On average, hair grows at a rate of about half an inch every month. But a number of different factors – like the way you care for your hair, the foods you eat, and how old you are – can influence hair growth rate.
If you feel like your hair is growing slower than it used to, you may not be wrong. The good news is that there are many ways to improve scalp and hair health, which in turn will encourage faster, healthier hair growth.
How fast does hair grow in men?
According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, hair tends to grow at a rate of 0.35 millimeters per day. This is equivalent to about half an inch (1.27 centimeters) of growth per month. 1 year of hair growth in male individuals therefore is equivalent to 6 inches of growth (15.24 centimeters).
But hair growth rate isn’t consistent throughout life. A number of factors, like chronic illness, nutritional deficiencies, and even just getting older can influence how fast or slow your hair grows. Obviously, some of these factors are within your control, while others are not.
How can men grow hair faster?
If you’re looking for good ways to grow hair faster, the first step is to make sure that you’ve set up the right building blocks for healthy hair growth. This includes using gentle products that won’t damage your hair, eating nutrient-rich foods, and keeping your scalp clean.
And most of all, you’ll want to avoid following old wives’ tales on hair regrowth. There are way too many misconceptions on improving hair growth speed – and many of them can actually slow hair growth or prevent visible improvements in hair length.
Does cutting hair make it grow faster?
Many people believe that cutting hair will make it grow faster. And while trimming split ends is good as it helps maintain healthy hair and prevent hair breakage and frizz, it can’t accelerate hair regrowth. Speeding up hair growth has to occur at the hair’s root, where the hair follicle produces each hair strand. Ultimately, if you’re regularly trimming your hair, all you’re doing is preventing your hair from getting any longer.
Does not washing your hair make it grow faster?
Not washing your hair – or washing it less frequently – definitely does not help it grow faster. But at the same time, it’s not like the opposite approach – frequently washing your hair – will help it grow.
Washing your hair is important because it helps reduce the build-up of grease and dirt that accumulates on your scalp and hair strands. Some of this build-up comes from your own body – specifically, the sebaceous glands in your hair follicles that release natural oils. But build-up can also come from many other sources, like vehicle or city pollution, products (like dry shampoo or gel) you’ve applied to your hair, and even dust, sand, and dead skin cells.
Removing this build-up of undesirable gunk is important. If you don’t, it can clog your hair follicles and prevent healthy hair growth. Dirty hair even has the potential to increase the likelihood of skin infections as it may increase the likelihood of bad bacteria and fungi colonizing your scalp. Such skin problems can definitely affect hair health and even lead to hair loss.
Does washing your hair help it grow faster?
Washing hair doesn’t help hair grow faster, but it is important for maintaining hair health. However, on the flip side, many people wash their hair too often or use harsh cleansing agents. This can strip their scalp and hair of healthy oils that are meant to lubricate and hydrate.
Ultimately, overwashing or poor choice of hair products can result in hair and skin dryness, as well as an increased amount of split ends, frizz, and hair breakage. Excessive hair washing and harsh cleansing products can be particularly detrimental to people who are naturally prone to having dry skin.
Everyone’s skin is different – but in general, it’s best to use a gentle cleansing product that can be used every few days. If you feel like your hair needs a deeper clean with a shampoo like Head and Shoulders, that’s fine. But in that case, make sure you’re regularly conditioning and rehydrating your hair, too.
And remember – conditioners and hair oils are meant to go on your hair, not your scalp. Applying them directly to the skin on your head just increases build-up and the frequency with which you’ll need to wash your hair.
How to make male hair grow faster naturally
Hair grows from the root – specifically, the hair follicles buried just beneath your skin. While it’s important to prevent the splitting and breakage of hair strands, this does nothing for actual hair production and growth. Improving hair growth needs to be done at the hair follicle – either by applying products to your scalp or ingesting products that can help nourishing hair follicles from the inside out.
Nourishing hair follicles also means nourishing your body properly. Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that people consume essential nutrients on a daily basis. These include:
- 900 micrograms (RAE) of vitamin A
- 1.2 milligrams of thiamin (vitamin B1)
- 1.3 milligrams of riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- 16 milligrams of niacin (vitamin B3)
- 5 milligrams of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B6
- 30 micrograms of biotin (vitamin B7)
- 400 micrograms of folate (vitamin B9)
- 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12
- 90 milligrams of vitamin C
- 20 micrograms of vitamin D
- 15 milligrams (of alpha-tocopherol) of vitamin E
- 120 micrograms of vitamin K
- 1,300 milligrams of calcium
- 2,300 milligrams of chloride
- 35 micrograms of chromium
- 0.9 milligrams of copper
- 150 micrograms of iodine
- 18 milligrams of iron
- 420 milligrams of magnesium
- 2.3 milligrams of manganese
- 45 micrograms of molybdenum
- 1,250 milligrams of phosphorus
- 4,700 milligrams of potassium
- 55 micrograms of selenium
- 2,300 milligrams of sodium
- 11 milligrams of zinc
All of these nutrients are thought to be important for adequate human health. And out of these, an article in the journal Dermatology and Therapy says that iron, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, and selenium are particularly important for your hair’s health.
A study published in the journal Tropical Life Sciences Research also says that vitamin E may be important for scalp and hair health. This essential vitamin is able to reduce oxidative stress in skin.
Why isn’t my hair growing?
If you feel that you’re getting enough essential nutrients, but your hair isn’t growing, you may want to try nourishing your scalp directly. It may sound strange, but nutrition can also be topical – which can directly benefit your hair follicles.
You’ve probably wondered why some shampoos and conditioners herald their inclusion of certain ingredients – like lime, chili, pepper, and ginger. Well, it turns out that these ingredients do a lot more than make your hair products smell nice. According to studies in the journals Free Radicals and Antioxidants and Food Reviews International, they’re also full of antioxidants.
Like vitamin E, antioxidants can help improve skin and hair health. They’re specifically able to neutralize free radicals (unstable atomic structures) that can build up on your scalp and hair when you’re exposed to pollution.
Some of these antioxidant-rich plant-based ingredients also have other benefits. For example, some of them can block an androgen known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This androgen is thought to be the main hormone involved in androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness), and blocking it can help stop hair loss from progressing.
Products that can help speed up hair growth in males
Decreased hair growth can also be indicative of a hair loss disorder. Hair loss can occur due to stress – both mental and physical (like COVID-19, a nutrient deficiency, or a chronic health problem), or it may be a sign of the most common form of hair loss: androgenic alopecia.
Pattern hair loss is thought to be caused by a mixture of genetics and hormones – specifically, DHT. If your hair growth has slowed or stopped due to this condition, several hair loss treatments can help stop hair loss and improve hair growth.
Minoxidil works by opening up blood vessels on and around the scalp. Its mechanism of action allows more nutrients and oxygen to reach hair follicles, enabling thicker, stronger hair to grow. The 5 percent solution is thought to be most effective for men.
Finasteride is a DHT-blocking medication that’s taken as a single pill, once a day. This medication targets the hormonal component of androgenic alopecia. Although it’s effective, it’s also particularly well-known for causing unpleasant sexual side effects, like decreased libido and erectile dysfunction – a huge deterrent for most men.
Laser hair therapy
Laser hair therapy, also known as low-level light therapy, is a biostimulatory light treatment that can help stop hair loss symptoms and encourage hair regrowth. This hair loss treatment is the newest of the three FDA-approved options. According to a review in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, it’s also looking like one of the most effective treatments available for pattern hair loss.
Ways to grow hair faster in men
Growing strong, long, healthy hair always has to occur from inside out. This means nourishing your body properly with lots of nutrient-rich foods – particularly those containing iron, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium. It’s also not a bad idea to use hair products that are designed to nourish your scalp. These may include products like antioxidant-rich cleansers or DHT-blocking shampoos.
If nutrition isn’t enough, consider how you’ve been treating your hair and scalp. While washing hair regularly is important, overwashing can be bad, too. It’s important to use a gentle cleansing agent every few days in order to get rid of any gunk and build-up. And if you’ve decided to use a harsher shampoo, make sure you’re conditioning your hair to rehydrate it and prevent split ends.
If you feel like your hair is in need of a boost – or you suspect that you’re actually seeing hair loss, rather than just slow-growing hair – you may need a hair loss treatment. Men can choose from three FDA-approved options: laser hair therapy, finasteride, and minoxidil.
Out of all of these, you may want to consider using minoxidil. This topical hair loss treatment encourages more nutrients, oxygen, and blood flow to reach the scalp, improving hair growth from root to tip.