Many times we feel that our hair is not growing at all or it is growing at a slow speed. While planning to make your hair grow faster, there is one question that surely strikes our mind – ‘How fast does hair grow?’ In simple terms, the average speed of hair growth is roughly 1.25 centimeters or 0.5 inches per month, which means around 15 centimeters or 6 inches in a year. This is an average hair growth rate that can be termed as normal. For some the hair growth can be less and for some it can be more. With age the speed of hair growth might slow down to as little as 0.25 cm or 0.1 inch a month.
There are various factors that determine the hair growth rate of an individual. Such factors include general health, age, genetics, lifestyle, hormonal state, weather, diet, stress level, diseases and so on. Even pregnancy can result in faster hair growth rate. Also the growth rate of hair located on different parts of the body is different.
For example hair by the forehead and at the back of the neck grows at a much slow rate as compared to the hair on your head. However, hair grows at about the same speed throughout the top of your head. Also the growth rate of hair on the nape, crown, and fringe are very similar. A human hair only has a life span of two to six years, after which a hair falls out and in its place a new hair grows.
But, what is hair?
Hair is primarily composed of a hard fibrous type of protein known as keratin. Around 88% of hair is made of this keratin. Hair consists of dead cells on the hair shaft and hair root that is alive. Basically, there are about 100,000 strands of hair on the scalp. During healthy conditions, a hair strand lasts for as long as 6 years. It is considered natural and normal too when a person experiences a hair fall of about one hundred hairs every day.
How hair grows
Now the next important question is ‘How hair grows?’ Well, the whole mechanism of how our body functions is quite interesting and the way hair grows is also one of the most amazing aspects of the human body. It is very interesting to understand the whole anatomy of a hair strand. There is the follicle rooted into the skin from where hair comes out. This follicle is divided into three parts – the lower, middle and upper segment.
The hair shaft has got three layers such as cuticle, medulla and cortex. The inside layer of hair shaft is the medulla, while cuticle defines the outer layer and this is the layer from where hair gets its luster. Cortex is the layer between cuticle and medulla and this layer determines the hair color.
Hair Growth Stages:
Overall hair growth happens in three different stages – Anagen Phase, Catagen Phase and Telogen Phase. Each phase has its specific duties and responsibilities but all three phases occur simultaneously. This means if one strand of hair is in the Anagen phase, the next one is in the Telogen phase and the third one is in the Catagen Phase. Once the cycle of hair growth gets completed, a new cycle starts.
The Anagen phase is also known as the growth phase. This phase can have a lifetime of around eight years. It is the genetics that determines the span of time at which the hair remains in this stage. However, longer the hair stays in this stage, the faster and longer it will grow. About 85% of the hairs on one’s head are in this phase at any given period of time.
Catagen Phase is also known as the transitional phase. This phase can last about two to three weeks. During this stage follicle gets renewed leading to no hair growth at this stage. Here at this time hair root shrinks and gets attached to the root.
The last and final stage is the Telogen Phase which is also known as resting phase. At this time, the follicle remains dormant anywhere from 1–4 months. With the division of cells, new hair growth takes place. In simple terms old hair falls out paving the way for new hair to grow. 10-15 percent of the hairs on one’s head are in this phase of growth at any given time.
Some commons hair growth myths which are not true:
- If you pluck a gray hair, six more hair will grow back.
- Shaving your hair will make it thicker in texture.
- Cutting your hair makes it grow faster.
- Brushing your hair leads to hair fall.
- Wearing hats or wigs causes hair loss.
Well, this is all about how your hair grows. In case you want to make your hair grow longer and thicker, you can surely do it by following a healthy diet, taking rest, keeping your scalp clean, drinking water, regularly massaging your scalp, and by using less chemicals.