as you would have hoped.

On average, most people’s hair will grow around 1cm every month [1]–but that doesn’t mean that everyone will experience long, luscious locks after a year of growing out their hair.

If you’re panicking over your lack of hair growth or struggling to get your hair to grow back after balding or hair thinning, this article will take you through some of the most common reasons why your hair isn’t growing.

How the hair cycle affects growth

Everyone will experience fluctuation in their hair growth at certain points. This is no reflection of how healthy your hair is, and it doesn’t mean you have male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss.

It’s completely natural for your hair to go through cycles of growth—and shedding—without it being something that you should spend your time worrying about.

This is because of the hair growth cycle, a process that everyone’s hair goes through:

  1. Anagen: This phase is one that lasts for between 2 to 8 years, where hair is actively growing. It’s thought that 90% of hairs [2] are in this phase at any given time.
  2. Catagen: This is the phase that most people struggling with hair growth will notice; the phase where hair is not actively growing. During this stage of the cycle, which lasts between 4 to 6 weeks, your hair will not be falling out.
  3. Telogen: The final stage of the cycle is known as the telogen (or resting) phase when your hair actually will start to fall out.

hair growth cycle

For most people with healthy hair, up to 90% of your hair is in the anagen stage at any one time. But if your hair seems to stop growing, a higher-than-usual proportion of your hair may be in the resting or shedding phase.

Reasons why your hair isn’t growing

There are many reasons that could explain why your hair won’t grow.

Some of these reasons may involve a quicker fix than others, but all the reasons we mention below can be treated once you’ve figured out the underlying cause.

Age

Your age can play an important role in the look and feel of your hair, especially as you start to get older.

For example, women will often start to experience more hair loss after the menopause as a result of their hormones changing. Hormone replacement therapy can reduce hair loss.

On the other hand, most men will start to notice their hair beginning to thin—85% of men will have significantly thinner hair by the time they turn 50 [3].

Genetics

If members of your family have experienced hair loss, the chance of you experiencing the same is much greater. This is known as hereditary hair loss.

Hair loss genes aren’t just passed down from your mother’s side of the family; you can just as easily get it from your father’s side.

Your genes influence your sensitivity to hormones that impact hair growth, such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). So your genes play a crucial role in whether you will go bald at some point in your life.

Your hair is breaking off

You may feel like your hair is taking a long time to grow. But sometimes it’s just an illusion that your hair isn’t growing. If your hair is dry or brittle due to too much heat styling, it can look like your hair isn’t growing when, in fact, the damaged ends are breaking off.

Getting a haircut removes these damaged ends, giving you thicker, healthier-looking hair. While a haircut obviously won’t make your hair look longer, getting a regular chop will keep it looking healthy and shiny as it grows.

You’ve been through a stressful event

Not only can stressful events be damaging to our mental health, but they can also inhibit hair growth [4]. Traumatic events like childbirth, the loss of a loved one, workplace stresses, or surgery can all cause a type of anxiety-related hair loss known as telogen effluvium.

Telogen effluvium is usually temporary. If you address the underlying cause, your hair should start to regrow as normal.

You have alopecia areata

If your hair is not growing in specific areas of your scalp, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing alopecia areata. This is a common type of hair loss that affects 1 in every 170 adults in the UK [5].

Alopecia areata is characterised by round bald patches on the scalp. Sometimes, hair regrows on its own. But medical intervention is sometimes needed, such as steroid treatment and/or Minoxidil.

What to do if your hair is not growing

If you’re concerned about your hair not growing, there are a few different things you can do. Some home remedies — such as rosemary oil and scalp massages — have been shown to stimulate growth [6-7].

However, if you’re serious about getting your hair to start growing back again, topical and over-the-counter solutions may be more appropriate for your situation.

DHT blockers such as Finasteride and Dutasteride are proven to help men experiencing male pattern baldness. Minoxidil, meanwhile, can help treat a range of hair loss conditions, so it can be used by people who are experiencing hair loss or struggling to keep their hair growing naturally.

However, for some people who discover that their lack of hair growth is down to a more severe condition where normal solutions and treatments aren’t going to work, they can also consider choosing to get a hair transplant.

Hair transplants are a safe and effective way to permanently restore your hair. To find out more, get in touch with a friendly member of our team today. Book your free consultation with the Wimpole Clinic.

Why Isn’t My Hair Growing?, Wimpole Clinic

Sources:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546248/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338843/
[3] https://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/introduction.html
[4] https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-stress-causes-hair-loss
[5] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/bjd.20628
[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4740347/
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