Whether it’s from stress, hormones or genetics, thinning hair is a bummer. Hair growth prescriptions can produce nasty side effects. But there are ways to grow hair faster naturally.
About a decade ago, sales of hair growth treatments around the globe were $2 billion (USD). By the end of 2018, that figure may exceed $3 billion. [SOURCE]
It’s no wonder the keywords for “hair loss” on Amazon.com, yields 923 products [SOURCE].
But how do you know if a product: a) will help your hair grow faster; b) that they will work at all, and c) is safe?
And if you’re looking for ways to grow hair faster naturally, well, don’t rely on a prescription. The US FDA only sanctions two hair loss treatments: oral finasteride (Proscar®) and topical minoxidil (Rogaine®).
Rogaine was originally a hypertension medication. The maker of this brand of topical minoxidil (Upjohn Pharmaceuticals) has warned of possible negative side effects of the medication. These include difficulty breathing, scalp itching, scaling, rapid weight gain, dermatitis and edema. [SOURCE]
But supplements and other substances that you may pray help your hair grow faster naturally may have a dark side as well. Although, to be sure, perhaps not as nefarious.
Because the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements, you cannot be 100% sure that all natural hair care remedies will not have side effects.
That sobering disclaimer aside, the good news is there are natural ways to grow hair that are backed by research. Sure, the research might not be conducted in large scale human trials. But hey, if a natural supplement can help grow hair fast on mice, it might be worth a try.
How to make hair grow faster and thicker: get glycans
Got good glycans? If you want to grow hair faster naturally, you need to know about glycans. No, glycans aren’t a race of aliens on Star Trek.
Rather, glycans are technically carbohydrates. But glycans in this sense have nothing to do with nutrition. So if you’re eating a low carb diet, fear not glycans.
In a nutshell, glycans are essential for fast, natural hair growth. And here’s why….
Recent research reveals a link between the concentration of glycans in the small, nipple-like extensions of the dermis into the epidermis.
This junction is where the scalp provides oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle. This is critical for sprouting healthy new hairs.
A 2012 article in the British Daily Mail calls glycans, “The wonder ingredient you’ve never heard of that could make you look years younger.” Although the article focuses on glycans for healthy skin, the same applies for glycans and hair growth.
How to Grow Hair Faster Naturally: Study Glycobiology
And as a result of this link between glycans, which are essentially complex sugars in our tissues, and hair growth and skin care, there now exists a whole new subset of biology: glycobiology.
Glycans play a key role in cellular communication. In skin care, for example, glycans might help send messages to the cells to produce collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein in skin It’s also a major protein in hair, along with keratin.
If the glycans can’t communicate with the cells, then perhaps collagen in the hair gets weaker. And then you get a thinning set of hair.
Similar to collagen breaking down as we age, so, too, do glycans.
Bone broth and collagen peptide powder from animals may help strengthen your own collagen. This is one of the reason why bone broth has once again become a trendy superfood.
In light of this, are there hair products with glycans that help strengthen your own glycan molecules in your tissues? And, will they grow hair faster naturally?
Yes, but hair growth treatments with glycans can be expensive.
Grow hair faster in a month
Most natural supplements take several weeks for any possible positive outcomes to be observed. Is it reasonable to expect a natural hair growth supplement to work in a month?
A couple research studies suggests a month is doable.
This study investigates peppermint oil for hair growth. The test subjects: mice. The mice were randomized into four groups. Each of the groups received a different topical application. Along with peppermint oil (3% concentration): saline, jojoba oil, minoxidil (3%).
After four weeks of treatment, measurements on hair growth were assessed. The researchers used microscopic analysis. They also looked at a key enzyme associated with the hair growth cycle, among other biomarkers.
Of the four experimental groups, the peppermint oil group showed the most prominent hair growth. Moreover, the peppermint oil group showed a significant increase in dermal thickness. As well as follicle number and follicle depth.
Applying lavender oil to your scalp might be another way to grow hair faster naturally in a month. This test basically proves the same attributes of the peppermint oil test.
Lavender essential oil, like peppermint oil in the study above, was compared to minoxidil. Different essential oil but same result. Lavender oil achieved better and faster hair growth compared to the FDA-approved minoxidil.
Grow hair with supplements
IRON & ZINC
For thousands of years, traditional cultures have used natural plant remedies for hair loss. But relatively few have been clinically-proven by research. Moreover, taking certain supplements may actually lead to hair loss. Take selenium and vitamins A and E.
This research says that these nutrients in excess produce hair loss. And as the study authors note, “it is therefore surprising that the best-selling hair supplement on Amazon.com contains both vitamin A and vitamin E, while the next contains selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin E.”
But nutrient deficiency can also lead to hair loss. In fact, the world’s most common nutritional deficiency is iron.
There’s already a link between iron deficiency and hair loss. And who is most at risk for iron deficiency?
The study authors state that premenopausal women is one group. This is owing due to menstrual blood loss. Postmenopausal women, too, are at risk. But for a different reason. Which is, gastrointestinal blood loss.
Others at risk for iron deficiency include those with autoimmune disorders associated with malabsorption disorders. Celiac disease is an example.
Also worth noting is vegans and vegetarians can be at risk for iron deficiency. That’s because the iron in plant sources isn’t as absorbable as the iron in meat and fish.
Zinc is another supplement for hair loss you may want to consider. Over 1 billion people worldwide are zinc deficient. [SOURCE] That’s one out of every seven people on this planet. And there is at least one small study showing that reversal of hair loss with zinc supplementation is possible.
If you’re not getting enough healthy sources of omega-3s and 6’s in your diet, you may lose some of your hair.
Studies show that not only does being deficient in these essential fatty acids lead to hair loss on your scalp, but also your eyebrows.
Omega-6s may promote hair growth by encouraging follicle growth, says this study.
According to this study, the sunshine vitamin plays a role in hair growth. And deficiency in vitamin D has been tied in rat test subjects to hair loss.
In addition, lab studies suggest increasing vitamin D leads to vitamin D receptor sites in the scalp grow the building blocks for keratin protein during hair growing phases.
It’s stating the obvious to eat lots of veggies. But some health-conscious people might be overdoing supplements. Particularly, those with antioxidants.
While getting enough antioxidants from food is essential to prevent disease, high doses of antioxidants can disrupt the natural turf war in the body that occurs between free radicals and antioxidants.
In other words, if the disease-fighting antioxidants don’t have enough bad guys to go after, perhaps some of the good guys turn into bad guys. And that includes bad guys that eat away at your hair.
Studies (like this on exogenous antioxidant, this on quercitin and this on dietary flavonoids) show that certain antioxidants can encourage harmful substances to the cells (reactive oxygen species; ROS) at higher than normal concentrations.
Therefore, if you eat a healthy diet and take your vitamins but still can’t grow hair, perhaps back off on the antioxidant supplements. Stick to your kale salad instead.
Best way to grow hair faster naturally
Perhaps the most pleasurable way to grow hair naturally is by getting a scalp massage. This study says scalp massage enacts mechanical stress in that layer of skin between the dermis and epidermis.
Consequently, getting your dome pleasantly rubbed thickens hair. Who knew?
And when you get home from your relaxing scalp massage, drink a warm cup of bone broth or eat something with gelatin. Both contain collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is essential for strong hair.