Have you ever wondered how to give your hair growth a helping hand or if there’s anything you can do or take to encourage thicker, longer hair? We have got all the answers to all the questions you might have, including the science behind a healthy mane, from Anabel Kingsley, who is a Trichologist at London’s Philip Kingsley – which is one of the city’s top hair salons.
1 How many inches does hair on average grow per year?
“On average, hair grows half an inch a month – so in a year it generally grows 6 inches.”
2 What are the different stages of hair growth?
“There are 3 stages of the hair growth cycle. Anagen (the growth phase), Catagen (an intermediary phase), and Telogen (the shedding/resting phase)”
3 What things might stunt hair growth?
“Hair is incredibly sensitive to general health, wellbeing and diet. Being a non-essential tissue, it is often the first part of the body to be withheld from and the last to benefit. The most common causes of sub-optimal growth and hair loss we see are:
· Lack of dietary protein
· Iron and ferritin (stored iron) deficiency
· Rapid weight loss/crash dieting
· A high fever or illness
· Surgery or general anesthesia
· Shock/severe stress
· Hormonal imbalances or changes. I.e. hypo and hyperthyroid, menopause, pregnancy and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
It is important to note that, due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, hair shedding usually occurs 6-12 weeks after the event that caused it.”
4 How is the scalp involved in healthy hair growth?
“Being the environment from which hair is produced, the condition of the scalp is vital to the integrity and growth of hair. A healthy scalp environment helps to support optimal hair growth, while flaking of the scalp is known to cause and/or worsen hair fall in certain individuals.”
5 What ingredients in products should we look out for for healthy hair growth?
“Ingredients that can help to optimize the scalp environment to encourage and support healthy hair growth are:
· Menthol: a stimulant
· Piroctone Olamine: an antimicrobial that helps to clear flaking and itching
· Methyl nicotinate: a vasodilator that can also help to aid in the effectiveness of other ingredients
· A combination of Zinc Sulphate, Vitamin B6 and Azelaic Acid: Combined in topical drops they can help to block the conversion of testosterone to the more damaging dihydrotestosterone. We make on called Tricho 7 stimulating Scalp Drops – these also contain piroctone olamine and methyl nicotinate
· Betaine salicylate or salicylic acid: exfoliants that can be formulated into scalp masks to gently remove dead-skin cells
“It is important to note that the effectiveness of a product it is not just reliant on the ingredients contained. It is heavily dependent on the concentrations of the ingredients, the quality of them and how they are formulated into the product. It also depends on how and how often the product is applied. For instance, many ingredients need to be left on the scalp for an extended period of time and/or be used daily, in order to be effective.”
6 Does taking supplements help? And if so why?
“The hair’s nutritional requirements are unique. Being the second fastest growing tissue the body produces, its energy needs are great. However, hair is also non-essential tissue. This means that it gets last dibs on the nutrients you intake and is the first to be withheld from; even small deficiencies that might not affect other parts of the body, or be flagged in blood tests, can affect its growth. Due to the high demands of the hair, it can be difficult to get sufficient nutrients for optimal hair growth through diet alone – supplements can therefore be very beneficial as they provide extra internal support.
“A drug-store multi-vitamin can help, but it is better to choose one that has been formulated specifically for the hair’s needs. In order to have maximum benefit, supplements should be taken alongside a healthy diet.”
7 Which foods aid hair growth?
“A varied and balanced diet containing all food groups will help support hair growth. However, some of the most important of these are:
· Complete Proteins (i.e. ones containing all essential amino acids):
Why? Hair is made of protein, perhaps making this the most essential nutrient for hair growth. At our Clinics in London and New York we have found that eating at least a 120g portion of a first class protein (one that contains all essential amino acids) at breakfast and lunch is ideal. Examples are fish, eggs, lean meat, poultry and low-fat cottage cheese. For vegetarians/vegans, tofu, quinoa and nuts are good options.
· Iron –rich foods, such as red meat
Why? Ferritin (a stored iron) is needed by the body to produce hair cell protein. Ferritin deficiency commonly causes increased hair fall and a shortening of the anagen (growth phase) of the hair growth cycle. This means hair may not be able to grow as long as it is capable of. If you eat red meat, try to do so two times a week. If you do not eat red meat, you should consider taking a nutritional supplement containing iron. Although dark, leafy greens such as spinach contain iron, it is ‘non-haem iron’ – and this is harder for the body to break down and absorb.
· Complex Carbohydrates, such as whole grains
Why? Complex carbohydrates provide you with slow-release energy. Being the second fastest growing cells the body produces, hair cells need a consistent energy supply.”
8 The topical products you recommend for hair growth?
“If you are experiencing increased hair fall and/or gradual reduced volume (i.e. hairs are slowly growing back finer and shorter), daily application of stimulating anti-androgenic topical drops can be very helpful. These should be applied daily to be effective – and preferably to a clean scalp. We make topical scalp drops called Tricho 7. They took us over 7 years to formulate and are based on over 50 years of our trichological experience working with hair and scalp on a daily basis. Tricho 7 contains a mixture of Zinc Sulphate, Vitamin B6 and Azelaic Acid – which together help to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to the more damaging dihydrotestosterone. They also contain effective stimulants and an anti-microbial active to create the optimal environment for healthy hair growth.
“Thickening, strengthening protein sprays can also be helpful such as PK Tricho Pro Volumizing Protein Spray. They immediately add volume to the hair, giving an instant boost in confidence – something that is very important for those experiencing hair fall or reduced volume. They also strengthen the hair over time, which helps to reduce hair fall as the result of breakage. While breakage is not true loss from the follicle it can thin the appearance of the mid-lengths and ends.
“However, it is important to note that any treatment for hair loss should be holistic. Diet, lifestyle and health factors must be looked into and addressed in order for treatment to be most effective.”