There are many naturals who want to grow long hair. Many want to do this fast!! Today, I would like to discuss the science of long hair. I have just learned now that nothing is out of bounds for naturals from using KY for moisture (not a bad idea) to using birth control and yeast cream to increase hair growth (not a great idea).
Science by its very nature is not static, what I say today may change in future. I can, however, report that currently NOTHING can accelerate hair growth. To define this better, I mean that nothing can make your hair grow 2 inches in one month if it is not capable itself of doing this (My husband’s hair actually does grow at just over 2 inches a month in the summer - I'm responsible for the hair cuts and the aim is to go as short as possible so I don't have to cut it again - never works ).
Can a change in diet change the growth rate?
Actually studies say that changes to a normal diet do not affect growth rate. This means increasing or using supplements when you are already having a healthy diet will not affect your hair growth rate . In fact changes to hair growth are most commonly seen with extreme starvation (Clin Exp Dermatol;27(5):396-404, 2002).
Are supplements not useful?
Supplements can be useful, for example iron and amino acid L-Lysine can help with hair shedding (not growth). However excessive vitamin E can lead to slower hair growth and excessive vitamin A can lead to hair loss. (Clin Exp Dermatol;27(5):396-404, 2002)
So why do people swear by miconazole nitrate(yeast cream)?
I think this is purely experimental. The problem is not many people do proper experiments, nobody measures their hair growth before and after. Nobody considers that hair sometimes grows faster in the summer than the winter. There are too many inconsistencies to make a good judgement.
It is actually normal to have yeast and bacteria on our skin and scalp. I think it is not good to medicate yourself if you are not unwell.
What about birth control?
Actually this is more complicated than it seems, female hormones in women especially estrogens are known to surpress hair growth but increase the growing phase duration and decrease the resting phase (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 122, 840–842, 2004 ). The effect is different in men. Again, birth control is a medication, use it only as directed.
But what about emu oil, grapeseed oil and even garlic?
These have all been used for treatment of hair loss (mainly alopecia areata) which is very different from just wanting to accelerate hair growth. New growth is usually just regrowth of hair from the follicles.
Leila over at BGLH asks - What about MSM?
There are studies on sheep that show enhanced hair growth. There are also studies on horses which show no difference in otherwise healthy horses. I am yet to come across human studies at all, most reports are from practitioners who say that the supplement may aid in normal growth by ensuring sufficient sulphur supplies (not accelerated growth).
So nothing, really nothing?
Yes...well actually one author had a tongue firmly in cheek suggestion that a head injury could cause increased growth but this is not recommended (The Journal of Cell Biology, Vol. 176, No. 7, 891a,2007 )
So, What is your view on the growth enhancement topic?