How to Nurture Great Hair Growth
April 23, 2021
Hello to all you Absoluters out there! I have had so many emails from you asking me what you can use alongside Absolute Collagen to help your hair, and also asking me what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to hair growth. So with that in mind, this blog is all about how to give your hair the best growing conditions possible!
How Does Hair Grow?
The hair growth cycle consists of 4 distinct phases:
Anagen – this is the growing phase of the hair and around 85% of our hair should be in this phase at any one time. Anagen lasts for between 2 – 7 years and you inherit the length of this phase from DNA. Hair grows between ½ cm and 1 cm per month so you can grow up to 12cm in a year with a total growth over 7 years of 84cm - almost 3 feet!
Catagen – this is a small transitional phase that hair moves into, once it reaches the end of its Anagen phase. It only lasts for 10 days before the hair enters the next stage.
Telogen – this is the resting phase of the growth cycle. The hair has stopped growing in this phase and takes between 2 – 3 months to move up the hair shaft to enter the next phase.
Exogen – the hair is now naturally shed, with a new hair waiting to pop out and start to enter the Anagen phase to grow for another 2 – 7 years, and so the cycle continues. We shed anywhere between 50 – 150 hairs daily. Each hair follicle is independent and passes through the growth cycle at different times, which is why the average shedding is between 50 – 150 hairs daily.
The hair's growth cycle can be disrupted by many factors, including illness, strict dieting that reduces calorie intake, stress, high temperatures, some health conditions and gut health to name the most popular culprits.
How Can You Support Hair Growth?
The hair follicle is the second fastest dividing cell in the body, however it is also a non-essential cell. This causes a conflict, as it has a very high nutritional need, but as it is non-essential our body is very clever and puts it at the bottom of the food chain! For this reason, your hair is very reflective of your diet, physical health, mental health, lifestyle and hair care regime.
The hair follicle needs about 25% of your daily protein intake - this is a lot for a cell that isn’t essential to our general health. Each sachet of Absolute Collagen provides 7.7g of protein and essential amino acids that support the hair, which is why it can improve the texture and boost the appearance of hair as these amino acids start to be absorbed.
Also, you should also be looking to have a balanced diet with an adequate supply of protein and iron rich foods.
If your hair is shedding more than is normal or is dull and lacklustre, or your scalp is sore, itchy or flaky, then you should seek professional advice as some key vitamin and mineral levels may be depleted. Blood tests usually give a good indication of what is needed beside protein intake.
Remember, the requirements of your hair are very different than those for your general health which is why hair specialists will give you advice that can be different to the advice your GP will give that relates to your general health and doesn’t focus on the specific needs of the hair and scalp. If supplementation is required it is always best to be sure what you need to take, don’t just go out and buy things off the shelf as these may not contain what you need and won’t give you the results that you are hoping for. In some cases, dietary changes can be enough to provide underlying vitamin and mineral levels; you only need a dietary supplement if this is accurately diagnosed.
Hair Care and Hair Growth
The scalp is the growing medium for our hair, and it needs to be kept clean, healthy and balanced for the best hair growth conditions. It is important to wash your hair and scalp regularly; scalp is skin just the same as the skin on the rest of our body and needs a care regime. Hair washing for most people should be done daily or every other day this will clean and remove dirt and detritus, as well as imparting certain benefits from your hair care range.
Our hair has 3 layers. The outer protective layer is the cuticle, the main fibre of the hair is the cortex and the innermost layer is the medulla. Hair damage occurs through heat and chemical processes that damage the cuticle and allow the protein fibres in the cortex to become subject to elements that will damage them. If hair is damaged it can snap and break and will not grow as well as hair that is healthy and undamaged. It is very important to protect your hair when using heat or chemicals and always follow the instructions, with chemical applications my advice is use a professional service where possible and if you can’t do this then follow the instructions for home use to the letter, as they are designed to protect your hair and scalp.
Shampoo is used to clean the hair and scalp, it can deliver some benefits, but as a “treatment” it is not the best as it is not in contact with the hair and scalp for long enough. Volumising shampoos do often leave a protein molecule within the hair to add cosmetic density, but in terms of delivering treatments for hair loss then this is not the most effective way of achieving results. Active ingredients are listed in order on the shampoo label, so if for example a vitamin is listed last you can be pretty sure that there is a minimal level in the formulation and that the impact of it will be limited. A Trichologist knows how formulations work and will always give honest impartial advice, so before spending out on a new miracle shampoo check with the experts to see if it will really benefit your hair and scalp!
Conditioners smooth, protect and, in some cases, penetrate the cortex to add smoothness, gloss, shine and strength. If your hair is fine, keep away from ingredients such as silicones, as these will weigh your hair down. Look instead for something like glycerine that will hydrate and moisturise your hair, not coat it. If you love oils in your products look for coconut or avocado; these do penetrate the hair, whereas other oils just coat it and are not as effective in giving you those smooth, shiny locks.
Serums, Lotions and Treatments
These are the best products to deliver instant and longer-term benefits as they stay in contact with the hair and scalp and are not washed off after application. Treatments such as topical Minoxidil or DHT blockers penetrate the follicle and deliver their effective treatments. Having a DHT blocker in shampoo, however, really doesn’t penetrate or benefit as a treatment. Styling, fixing, smoothing and protecting sprays and serums really do deliver: they stay on the hair and can be effective until the next time you wash it, giving you a longer-term benefit.
So, when you are thinking about your hair care regime, think about what you want to achieve and use a combination of shampoo, conditioner and leave on products for the best results, including hair protection and hair growth.
Absolute Collagen can help to support your hair. Alongside this, you should eat a really healthy balanced diet ensuring adequate protein intake. If you are going to use a supplement make sure it is what you need - my advice is to seek a professional consultation so that you can be sure that whatever you decide on will deliver results. And of course, have a good hair care regime with regular washing and conditioning to keep your hair looking and feeling great.
Great hair growth comes from within, and from looking after your scalp. Get this right and the hair will grow well and look fabulous at the same time!