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Hair Not Growing? Exploring Internal vs. External Factors Affecting Your Hair Growth

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Image of curly girl pulling a few strands of hair downward.

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Your hair is one of the most important characteristics of your physical appearance. It can be frustrating if you find it stops growing or isn’t growing at the pace or length it should. But did you know that there are several internal and external reasons why your hair may not be growing? 

Hair may not grow because of internal reasons such as stress, poor diet, pregnancy, childbirth, certain drugs, hormonal imbalances, surgery, genetics, and age. External causes include product ingredients, tight hairstyles, product build-up, environmental factors, and over-processed and dry hair. 

While slowed or lack of hair growth exists and can be challenging, there are solutions. Read along to learn more about why your hair growth cycle might be disrupted and what you can do about it. 

Internal Causes for Lack of Hair Growth 

Hair grows at a pace of half an inch every month on average. As a result, the typical person’s hair increases by about 6 inches each year.

This is affected when internal factors in the body and lifestyle hinder your hair growth cycle. 

Check out the reasons discussed below: 

Stress

Image of a curly haired girl who looks stressed out.

The connection between hair loss and stress is something we hear about regularly. Stress majorly affects a person’s health in every way.

And that is the reason why you often read or hear professionals and experts talk about how reducing stress is so essential. 

Hair can be affected by stress in any form, whether physical or mental. It makes your hair more prone to gray prematurely and reduces the strength of the hair follicle, which may lead to your hair not growing (or hair loss). 

Telogen effluvium is a form of hair loss in which hair falls out quickly in short periods. It typically occurs after your body has been subjected to something physically or emotionally stressful (i.e., physical trauma, illness, fever, sudden weight loss) and can also result from sudden hormonal changes. 

While it’s difficult to avoid stress altogether, you can take measures to manage and reduce it. Practices like yoga, professional therapy, journaling, exercise, and essential oils can help to calm the mind and body. 

Poor Diet

Like with other elements of health and beauty, your diet has a significant impact on not just the condition but also how quickly your hair grows. Nutritional deficiency is one of the most common reasons for hair not growing. 

Image of curly girl holding a bowl full of vegetables.

Vitamin and mineral supplementation may aid with hair loss. Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy cell development and function, and a lack of these nutrients may lead to your hair not growing. 

While supplements are readily accessible and affordable, it’s crucial to understand which vitamins and minerals are required to treat hair loss.

Check with your doctor or a nutritionist to see if you’re deficient in nutrients, and ask for advice on which supplements to take. 

Menopause

Hormonal changes that occur during menopause may also cause telogen effluvium. As estrogen levels decline, more hair enters the resting phase. This can lead to increased hair loss and slowed hair growth. 

Childbirth

During pregnancy, more hair is in the growth phase for longer periods, and hair loss is reduced. But around three to six months after childbirth, some women experience massive hair loss. This is called Postpartum Telogen Effluvium, caused by the sudden hormone change. 

Image of curly girl holding a handful of shedded hair.

The good news is that this form of hair loss is usually temporary and resolves itself within six to twelve months.

During this period, you can bump up your hair care routine and diet to provide your hair with extra love and attention so it does not become a more severe or long-term issue. 

Certain Drugs 

Certain medications and recreational drugs can cause hair loss. If you suffer from a health condition and take chronic or specific medications to target particular issues, your hair growth cycle can be affected. 

Some of the most common drugs that are associated with hair loss include: 

  • Accutane, a medication used to treat acne 
  • Chemotherapy drugs 
  • Blood pressure medications such as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors 
  • Antidepressants 
  • Some birth control pills 
  • Hormonal imbalance 
  • Hormones can fluctuate for various reasons, including thyroid disorders, stress, menstruation, and puberty. 

Hormone Imbalance 

An imbalance in hormones can lead to hair loss and stunted hair growth. If your hair growth is stunted, it is best to consult a doctor and check your hormone levels to get to the root of the problem. 

Image of curly girl fanning herself with a blue fan.

There are a variety of reasons why your hormones may be affected. Once you get it checked, you can identify and address the root of the problem. 

Surgery 

Surgery can lead to hair loss depending on the procedure type, length of hospital stay, drugs used, and general nutritional status. It’s not unusual for people to have significant hair loss after surgery, and it may take months to grow back. 

Metal toxicity 

Hair loss can be caused by contact with poisonous chemicals in metal. People who work with metals, such as in a factory or workshop, may be susceptible to metal toxicity and hair loss. 

Genetics 

Hair loss can also be hereditary. If your parents or grandparents have a history of hair loss, you may also be more likely to experience it.

The hair growth cycle is unique to each individual, and proper hair care with a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of the pattern being carried over. 

Age 

The hair growth cycle changes as you age, and hair becomes thinner. This is a natural process, and very little can be done to stop it.

You can only take steps to try and maintain healthy hair. It is important to use gentle, nourishing hair products and avoid over-styling. 

A lifetime of using heat styling, chemical processes such as bleach and color, and a less-than-ideal diet may weaken your hair as you age.

Additionally, the scalp produces less oil as we age, resulting in coarser, drier hair and a higher risk of breakage. 

If you experience excessive daily hair shedding for more than three months or significant shedding that has not improved despite treatment, see a trichologist or your doctor, as there could be an underlying factor that needs to be addressed. 

External Factors for Hair Not Growing 

If you’re having trouble growing hair, reviewing all aspects of your lifestyle is crucial to see if anything can be improved.

External factors can also significantly affect your hair growth cycle and lead to substantial hair loss.  

The following are some of the most common external reasons for stunted hair growth: 

Heat Styling Tools 

We all want gorgeous-looking hair, but it should never be at the expense of your hair’s health. Heating tools can burn your hair, especially without protectant.

It can change your hair’s natural texture, weaken strands, and cause long-term damage like hair loss. 

Reduce your blow dryer from high heat to a medium or low (cool) setting. Alternating or going an extra day without heat can improve the condition of your hair.

Protein treatments or deep conditioning treatments may help to repair hair damage from styling tools. 

Hair Care Product Ingredients

Image of curly girl shopping in a store and looking at products on a shelf.

Some ingredients can benefit hair health and help promote growth, while others can cause more damage.

Not all hair does well with silicones, sulfates, drying alcohols, and certain oils. Always check the labels and follow trial and error to discover the best products for YOUR hair. 

Tight Hairstyles

Tight ponytails and buns might look nice, but they can cause serious damage to your hair health. Trust me. I have experienced this firsthand. Elastic bands pull the hair strands causing friction which may lead to fraying and split ends. 

Braids are another style to avoid overdoing to preserve your hair’s health. Extremely tight braids can physically pull the hair away from the roots, causing splitting, hair, and follicle damage, leading to breakage, hair fall, slowed growth, and weak strands. 

Product Build-Up 

Your scalp may be suffocating due to oil and grime. Product, mineral, and dirt build-up can hinder your hair’s ability to grow properly. The grime can clog the follicles and prevent treatment products from being absorbed properly. 

At least once a month, treat your hair to a deep cleaning chelation or clarifying session. This will help remove all the build-up on your scalp and hair and improve your hair’s health. 

Dry Hair

Image of woman applying conditioner to her hair.

Many folks rush or skip the conditioning process during hair care. But it is vital to feed your hair with the necessary nutrients and moisture.

When washing your hair, leave your conditioner in for a few minutes, concentrating on the mid-shaft and tips. And don’t rush this process! 

Breakage 

If your hair isn’t getting the attention or care it requires and is breaking off at the same rate as it grows, it will stay the same length all year unless you change your level up your hair care routine and change things around to give your hair what it needs to thrive.

Image of hair loss in hands.

The most common type of hair breakage is caused by improper handling and excessive use of heat-styling tools, chemicals, and dyes. 

Over-processed Hair 

Using too many chemicals or dyes may make your hair dry and lifeless. Bleach and other products that strip your natural oils or are infused deep into your hair shaft and scalp can hinder your hair growth and cause damage. 

Try to keep color and chemical treatments at a minimum and give your hair plenty of time to recover between sessions. 

Trauma to the Scalp 

If you have an injury on your scalp and got surgery or stitches, that section of your scalp might struggle with regrowth.

Chemical treatments can also cause burns and damage to the scalp and disrupt the hair growth cycle. 

Environmental Factors 

Pollution, smoke, sun exposure, and other toxins can also affect hair not growing. This might be difficult to avoid, but you can take steps to reduce being affected.

Wearing hats or using leave-in conditioners and protectant serums and occasionally clarifying can reduce excessive damage. 

Lack of Exercise 

Both exercise and a healthy diet are essential for hair development. Exercise regularly to increase blood flow and promote hair growth.

Blood flow to your scalp is food for your roots and follicles. A lack of it will drastically reduce hair growth and cause hair fall. 

Too Many Split Ends 

Split ends may not stunt your hair growth, but they limit the progress of your hair growth. This is because they take away from the length of your hair. They also cause breakage.

You want to ensure your hair gets proper nourishment from root to tip to prevent split ends.

Image of girl looking at the ends of her hair.

When you notice split ends, ensure you get a haircut as soon as possible to prevent split ends from traveling up the hair strands and causing more damage.

Every six to eight weeks is a suitable time to get a haircut when struggling with split ends. 

How to Improve and Promote Healthy Hair Growth  

You can do several things to help promote healthy hair growth, both from the inside and outside. Below are some tips: 

From the inside: 

Follow a healthy diet with plenty of iron-rich foods and protein. Try to avoid excessive calorie restriction and try your best to reduce stress. 

From the outside: 

Use good quality products designed for your hair type, and avoid using heated styling tools as much as possible. Try to limit your exposure to environmental factors that can damage the hair shaft. 

If you continue to experience problems with your hair growth cycle, it’s best to consult your doctor or a trichologist to get correctly diagnosed and treated. 

Conclusion 

Now you have more insight into why your hair may not be growing or why you experience significant hair loss. Professional help is always advised to ensure you’ve covered all your bases. You can start your journey to long and healthy hair with the proper diagnosis. 

HI,I'M VERNA

I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

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