5 Tips On How to Grow Hair Longer and Stronger
Nioxin ad with long hair.
One of New York City’s leading celebrity hair care expert and restoration specialists, Dr. Robert Dorin, Medical Director of True & Dorin Medical Group, has helped many of his patients with thinning hair. Here he offers his top 5 tips on helping your client (and you!) grow hair longer and stronger:
- Use a ammonium or sodium laurel sulfate free shampoo as other types of shampoo over strips the natural oils of the scalp and hair. Always use a deep moisturizing conditioner after every shampooing, leaving it on for at least 3-5 minutes, rinsing in cool not hot water.
- Minimize shampooing frequency to two to three times per week if the hair is already damaged or dry. Always wash hair in warm (not hot) water and do a cool water rinse. The cool water will cause the keratin filled cells of the cuticle to clamp down and lay flat rendering the hair more shinny and insuring its natural integrity to protect the cortex of the hair shaft. Do not vigorously towel dry the hair rubbing it back and forth, as this lifts up the cuticle layer of the hair, making the hair rough and dull. Instead, use a super absorbent microfiber towel and gently blot the hair to absorb as much water as possible.
- Try to minimize the use or time of exposure of heat styling tools such as blow dryers , curling irons and flat irons as these can reach temperatures if 125-175 degrees. This can cause the water in the cortex of the hair shaft to expand and pop through, lifting up the cuticle layer, causing weak points at these locations, leaving hair in a vulnerable state known as Bubble hair. If using heat styling tools, then apply a thermal protecting product to the hair just prior to use, as this can help minimize the deleterious heat effects.
- Applying topical solutions that help preserve a healthy state or help repair the cuticle or cortex of the hair such as products that contain 18 MEA ( a natural lipid protectant layer of I damaged hair) can help rebalance moisture of the hair shaft and help strengthen the integrity of the hair shaft allowing hair to reach longer lengths before breaking. Over use of hair dyes and bleaching will actually damage the integrity of hair by removing the vital oils, and a natural protective lipid such as 18-methyleicosanoic acid (18-MEA) that protects and gives the hair shaft it's vital hydrophobic property. It also causes the protein structure to be altered and damaged as alkaline agents such as ammonium is used during the dying and bleaching process to lift up the cuticle layer giving access to the dyes and bleaching ( hydrogen peroxide) agents.
- A healthily nutrient rich diet provides the body with all the essential vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants needed to help keep cellular metabolism running at an optimal level .Try to eat a diet that supplies the necessary vital nutrients for optimum hair growth:
o Eat lean cuts of beef, chicken, fish, eggs, low fat Greek yogurt, broccoli, kale, lentils for high quality protein. The essential amino acids are vital to our hair growth as our hair is made up of 97% protein.
o Eat salmon, mackerel, herring. Sardines, walnuts, avocado and flaxseeds for the essential omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids needed to support supple, soft non-brittle hair.
o Eat foods rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C to help support natural sebum production, the natural oil that conditions our scalp and hair protecting it from a dry itchy state. Foods rich in vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkin seeds and apricots. Foods rich in vitamin C are kiwi, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, red peppers and blueberries.
o Zinc and silica are minerals known to be important as cofactors in hair growth. Zinc can be obtained by eating foods like Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, fresh oysters and eggs. Foods rich in silica are mango, cucumbers, beans, celery and asparagus.
o Copper is a vital mineral that is necessary for the enzymatic production of melanin ( the substance responsible for giving hair it's native color) Foods rich in copper are kale, spinach, mustard greens, shiitake mushrooms and cashews.
o Recent studies have indicated that vitamin D is also important to hair growth. Foods rich in vitamin D include cow’s milk, shiitake mushrooms and salmon.
o Vitamin E helps our follicles in the production of keratin ( the major protein of hair) and helps fight against DNA damage from ultra violet radiation via exposure from the sun. Good sources of vitamin E are soybeans and nuts.