How To Stimulate Hair Growth

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Vindhya L Veerula , MD, FAAD, Dermatologist, Dermatologist
Written by Annie Jangam

The agony is insufferable when all you want is long hair, but they refuse to grow beyond shoulder length! Here, we have collated some effective home remedies to stimulate hair growth. Of course, you should avoid harsh chemical hair products and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Read on to know more tips to stimulate hair growth.

Understanding the Hair Growth Process

Your hair grows from the follicle or root located under the skin. The blood vessels at the base of the follicle feed the hair and provide it with nourishment.. The four stages of the hair growth process are anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen. Your hair could be at any of these stages of the growth cycle. The anagen phase (hair growth phase) becomes shorter with time, causing hair to grow thinner and weaker at the end of each cycle.

Healthy Hair Growth Tips

Though genetics play an important role in your hair health, the right care tips may keep the hair from getting weaker at the end of each hair growth cycle (and possibly stimulate hair growth too). Anecdotal evidence suggests the following tips may help stimulate hair growth in individuals.

1. Massage Your Scalp

Proper scalp blood circulation is critical for healthy hair. A scalp massage stimulates the hair follicles and may strengthen the hair strands.

You can massage your scalp in two methods: the essential oil massage or the inversion method.

Essential oil massage:

  • You can use either lemon, tea tree, or peppermint oils.
  • Heat the oil until it is warm.
  • Apply to your scalp and massage for 20 minutes.
  • Leave the oil on for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse your hair

Inversion method:

  • Sit on a chair and flip your hair over.
  • Massage your scalp for 5 minutes with your fingertips.
  • Rub your entire scalp in a circular motion.

2. Trim Your Hair Ends

Split ends prevent the development of healthy hair. They make individual hair strands get entangled with each other and fall out. Regularly trimming your hair promotes hair health.

3. Condition More Often Than You Shampoo

You lose some natural scalp oils (that keep your hair soft) every time you shampoo. Excessive shampooing may dry and weaken your hair. Try not to shampoo more than twice a week. Use a conditioner after every hair wash. A conditioner repairs any damage to your hair and makes it stronger.

4. Use The Egg Mask Treatment

Your hair is primarily made of a protein called keratin. Eggs are rich in protein and may help strengthen your hair follicles. The moisture in the egg mask also protects your hair from dryness.

How to make your DIY egg mask:

  • Whisk an egg yolk in a bowl until you get a smooth consistency.
  • Add yogurt to it until the mixture is creamy in texture.
  • Apply this mixture to wet hair and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Wash your hair with plain water.

You may also include fish, poultry, seafood, whole grains, seeds, and nuts in your diet.

5. Avoid Putting Your Hair Into A Tight Bun

You could either try other hairstyles or make a loose bun with your hair. Having a tight bun can pull on your hair strands and damage them. Other hairstyles like braids, cornrows, pigtails, and ponytails spell disaster for your hair if applied tightly. These hairstyles stress your hair strands and may lead to traction alopecia.

Also, change your hairstyle regularly to allow your hair to recover. Mix and match between buns, ponytails, pigtails, or cornrows. Do not wear weaves for long periods. Keep an eye on any early signs of hair loss.

6. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids may fight inflammation and prevent the associated hair loss. They also boost scalp health. You can consume salmon or mackerel fish or flaxseeds and walnuts. Taking omega-3 supplements from a reputed seller is also a good idea. Mackerel-derived fish oil was found to promote hair growth in a study (1).

8. Increase Intake Of Vitamin C

Vitamin C may help reduce hair loss associated with iron deficiency. The vitamin boosts iron absorption (2). Consume more fruits and vegetables. Be wary of supplements; take only after consulting your health care provider. Excess of vitamins A and E and selenium have been linked to hair loss (3).

9. Get More Biotin

Biotin deficiency causes hair loss and thinning. Include beef liver or soybeans in your diet for adequate biotin (4).

10. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can affect hair growth. Drink adequate water and other fluids during the day.

11. Avoid Trauma To Your Hair

Avoid chemical-based shampoos. Use a gentle shampoo instead.

  • Use a leave-in conditioner or detangler. It will stop breakage, frizz, and split ends.
  • Spend less time blow-drying your hair. You can dry your hair faster with a microfiber towel.
  • Avoid hot oil treatments because the excess heat may damage hair too.
  • Stop DIY home treatments like relaxing, chemical straightening, perming, and coloring. Leave these to a salon professional who can apply the right amount of product to prevent long-term hair damage.
  • Minimize the use of hot combs, flat irons, or curling irons. Save them for special occasions.
  • Stop playfully twisting or pulling your hair. This habit can damage your hair.

12. Brush Your Hair Gently

Be gentle with your hair while detangling the knots. Harshly brushing your hair can cause the strands to break off and split. Your choice of brush is also important. To ensure minimal breakage, use the following types of brushes for detangling knots:

Detangle your hair knots before a shower and not after it. Go from the tips to the hair roots.

13. Avoid Smoking

Smoking may damage the DNA of the hair follicles and may lead to hair loss (5). Quit smoking.

Stimulating Hair Growth With Food – What To Avoid And What To Eat

If you have a history of hair loss in your family and usually have an unhealthy diet, you can experience greater hair loss. You need the right diet to stimulate hair growth, which starts by cutting down the following foods:

Foods To Avoid

  • Simple carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates are found in high sugar foods like white flour, bread, ice cream, biscuits, and cakes. These foods may also cause stress, leading to hair loss. Start a diet rich in complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans.
  • Sweet Cereals: These cereals have a high glycemic index and spike blood sugar levels. They contain artificial coloring agents that may cause hair thinning.
  • Greasy Foods: Fried, greasy foods add to your waistline and may also lead to hair loss.

Foods To Eat

  • Eggs, Dairy, And Lentils: The protein and biotin in these foods may stimulate hair growth.
  • Legumes, Seeds, Nuts, And Oysters: The zinc in these foods may boost hair growth. Zinc deficiency has been associated with hair loss (6).
  • Salmon And Other Fish: Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D that may boost hair health (7).

How To Stimulate Hair Growth With Lifestyle Changes?

Your lifestyle also affects your hair growth. Like unhealthy food, an unhealthy lifestyle impairs hair growth. You need to switch to a healthier lifestyle. Here are some lifestyle changes for stimulating hair growth.

  • Reduce Hair Washing Frequency: Frequent washing may cause your hair to go brittle and dry. Hence, shampoo only twice a week.
  • Use Conditioners and Volumizers: This helps restore the natural scalp oils you lose while shampooing.
  • Choose The Right Hair Care Products: Use gentler and natural hair care products. Avoid products with chemicals and other irritants (like parabens or sulfates).
  • Check Your Medications: Ask your doctor if your medications cause hair loss. Get recommendations for any better alternatives.

Final Words

Stimulating hair growth does not have to be a mystery. Consume nutrients like protein and other vitamins that help promote hair growth. Avoid chemical-based shampoos and bleaches that may damage your hair. The right dietary and lifestyle habits can help prolong your hair health in the long run. Keep in mind the pointers discussed in this article – we are sure you will thank yourself later.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can thinning hair be regained?

Thinning hair can be regained if the cause is not genetic. Hair thinning due to medications is temporary.

Does lemon juice damage hair follicles?

No, lemon juice does not damage hair follicles. Some believe it may help reduce dandruff.

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Dr. Vindhya L Veerula

(MD, FAAD, Dermatologist)
Dr. Veerula (Dr. V) is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, a Fellow of the American Academy of... more