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Hair can be funny. Sometimes, it feels like you shaved your legs just yesterday, yet hair grows back the next day or with the chill of a breeze. On the other hand, the hair on our head can feel like it grows painstakingly slow, especially if you’ve had one of those a-little-too-short haircuts.
What’s up with that? If you’re wondering, How much does hair grow in a year? we got you. We’ll be giving you the 101 on how fast hair grows in a month to a year, along with some common causes that can slow down hair growth.
While it may seem like your hair grows a ton slower (or maybe faster) than those around you, it probably falls somewhere around the average of 0.35 millimeters a day. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Hair grows 2.45 millimeters a week.
Hair grows about half an inch per month.
Hair grows roughly 6 inches a year.
And it comes down to genetic factors, which are responsible for the length, density, color and texture of hair.
Your hair follicles cycle through three stages called the anagen, catagen and telogen phases.
Anagen phase. The anagen (or growth) phase typically lasts between two to six years. This stage is where primary hair growth occurs. At any given time, somewhere between 85 and 90 percent of hair follicles are in this growth phase.
Catagen phase. Next comes the catagen phase, also known as the transitional stage of a hair follicle. In this phase, your hair follicle can shrink down to one-sixth of its diameter. Note that this is totally normal as your scalp prepares to make club hairs. But if many hairs form club hairs at once and are then shed, it can give the appearance of thinning hair.
Telogen phase. The telogen phase (also known as the resting phase) lasts approximately three months. This is when hair doesn’t grow or shed.
After these three phases, the inactive or dead hair is shed — which is why it’s totally normal to see errant hair strands on your pillow or in your hairbrush.
The scalp typically sheds 100 hairs each day. If you’re experiencing more shedding than this, it may be a sign of hair loss, like alopecia or telogen effluvium.
The short of it? Yep, age can affect your hair growth rate. Grays aren’t the only thing that comes with an AARP membership — hair growth can actually slow down as you get older.
While there isn’t definitive data to demonstrate the average rate of growth by age, research indicates that postmenopausal changes include decreased anagen hairs in the frontal scalp, lower growth rates and smaller hair diameters.
This is why it’s common to see hair thinning with age. If you’re starting to see signs of thinning, our guide to female pattern hair loss is an excellent resource.
Beyond age, other factors like genetics, hormones (consider menopause or thyroid disease), race and nutritional deficiencies may affect your hair growth rate.
Regardless of whether you’re Italian or Japanese, studies show that the wider the diameter of the hair itself, the faster it will grow. And, while researchers haven’t noticed a change in the actual hair growth cycle among Caucasian, African and Asian descent, they have noticed that African hair tends to grow slower.
This is believed to be due to its smaller-diameter fibers. Data suggests that this slower rate of growth can create up to a 5-centimeter difference in hair length between African and Asian hair in one year.
A nutrient deficiency can show up in your hair, leading to issues like dry, dull hair or temporary hair loss. Try to eat lots of whole foods instead of processed items, including protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and an appropriate amount of healthy fats.
While there aren’t any magic potions to make hair grow overnight, some things may allegedly help encourage growth.
You’ve probably seen rosemary oil make the rounds on your social feed for hair growth. But does rosemary oil actually work for hair growth?
In one study, patients with androgenetic alopecia were randomly assigned a treatment of either rosemary oil or 2% minoxidil. While no significant results were measured in either group at three months, both groups showed an increase in hair count by the end of six months.
So rosemary oil may help promote hair growth, but you’ll need to be patient while waiting for results.
Additionally, coffee may not just keep you from snoozing. Some evidence suggests caffeine’s easy penetration across the skin barrier makes it an ideal compound for topical application.
You might have noticed caffeine as a key ingredient in some eye creams. While the data is limited, it may not hurt to look for topical products that contain caffeine to pep up your hair follicles.
If you’re more worried about growth to cover thinning rather than simply wanting to grow longer locks, consider a hair loss treatment. You can learn more about hair loss in women in this guide that covers everything from root causes to solutions.
Even if you’re not experiencing severe hair loss, starting early with minoxidil can help thinning and widening hair parts, both of which can be common as you get older. Hair loss treatments work best when used as early as possible — ideally, as soon as you notice the first signs of hair loss emerging.
Though its mechanism of action isn’t totally understood, minoxidil is thought to help move dormant hair follicles into the anagen phase, meaning they start growing rather than chilling out. It also extends the duration of the anagen phase, so your hair follicles spend more time growing before each hair sheds from your scalp.
Minoxidil comes in a few forms, including:
Minoxidil foam. A 5% strength formulation, minoxidil foam is easy to distribute and has shown to support hair growth.
Oral minoxidil. This once-daily pill is easy to incorporate into your regimen without changing up your hair styling routine. Plus, studies have shown that low-dose oral minoxidil (OM) can be an effective treatment of numerous hair disorders, including female pattern hair loss (FPHL).
Sometimes, it may feel like your hair’s barely growing, acne is popping up and there’s hair sprouting on your chin. No fun, we know — but it’s likely connected to hormones.
Spironolactone can be used off-label for hormonally-related hair loss like androgenetic alopecia, blemishes or facial hair growth. This once-daily pill helps block androgen production that decreases the amount of DHT (the hormone that causes hair follicles to produce thinner, weaker hair follicles) in certain parts of the body.
If your interest is piqued, you may want to read our spironolactone guide for a deep dive into how it works. You can also get an easy online consultation if you’re interested in trying spironolactone.
Keep hair strong, prevent further hair loss (and encourage healthy hair growth!) by making sure you’re treating your hair like a queen. This means no aggressive towel-drying when you hop out of the shower, ’kay?
Here are some tips that can go a long way in helping your hair health:
Focus on scalp health. A healthy scalp is truly the root of healthy hair — no matter your hair type. Make sure to shampoo whenever your roots get oily, as excess buildup and sebum can lead to irritation and potentially hinder healthy growth. Use conditioner after every wash to hydrate the hair shaft since dry hair is more likely to get brittle and break. The right hair care products can help add moisture and strength to fend off breakage and damage.
Limit blow-drying. When using heat styling, use the lowest heat setting with continuous movement. And when you do use hot hair tools, keep them on the lowest heat setting, and continuously move your hair dryer or flat iron so it doesn’t burn your strands. These moves can prevent additional damage.
Limit coloring and chemical treatments. Embrace your roots — seriously. Schedule more time between hair color touch-ups, and don’t do multiple treatments at once. For example, if you relax and color your hair, space those things out by two weeks so you’re not inflicting too much chemical damage on your strands. TBH, damaged hair just doesn’t look great — think frizz and split ends. Get regular trims (even a slight bit) to keep your hair looking healthy. Learn more about preventing hair damage in our guide if you think you may need to give your hair more TLC.
Take a deep breath. For real — find ways to lower your stress, whether it’s meditation, doing yoga or breaking out of that toxic relationship. Stress and hair loss can be connected, causing issues like telogen effluvium (aka stress-related hair loss).
Eat whole foods. Eat a healthy diet filled with whole foods and micronutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can affect your hair, as micronutrients play a vital role in healthy hair development. Speak to your healthcare provider to rule out any deficiencies (like biotin or iron) and supplement accordingly.
Love this list? Check out our guide on how to get volume in your hair for more tips.
Hair growth takes time, so you’ll have to practice patience. But there are things you can do to encourage healthy hair. And if you’re nervous that your growth isn’t optimal, a hair loss treatment could be a good bet.
Here are the main takeaways about hair growth and age.
Slow and steady wins the race. Hair grows about 6 inches a year, so just hold onto the fact that good things come to those who wait.
Eat a balanced diet because a nutritional deficiency can affect your follicles and growth. Talk to your dermatology provider to find the right supplement for you.
Consider your age, as hair growth can slow down over time. Treatments like minoxidil can help amp up growth for fuller results.
If you’re looking to make a move on the path toward Rapunzel-like hair, start your online hair consultation today.
Sara Harcharik Perkins, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. She is the director of the Teledermatology Program, as well as the Associate Program Director of the Yale Dermatology Residency Training Program. Her research focuses on telemedicine and medical education. Her practice includes general medical dermatology, high-risk skin cancer, and procedural dermatology.
Dr. Perkins completed her undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania and obtained her medical degree at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She completed her medical internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by residency training in dermatology at Yale University, after which she joined the faculty.
Ahmad, M., Christensen, S. R., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). The impact of COVID-19 on the dermatologic care of nonmelanoma skin cancers among solid organ transplant recipients. JAAD international, 13, 98–99. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10518328/
Ahmad, M., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). Learning dermatology in medical school: analysis of dermatology topics tested in popular question banks. Clinical and experimental dermatology, 48(4), 361–363. https://academic.oup.com/ced/article-abstract/48/4/361/6869515?redirectedFrom=fulltext&login=false
Belzer, A., Leasure, A. C., Cohen, J. M., & Perkins, S. H. (2023). The association of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma with solid organ transplantation: a cross-sectional study of the All Of Us Research Program. International journal of dermatology, 62(10), e564–e566. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.16700
Ahmad, M., Marson, J. W., Litchman, G. H., Perkins, S. H., & Rigel, D. S. (2022). Usage and perceptions of teledermatology in 2021: a survey of dermatologists. International journal of dermatology, 61(7), e235–e237. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.16209
Asabor, E. N., Bunick, C. G., Cohen, J. M., & Perkins, S. H. (2021). Patient and physician perspectives on teledermatology at an academic dermatology department amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 84(1), 158–161. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491373/
Belzer, A., Olamiju, B., Antaya, R. J., Odell, I. D., Bia, M., Perkins, S. H., & Cohen, J. M. (2021). A novel medical student initiative to enhance provision of teledermatology in a resident continuity clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic: a pilot study. International journal of dermatology, 60(1), 128–129. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753449/
Cohen, J. M., Bunick, C. G., & Perkins, S. H. (2020). The new normal: An approach to optimizing and combining in-person and telemedicine visits to maximize patient care. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 83(5), e361–e362. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7316470/
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