hair-growth-700

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

There is a spot, on the bottom right side of my head, down at the nape, that simply doesn’t want to cooperate with the rest of my hair. For about two years now, my frustration with it has hindered the progress of gaining as many inches as I would like because I’ve been super consumed with making sure my hair was even (which meant I kept trimming the faster side to keep it on par with the shorter parts) rather than getting to the root of what the problem was, so that I could put the shears down.

Today, I hope that you can reap from some of my personal experience because, the reality is, although it might seem like there are parts of your hair that aren’t growing, the reality is, so long as your hair follicles aren’t dead, your hair is always making progress. However, some hair flourishes more than others and, as you’re about to see, there are five main reasons why certain spots of your own head may be struggling more than you would like.

1. DNA

Basically, there are four stages of hair growth: anagen (growing), catagen (transition), telogen (resting), and exogen (shedding). Between the fact that each hair follicle is unique and people’s growing stage (which is what 90 percent of your hair is currently in) can last anywhere from 3-7 years, this plays a significant role in how long your hair grows. Unfortunately, as far as genetics go (if your growing phase is three years or seven), there’s not much you can do to change that. At the same time, it’s important to remember that your hair is always growing so, while some people you know may gain between 6-10” (maybe more) in a year while you seem to do about half that, things like a healthy diet (which “feeds” your follicles), exercise (which increases blood circulation to your scalp) and drinking plenty of water (because it hydrates your hair from the inside out) can all play a role in getting that “stuck spot” to thrive.

2. Stress

Heart disease. Asthma. Obesity. Diabetes. Headaches. Depression. Digestion issues. Wanna know something that all of these health issues have in common? They are all triggered by stress. Guess what else stress can do? It can affect your hair’s progress. That’s right. When you’re all stressed out, it can literally push your hair, prematurely so, into the telogen (resting) phase. And since there’s only one phase after that (shedding), I’m pretty sure you can see how stress works against, not for, you. Meditation. Prayer. Journaling. Exercising. Sex. Chewing gum. Reducing your sugar and caffeine intake. Taking a multivitamin. Hanging out and laughing with some of your favorite people. Getting onto a sleep schedule. These are just some of the things that you can do reduce the amount of stress that may currently be at peak levels in your life, so that you can avoid the resting phase, so that the stagnant part of your hair can continue to grow.

3. Sensitivity

Remember how I said earlier that each hair follicle is unique? This means that each one has its own shape, size, level of thickness and oftentimes texture too (which is why you can have multiple textures on your head). This was something else that I had to make peace with, when it came to the back of my head, in general, because it doesn’t grow nearly as fast as the front and my sides (especially my left side) does. The back also isn’t as strong or thick, so I’ve had to learn how to not treat it the same way as I do the other parts of my hair. It’s far more sensitive (i.e., susceptible to breakage) which means that I’ve had to handle it with extreme care. This includes on wash days, when I’m styling it and when I get it put into a protective style. In fact, when I’m getting braids or twists in my hair, I have to remind my stylist to go a little easier on the back (especially down on the right side, in my nape area) because of how sensitive that spot is.

4. Sleep Patterns

One day, I just might get around to writing an article about how much sleep affects hair growth. For now, what I will say is there are studies to support the fact that the natural hormone melatonin not only helps you to sleep soundly but influences hair growth in a positive way as well; that’s because it plays a role in extending your anagen (growing) phase. Another thing that helps your hair to grow? Not constantly sleeping on the same side. I know this from very up close and personal experience because the area of my hair that I keep mentioning? It’s on the side that I constantly sleep on. Between the putting pressure on these blood vessels for hours at a time and the friction that comes from moving around a lot throughout that night, that can also keep your hair from growing as much as you would like. So yeah, if you can, try and at least start to sleep on your least favorite side and definitely make sure you’ve got some satin pillowcases; that will reduce the fiction that that side experiences, significantly so.

5. Manipulation

This point right here, boy. You know what’s interesting about my own “stuck spot”? Even though I know it’s pretty fragile, even though I know that I sleep on its side too much, there was something in my mind that used to think that if I kept messing with it — constantly styling, adding new products, brushing and combing it — somehow, it would grow faster, when all it actually did was weaken it which caused my tresses to keep breaking off. While there is something to be said for giving the parts of your hair that don’t seem to grow (as fast) scalp massages, hot oil treatments and deep conditioners, other than those things, try and leave that area alone as much as possible. Because again, since hair is constantly growing, there’s a really big chance that one of the reasons why your own spot seems “stuck” is because you are touching on it too much. And like a rose with petals that can’t stand to be constantly touched, your hair is very similar — beautiful and strong…when left alone. Make sense? Exactly.