Reading magazine articles related to hair, you are bound to come across the most frequently stated assumption that the hair on your head grows by an average of six inches or 15 centimeters per year. Should your hair be growing at a slightly more leisurely rate, you may become concerned that there is something wrong with you — particularly if you are currently attempting to grow your hair out to achieve a much longer length.
The fact is that human hair growth varies from individual to individual, but also that it depends to some extent on your ethnic background. Asians, a study found, typically experience the fastest hair growth at six inches a year. Caucasians achieve a typical hair growth rate of five inches, with Africans seeing a average of four inches a year. While these differences may seem quite huge, you are unlikely to physically notice by how much your hair has grown unless you use a ruler. or unless you are experiencing a medical problem that interferes with hair growth and that may even cause hair loss.
Conditions That Lead To Slow Hair Growth And Hair Loss
Certain medical conditions can slow down hair growth and even halt it completely. Let's take a brief look at the most common of those conditions.
"Alopecia" is a general term that refers to hair loss. Alopecia areata occurs when your immune system, for some reason, gets the impression that your hair follicles are dangerous foreign invaders that need to be eliminated. It leads to hair thinning and bald patches. In a rare condition called cicatricial alopecia, meanwhile, your hair follicles are replaced by scar tissue, again leading to bald areas. Traction alopecia, meanwhile, can be the result of tight and pulling hairstyles, which are more common among women of African descent.
Even less obvious conditions such as ringworm, folliculitis, and seborrheic dermatitis can result in the slowing down of your hair growth and even in some extent of hair loss.
Should you experience symptoms such as an extremely dry scalp, itchiness, burning sensations, and bald patches in addition to a noticeably slower hair growth, it is possible that you suffer from a medical condition that induces slow hair growth and that can be treated. In this case, seeing a doctor can be helpful.
Could You Be Deficient In Vitamins Or Minerals?
On a different level, nutritional deficiencies can also lead to slow hair growth. If you are deficient in vitamin A, C, D, B6, B12, or in iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and selenium, among many other vitamins and minerals, you may notice that your hair growth sows down. If you suspect that a nutritional deficiency could be at the root cause of your slow hair growth, do not hesitate to get tested. Special nutritional supplements that encourage the growth of your hair and nails and that promote healthy-looking skin are available, and you may benefit from them.
What If Nothing Is 'Wrong'?
If you have seen your doctor about possible causes behind slow hair growth, had tests and clinical examinations, and nothing showed up, it is possible — especially if your hair otherwise looks strong and healthy — that you are encountering nothing more than the normal rate of hair growth for you personally. Have patience, and your hair will eventually grow longer.
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