In very extreme cases however, top trichologist, Stephanie Sey, notes “the only treatment that is clinically proven to grow hair thicker and faster is minoxidil (commonly known as Regaine), however this medication is only used for those suffering with male or female pattern hair loss.”
What causes hair loss?
“Lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol and high sugar diets can lead to scalp problems,” says Michael Van Clarke, hairdresser and founder of 3 More Inches. Crash dieting can be detrimental, too. “As hair is a non-essential tissue, it is the first part of you to be deprived of nutrients when your diet is lacking,” says Kingsley, “therefore restrictive eating deprives your hair of nutrients and this can cause excessive hair shedding.”
It might be worth keeping an eye on how tight you tie your ponytail, too – “this can cause traction breakage and may even pull out hairs from their follicles,” says Kingsley.
How to grow hair faster?
In general, the healthier you are, the healthier your hair will be, so rather than simply turning to products, it’s important to keep an eye on your lifestyle.
A well-balanced diet
“Poor lifestyle and diet has limited effect on the rate of growth but does impact on the quality,” says Clarke. “Hair is made of 97 percent protein,” says top trichologist, Stephen Carson. “Hair needs sufficient regular amounts of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and water as well as the omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish, fruit and vegetables,” he adds.
“To ensure your hair is getting the protein it needs to grow, eat at least a palm sized portion of protein at breakfast and lunch. Great examples are fish, eggs, lean meat, low fat cottage cheese, quinoa and pulses,” says Kingsley. “To help ensure that your hair is receiving enough energy for growth (hair cells are the second fastest growing cells the body produces after bone marrow), include a portion of complex carbohydrates with each meal. I.e. brown rice, whole-wheat toast, potatoes with skin-on or oatmeal,” adds Kingsley.
“To enable your body to recover and repair itself, you need quality sleep,” says Carson. “If you have a stressed lifestyle, sleep is important for adrenal recovery.”
Supplements and vitamins
The experts all agree that a healthy, well-balanced diet should be the first line of defence. “Vitamin supplements shouldn’t be a substitute for a varied diet,” says Clake, “but they can help those with an unbalanced regime.”
“Your hair has especially high nutritional requirements which can be difficult to meet through diet alone,” says Kingsley. “Supplements can be very handy in that they provide your hair with easily accessible nutrients.”
Look for protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, Omega 3 and Biotin. “Biotin is especially important to keep the hair healthy because it functions in the synthesis of hair proteins like keratin. Lack of biotin has also been associated with hair breakage and hair loss,” says Clarke. Meanwhile, “B12 is especially important for vegans, as B12 is only found naturally in animal products,” says Kingsley. Philip Kingsley’s Tricho Complex Nutritional Supplement (£46) contains a blend of essential vitamins and minerals including biotin.