By Chinwe of Hair and Health
In the world of black hair care, optimal hair growth has become synonymous with the application of growth aids and the popping of supplements. The reality is that it normally does not require such extremes. In many cases, achieving optimal hair growth can be as simple as following the steps below:
1. Maintain a clean scalp.
After genetics and diet, maintaining a clean scalp is probably one of several important factors in achieving your maximum hair growth potential. A filthy scalp is more prone to fungal and bacterial infections that may adversely affect the follicle — the area where hair growth begins. Pollutants, product buildup, sweat, and dead skin cells can contribute to the filth. A regular wash routine will help to remove these items from the scalp.
2. See a doctor regularly.
Certain medical conditions can be the root of slow hair growth, but you may not know for sure until you visit a doctor. Some conditions include iron deficiency anemia, folic acid deficiency anemia, vitamin B‑12 deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, and different forms of alopecia. Mild forms of these conditions can go unnoticed and undiagnosed, yet affect the hair. Stay on top of your annual physicals and doctor visits!
3. Exercise regularly.
It is a big belief of mine that regular exercise helps with optimal hair growth. After all, exercise increases blood circulation in certain sections of the body, including the scalp. Increased blood circulation in this region may allow for more nutrients to reach the follicles. The more these follicles are fed, the more they flourish.
4. Massage with an essential oil and carrier oil.
DISCLAIMER: Essential oils are very potent. Please consult your doctor before using them, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have a medical condition.
The speculated cause of alopecia areata is an attack on the hair cells by the immune system. Some believe that stress may aggravate the condition. According to the results of one study, daily massaging of the scalp with an essential oil mixture proved effective in treating alopecia areata when compared to massaging with carrier oils alone. The reason for the improvement in hair growth is unclear; perhaps aromatherapy is beneficial in reducing stress?
For the time being, aromatherapy as a hair loss treatment remains a debatable topic in the research community. It couldn’t hurt, however, to incorporate it into your hair care regimen and perform your own personal study (assuming you’ve heeded the disclaimer).
5. Drink your water.
Water carries necessary nutrients to various parts of the body — including the follicles. Without it, achieving optimal hair growth is next to impossible. Be sure your body is absorbing sufficient water, whether via fruits and vegetables or the actual drinking of water.
6. Eat hair foods.
Because healthy, growing hair starts from within, a diet containing hair foods is key. According to doctors on WebMD, these foods include salmon, nuts, poultry, beans, and eggs for protein; dark green vegetables for vitamins A and C; whole grains for zinc, iron, and B vitamins; and carrots for beta carotene, just to name a few. Many of us worry about the external (i.e., what products to apply to our hair) and forget about the internal (i.e., what to eat for our hair). No matter what topical product we use, if we are not on our “A” game on the inside, we will not achieve optimal hair growth on the outside.
7. Get adequate sleep.
Sleep is an opportunity for the body to recuperate from a day’s worth of activities and stress. Without this resting process, our bodies — including our hair — may suffer. According to some researchers, “losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation.” In other words, insufficient sleep can be detrimental to our health. What does this mean for hair growth? Well, healthy growing hair begins with a healthy lifestyle, and adequate sleep is a part of that lifestyle. For your hair to reach its optimal growing potential, be sure to get the necessary sleep!
8. Take your multivitamins.
Did you know that canned vegetables and fruits contain fewer vitamins than fresh ones? Did you know that boiled, steamed, and microwaved vegetables contain fewer nutrients than raw ones? The same is true for certain meats, dairy products, etc. Therefore, it is possible that some of us are not absorbing sufficient nutrients from the “healthy” foods we do eat. With that being said, be sure to purchase and prepare your food for optimal nutrient absorption, or at the very least, invest in a good multi-vitamin to make up for that slack.
Do you have any extra hair growth tips?