Many people will find that their hair stops growing after a certain point. Maybe it seems to be thinning in a certain area, or it won’t grow past a certain length, or you notice that one side seems to grow more quickly than the other.
In this article, we’ll talk about the reasons hair may stop growing and what you can do to get more length.
The hair growth cycle has three parts. You may notice that your hair grows more quickly at certain stages of the cycle.
Not all the individual hair follicles are in the same phase at once. It’s estimated that
- Anagen phase. This is the active growth phase of hair that generally lasts 2 to 8 years. Pregnant women’s hair typically remains in the anagen phase for the entire pregnancy, which is why it’s common for pregnant women’s hair to look thicker and shinier than normal.
- Catagen phase. This is the transition phase when hair stops actively growing but doesn’t fall out. It lasts 4 to 6 weeks
- Telogen phase. This is the “resting phase” when hair falls out. You might notice more hair coming out in the shower or on your pillow. It lasts 2 to 3 months.
Beyond the hair growth cycle, there are a number of reasons that hair may grow more slowly or stop growing altogether.
Family history and genetics play a role in hair loss for both men and women.
Hair loss in women is often called female pattern hair loss (FPHL), and hair loss in men is often known as male pattern hair loss (MPHL).
The genes for hair loss can be passed down through either side of the family. If your parents experience thinning hair, there’s a chance you may, too.
Age can play a role in hair loss for both sexes. Many postmenopausal women will experience hair loss as a result of changing hormone levels.
Some men will experience gradual hair thinning as they age. In fact, by age 50, 85 percent of men will have “significantly” thinner hair.
When the thyroid’s typical functioning is impaired, it disrupts the production of thyroid hormones. This can cause hair loss.
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any other symptoms of an underactive thyroid, which may include constant fatigue or trouble losing weight.
Your lack of hair growth may depend on the situation.
After a haircut
Hair grows about a quarter- to a half-inch each month, which can make it feel like your hair is growing slowly, especially after a significant cut.
Regular haircuts should actually make your hair grow faster, as trims help get rid of split ends, which can break off and make hair look shorter.
You may also want to take a break from coloring your hair. Dye can be damaging to the hair, causing it to grow slowly or break.
In one spot
If hair has stopped growing in one spot, or it looks patchy, it may be a sign of alopecia areata. If this is the case, your doctor can help you find the right treatment plan.
On one side
Hair can actually grow faster on one side. Each hair follicle has its own blood supply, and it’s possible that one side of the head has better circulation. Better circulation means faster hair growth.
Consistently sleeping on the same side of the head can also cause that side to grow more slowly.
After a stressful event
Stress can actually put hair into telogen effluvium, a temporary state of hair loss. This can occur following a significantly stressful event, such as:
- the loss of a loved one
You may notice your hair shedding after a single traumatic event or after a period of stress.
There are home remedies you can try that may help you keep the hair you have. It should be noted that it’s difficult to regrow hair that’s already been lost due to balding. Home remedies for hair growth include:
- Scalp massage. This encourages blood flow to the scalp and may also improve hair’s thickness.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera can condition the scalp and hair. It may strengthen the hair so it’s less likely to break off.
- Rosemary oil. This oil can stimulate new hair growth, especially when in the case of alopecia.
- Geranium oil. This oil
has been shownto improve circulation and promote hair growth in mice, though more research is needed on humans.
- Biotin. Biotin can help with hair growth, though it’s generally only effective if there’s a biotin deficiency, which is rare.
- Saw palmetto. This is a plant-based ingredient. The research is mixed but, the extract may block 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to the hair loss-causing hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
There are prescription options available for people who are looking to prevent further hair loss. Clinical treatment options for hair loss include the following.
Minoxidil is the clinical name for Rogaine. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it widens the hair follicle so more blood can get to the scalp, allowing for stronger, thicker hair growth.
Topical minoxidil is a first-line treatment available without a prescription for male and female pattern hair loss. Oral minoxidil is also being used more and more.
Finasteride is the clinical name for Propecia. It works by blocking an enzyme known as 5-alpha-reductase, which causes hair loss. It recently showed promise for women experiencing hair loss.
A hair transplant is a surgical procedure where a clinician moves hair to cover a bald spot. It’s a good option for people who aren’t seeing results through home remedies or medication.
Scalp micropigmentation is a procedure which creates the illusion of fuller hair by essentially tattooing shadow-like dots on the scalp. It’s best for people who want to cover a visible bald spot or make their hair look more even.
There are several other ways to achieve the appearance of fuller hair.
Hair extensions are a good option if your hair won’t grow past a certain length. You can have a professional hairstylist sew or glue them into your hair, or you can opt for clip-in extensions you can do yourself at home.
Consuming the right blend of nutrients may help with hair growth. Foods that can contribute to hair growth include:
A toupee is a hairpiece that’s designed to match your existing hair. It can be glued over a bald spot to temporarily give the illusion of full hair.
There are sprays, sometimes called hair concealers, that you can spray in areas where hair is thinning, which will make it look thicker.
If you’re feeling ill when you begin to notice hair loss, or if your scalp feels painful or irritated, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. They’ll help you get to the root of the problem.
Before taking a prescription drug or undergoing a medical procedure, you’ll also need to check in with your dermatologist or primary care physician.
Hair can stop growing or grow slowly for a variety of reasons including age, genetics, hormones, or stress. You may notice your hair stops growing in one spot or seems to be growing slowly on one side.
There are plenty of treatment options for slow-growing hair, including:
- diet tweaks
- cosmetic procedures
Always check in with your doctor if you’re experiencing other symptoms in addition to hair loss or if your scalp is inflamed or irritated.