Hair is always growing on the head. One morning, it’s completely shaved or cut, and within a week it already feels like it is time for another trim or shave. It’s not just bald people who want to slow their hair growth either. There are countless individuals who feel overwhelmed by the once a month haircuts and just want a break. Likewise, women find their hair growing faster on their head then they’d like sometimes. For men and women who color their hair, fast growth means roots grow out faster and additional trips to the salon cost money.
To slow hair growth, the approach must tackle genetics and habits with both hormonal supplements and topical solutions.
No matter what the reason is, slowing hair growth is an interest many people have. It surprises a lot of people. Especially with bald people, the concept of hair growth is always discussed as an interest in more hair, not less. For bald people who are constantly shaving their heads, excessive and quick hair growth can really start to get bothersome. To better understand how to slow hair growth, it helps to know the process of hair growth overall.
Hair Growth: How Does it Work?
The process of slowing hair growth requires a knowledge of the hair growth process. It all starts at the root, but there is no root without follicles.
The head is covered in follicles. These follicles hold the key to the start of hair growth. When baldness sets in for men and women, follicles are the source of the change, and the reason can vary from genetics to products used on the scalp. Hair begins in the follicle and starts to form a root.
Each root is made up of proteins. Like the root of the plant, growth moving forward depends on whether or not the roots are healthy and receiving their necessary nutrients. In terms of feeding roots on the head, the source of their food is blood vessels. Blood vessels in the scalp pump blood to the follicles to create more cells in the root and expand growth to each hair on the head.
As the root begins to push through the scalp, it has to pass a crucial point on the head. The root passes the sebaceous glands, which produce the oil sebum. Sebum is the heart of whether or not the scalp and hair are moisturized enough. Sebum is a natural oil that is determined based on sun exposure and hormones. When you go a few days without washing your hair or head, the scalp often becomes what is commonly noted as “greasy.” That grease is actually sebum, and while it may be annoying to manage, it is a necessary step to keep hair shiny and soft.
Once the hair passes the sebaceous glands, it being to grow outside of the scalp and take the shape of normal hair. Once it reaches the head and is visible to the eye, the hair is dead. As it grows, it needs to be washed in order to control the sebum levels. Likewise, the scalp is often in need of treatment if moisture is too low. When moisture levels are not optimum, the sebaceous glands will either produce too much or too little sebum.
Now that the growth process of hair is fleshed out, let’s take a look at what causes hair to grow at either a fast or slow speed.
What Causes Hair to Grow Quickly or Slowly?
Whether you are bald or have a full head of hair, everybody’s hair grows differently. Just as some people have curly hair and some are balding, the speed at which hair grows varies as well. There are two major influencers to the growing process of hair: hormones and consumables.
Hormones Influence on the Speed of Hair Growth
A lot of the science behind hair is predetermined. For example, every person is born with the total amount of hair follicles that they will have for their entire life. Out of the five million follicles all over the body, about 100,000 of them are on the head. As the body ages, so do the follicles, leading to less productivity and even complete hair growth failure. That’s where balding comes from.
In terms of overproduction of hair growth, the process of hair growing is largely hormonal. Hormones, like the amount of follicles on the body, are determined at birth. Even for normal people with regular hair growth rates, hair grows incredibly quickly. The soft tissue in the bones known as marrow is the only part of the body that grows faster. Head hair on average grows about 6 inches a year, but that varies from follicle to follicle based on hormone balance.
The number of different causes and effects that come with hormone imbalances vary. Overall, the hormones affect hair growth in one of two ways:
- Hormones directly affecting hair growth
- Hormones affecting something else that impacts hair growth
In both cases, hormones dictate the rate at which hair grows. The other issue that arises with hair growth rates is more controllable.
Consumables/Product Influence on Speed of Hair Growth
Believe it or not, every hair and scalp product on the market is not effective or even safe. A number of products can actually speed up hair growth by providing too much protein to the scalp or by providing the scalp with chemicals meant to oversaturate the skin with nutrients to promote quick expansion. The worst case scenario for topical treatments is that they have been used for so long that the scalp has actually trained itself to adapt its biological functions. Over time, this can be reversed, but it can have lasting effects.
Just like treatments, food and other consumables also effect whether or not hair grows quickly. Foods high in fats and proteins are going to directly benefit the scalp by providing it with more fuel to create and grow hair in the follicles on the head. Aside from foods, actual vitamin supplements can also encourage hair growth. Things like Biotin, also known as Vitamin H, and omega-3 can increase production in the scalp and speed up hair growth.
So how can one avoid these issues and slow hair growth on the head?
Best Ways to Slow Hair Growth
Like mentioned above, hair growth depends on two major factors:
Controlling for these two variables is key to slowing hair growth on the head. Whether or not you are bald or feature a full head of hair, these methods should work!
It would be ill advised for us to offer any sort of insight into specific hormone treatment. The best method for hormone control as a means to slow hair growth is to talk to a doctor. They may be able to see a specific hormone in the body affecting an individual and know the best path forward. To assume everyone could control their hormones better with one specific pill or treatment would be idealistic.
It will depend solely on the individual, but a doctor can provide insight better than any article could in terms of hormone control for hair growth.
This area is a bit more controllable. To stick with the medical responsibility for another moment, any food or medicinal allergies should not be superseded by the desire to slow hair growth. At the end of the day, taking care of one’s self is the best treatment for every and all biological bugaboo. That being said, some vitamin supplements listed above, biotin and omega-3, should be eliminated immediately to slow hair growth if they are non-essential. Likewise, the foods that are most fatty and protein packed like avocado, eggs, salmon, and nuts should be taken out of the daily diet. These foods not only contain elements that speed up hair growth, they are rich with them. So rich that a relatively immediate impact can be seen after eliminating them from intake.
There are also products that can help to slow hair growth. A number of products that inhibit hair growth are on the market and can be researched for best results. The products that promote the slowing of hair growth are often for other parts of the body, like arms, legs, and back. Be sure not to place these products on your head, as the follicles on the scalp are much different than other places. Specific inhibitors for the scalp are out there, so shop carefully!
Conclusion - How To Slow Hair Growth On Your Head
The constant stress of shaving a bald head gets old fast. For people who have been doing it for decades, any slowing of hair growth is welcome. Hopefully, this article gives some insight on how hair grows, what affects the rate of growth, and the various ways it can be managed. The uncontrollable elements may mean your hair is growing fast no matter what, but some things are in your control. Knowing the ins and outs of hair growth may help save time from the constant shaving and staring at your scalp wondering why the hair just won’t take a break.