6 Reasons for Natural Hair Not Growing and What To Do About It
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Wondering “Why is my natural hair not growing?” Here are a variety of reasons for hair growing slowly and some tips to get your hair back on track!
Stages of the Hair Growth Cycle
You have about 100,000 strands of hair on your head. Each strand grows from its own hair follicle. Hair grows in a three-phase cycle. The strands are not all in the same phase at the same time.
Anagen phase – This is the growing phase that lasts anywhere from about 2 to 7 years. During this phase, the strands grow about half an inch per month. The vast majority of your hairs are in this phase.
Catagen phase– This transitional phase lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks after the growing phase ends. During this phase blood supply is cut off from the end of the hair that is in the follicle. The hair becomes known as a club hair.
Telogen phase – About 15% of your hair follicles are in this inactive or resting phase at any given time. It lasts for about 3 months as the follicles get ready to start the cycle over again. The term exogen phase is sometimes used for the actual shedding of the hair.
Reasons for Natural Hair Not Growing
Slow hair growth or hair that is thinning might actually run in your family. The condition may be in your genes if either of your parents has the same complaint of slow hair growth or their natural hair not growing as fast as it should.
Aging can also affect hair growth and cause thinning hair. The rate at which hair grows slows down with age and some follicles stop producing hair altogether. Aging can also lead to hair that is thinner and weaker than when you were younger.
3. Medical Reasons
Your thyroid gland (in your neck) could also hold the answer to your “Why is my hair not growing” question. It has the important job of producing thyroid hormone and an underactive thyroid can lead to your hair growing slowly. It can also cause weight gain, depression, and fatigue.
Other hormones can also affect the hair growth cycle causing slow hair growth. For example, hormonal fluctuations in women who are postmenopausal usually result in some hair loss. It is also why women who are pregnant often find that their hair grows thicker and longer but then experience slowed hair growth post-pregnancy.
Your body needs a host of vitamins and minerals in order for you to grow strong, healthy hair. Examples include iron, biotin, protein, vitamins A, C, and E. Deficiency in one or more of these might lead to hair loss, slow hair growth, and hair that is weak and breaks off easily.
It’s also good to keep in mind that an overabundance of some nutrients can also affect hair growth. A good example of this is vitamin A. Normally, it helps to slow hair loss but excess can do the opposite – cause hair loss to speed up.
Chronic or long-lasting stress can lead to several forms of hair loss. Among them is telogen effluvium – a condition in which a very large number of the follicles stay in the telogen phase of their growth cycle for an extended period of time.
4. Hair and Scalp Issues
Quite often, the issue of your natural hair not growing is actually a case of your hair not retaining its length. Damage, an abundance of split ends, and excessive breakage can all make it seem like your hair is not growing at all.
In reality, however, your hair is likely growing at the half-an-inch per month average but you are experiencing breakage that causes you not to see that growth.
This is another factor that could lead to strands that are brittle and break off easily. The balance of protein and moisture in your hair helps to keep it strong, elastic, and more resistant to breakage.
If you suffer from dry hair or dry scalp, consider ways to hydrate them from the inside and out. For hair that is protein deficient, an increase in the amount of protein in your diet or a protein treatment for hair could be what you need.
An unhealthy scalp
You will often hair the analogy of your scalp being the fertile soil from which healthy hair grows. It’s quite true! So, think of your scalp as soil that has to be tended for healthy, strong, long hair to grow from it.
A scalp that is grimy, has product buildup, or blocked pores could be the reason behind your natural hair not growing to its full potential. Regular wash days that include deep conditioning can help, as can scalp massages and scalp oil treatments.
5. Treatments and Styling
Hair dyes, relaxers, and other chemical treatments can be quite damaging to natural hair. They could also be the cause of your hair not growing. Aim to use natural hair care products as much as possible and be sure to avoid harmful ingredients that have been proven to be damaging to hair.
Factors of hairstyling that can result in slow to no hair growth as well as hair loss include:
- Excessive heat styling
- Over-manipulation or frequent styling
- Wearing too-tight styles, such as high ponytails and braids that tug on your roots.
6. Lifestyle Issues
Alcohol and smoking
Both alcohol and smoking can negatively impact hair growth and may, in some cases, actually lead to hair loss. If you consume alcohol on a regular basis or indulge in smoking, your hair could be paying the price. Consider the lifestyle change of doing away with these two unhealthy habits.
Lack of sleep/lack of exercise
Feeling tired and run-down lately? Believe it or not, lack of sleep can cause serious hair issues. It can cause hair to not grow at the rate it should. It can also cause hair loss. Yikes! Really good reasons to catch up on those zzzs!
Remember, too, that lack of exercise or lack of regular physical activity can also have a bad effect on your hair. Get moving. Get out in the sunshine and fresh air. It will help keep your hormones in balance and reduce stress, as well as improve the health and appearance of your hair.
Do you have any tips on how to remedy slow hair growth? Share!