Why Won’t My Hair Grow? The Top 10 Reasons Your Hair Stopped Growing

Man with beard on white isolat

Does it seem like no matter how much effort you make, your hair won’t grow?

It’s frustrating, but you’re far from alone. Most men experience thinning hair by the time they’re middle-aged, and even 40% of women show visible signs of hair loss by the age of 40.

Of course, hair loss doesn’t just affect the way you look. No matter your gender, a full head of hair sends messages of good health, sexuality, and power. For anyone whose hair stopped growing, the emotional results can be devastating.

Does that mean the situation is hopeless? Not at all! If you understand what causes hair loss, you can take steps to reverse and prevent it in the future.

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the most common reasons hair won’t grow. We’ll also explain some exciting hair restoration options you may not have heard about (yet). Read on to learn more!

1. High Stress Levels

Have your stress levels been through the roof lately? There’s a reason for that. Historians have ranked 2020 as one of the most stressful years in world history, right up there along with the Holocaust, the Civil War, and the Black Plague.

If your hair stopped growing during the events of the past year, it’s not surprising. It’s a medically proven fact that prolonged physical or emotional stress is detrimental to hair growth. The reason is that stress affects your hair’s natural growing and shedding cycle (but more on that in a bit).

Basically, three things happen when you experience prolonged stress:

  • Chronic or acute stress prematurely induces your hair into its resting (telogen) phase.
  • Stress is also a triggering or aggravating factor in hair loss disorders such as alopecia.
  • Secondary stress results from your reaction to thinning hair, leading to even more hair loss.

Sounds like a vicious cycle, doesn’t it? It’s easier said than done, of course, but reducing your stress levels could be the jumpstart your body needs to start regrowing hair.

2. Natural Hair Growth Cycle

Like it or not, your genetics may play a huge role in how well your hair grows (or doesn’t grow). Just like you can’t control your height or your eye color, you also have little control over your body’s natural cycle of hair growth.

Much like the change of seasons on the earth, there’s a normal cycle of hair growth, rest, and shedding. You could liken your hair’s growth phase to the springtime when everything blooms and grows. Then there’s the cycle of no growth, known as the dormant state, which is like wintertime for your hair follicles.

Just like a cold autumn season can cause the leaves to change color and fall early, certain things (such as severe stress or illness) can trigger your hair to prematurely enter its resting phase.

Here are the four stages of hair growth by their scientific names:

  • Anagen (a growth phase lasting between two to seven years)
  • Catagen (the hair follicles shrink for two or three weeks in preparation for rest)
  • Telogen (the resting phase, usually lasting about 100 days)
  • Exogen (the shedding phase when the hair falls out before a new anagen phase begins)

Remember that these four stages apply to each individual hair follicle. This means that, at any given time, each one of your hairs is in a different phase of this natural cycle. It’s also normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs per day as a normal part of the exogen phase.

If your hair won’t grow past a certain length, it’s likely due to a shorter than average anagen phase. Although you can take steps to make your existing hair healthier, there’s little you can do to alter the length of the growth phase.

3. Hormonal Imbalance

In many cases, the health of your hair is linked to your overall health. If your hair won’t grow despite your best efforts, there could be an underlying medical issue to blame.

One common cause, especially in women, is a hormonal imbalance caused by thyroid issues. The thyroid is a tiny gland that controls everything about your body’s function and metabolism. Conditions such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can have a direct effect on hair health and growth. 

It’s also common for women to experience hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or after giving birth. Among other symptoms, this can also result in postpartum hair loss.

Men aren’t immune to hormonal problems either. Although they usually struggle with different imbalances than women do, these conditions may cause hair loss on the head and reduced body hair growth elsewhere.

If you suspect hormonal imbalance may be causing your thinning hair, schedule a checkup with your doctor to discuss your concerns.

4. Alopecia Areata

You’ve probably heard the term alopecia to describe baldness, but what is it, exactly?

Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune condition that causes your body to attack its own hair follicles. Like most autoimmune diseases, it’s usually triggered by increased stress levels. AA can affect parts of the scalp, the entire scalp, and even other parts of the body.

An advanced case of AA is known as alopecia universalis (AU). Experts estimate that over 2% of Americans (6.8 million people) are at a risk for developing either AA or AU.

Although it’s considered an incurable condition, there are treatments available to manage the symptoms of AA. Corticosteroids that suppress the immune system are one popular option. Doctors may also use UV light therapy to promote better circulation and hair follicle growth.

Interestingly, most people develop signs of alopecia before the age of 30. Like many other autoimmune disorders, the condition isn’t fully apparent until after puberty.

If you’re diagnosed with AA, the good news is that it is possible to regrow your hair. However, as your hair moves through its natural growth and rest cycles, most people will experience significant hair loss again in the future.

5. Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies

“You are what you eat” applies just as much to your hair as it does to the rest of your body. Without the proper balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, your hair won’t grow as bountifully as it should.

Many people who seek medical attention for hair loss learn that they have nutritional deficiencies. Some of the most important vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy hair growth include:

  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Zinc
  • Fatty acids
  • Niacin
  • Biotin
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid
  • Protein 

If you discover you have a vitamin deficiency, your doctor may recommend taking a dietary supplement. Of course, you can also add more healthy foods that help with hair growth to your diet too.

6. Split Ends & Breakage

As mentioned above, it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs per day as part of the exogen phase. With new growth waiting right behind it, your body is more than capable of keeping up with this normal shedding cycle.

What if you seem to be losing more hair than you’re growing? You might not be losing it from the root. Split ends and hair breakage are two more common causes of thinning hair.

The average person’s hair will grow about six inches over the course of a year. If your hair seems to stay the same length after an extended period of time, breakage is the likely culprit.

We’ll talk more about overprocessing and heat styling in a moment. For now, you should know that it can lead to dry, brittle hair that causes the ends of your hair to split. Left untreated, this leads to total hair breakage.

To combat split ends, stick with a good schedule of trims. Getting your hair trimmed every three to four months will remove any split ends before they stretch farther up the follicle and cause your hair to break. As the health of your hair improves, you might be able to go longer between haircuts.

7. Hair Miniaturization With Age

Just like we lose muscle mass and bone density as we get older, our hair follicles also get thinner. Genetics plays a major role here, as certain people may experience stunted hair growth (“hair miniaturization”) earlier than others.

As a rule of thumb, the deeper-set your hair follicles are, the longer your hair will be capable of growing. If you’re genetically predisposed to hair miniaturization, your follicles will shrink as you enter middle age and beyond.

The result? You’ll still grow hair, but it will be duller, weaker, and more prone to breakage than in your younger years.

8. Overstyling & Overprocessing

No doubt you realize that heat styling your hair too often (blow drying, flat ironing, etc) will lead to damage. The same is true of frequent perming or dyeing or using chemical straighteners on your hair.

Your daily hairstyle could have a direct impact on hair loss and growth. Complicated styles that include a lot of combing or pulling (think tight buns or small braids) will damage your hair over time. Even a tight ponytail stresses the strands and makes them more prone to breakage.

To counteract these effects, try to keep heat styling to a minimum and avoid excessive combing or pulling. You should also look for shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that are free of toxic ingredients.

9. Underlying Scalp Problems

It’s easy to become so focused on our hair that we overlook the scalp it’s growing from. If your scalp is dry, flaky, sunburned, or otherwise unhealthy, you’ll find it a challenge to grow a healthy head of hair.

Keep your scalp moisturized by choosing hair care products and topical treatments that are rich in nutrients and moisturizers. If you’re prone to sunburn, be sure to wear a hat or sunscreen (or both) when you spend time outdoors.

Bonus tip: Brushing your scalp with a soft-bristled brush will increase circulation and draw oils away from the hair follicles.

10. Poor Hair Care Habits

If it seems like your hair stopped growing, it could be as simple as a bad habit you’ve adopted. Do any of the following apply to you?

  • Waiting six months or longer between trims
  • Overstyling and overprocessing
  • Choosing cheap, low-quality hair products
  • Using too much heat when styling
  • Aggressively combing or brushing your hair when it’s wet
  • Constantly running your hands through your hair
  • Not drinking enough water

Take a close look at your daily routine. You may discover that your thinning hair is the result of one or more bad habits.

Hair Won’t Grow? There’s a Solution!

Until recently, the most popular treatment for thinning hair was finasteride (Propecia). Although the drug is generally effective, it comes with some serious (and potentially permanent) sexual side effects.

Don’t want to take that chance? We don’t blame you. Fortunately, there’s an alternative solution for regrowing hair without the harmful side effects.

RU-58841 is a drug that shows promising results in the world of hair loss prevention.

Like finasteride, it also blocks DHT, but it does so only locally. This odorless topical treatment dries in less than 60 seconds. When combined with moisturizers and Vitamin E, it also helps to keep the scalp healthy and free of flaking skin.

Best of all, it won’t cause erectile dysfunction or other unwanted side effects. In fact, researchers have yet to find any known systemic side effects of RU-58841.

Say Goodbye to Thinning Hair for Good

As we’ve discussed, there are numerous reasons why hair won’t grow.

Some of them are genetic, while others are environmental. For some people, a simple in their hygiene or grooming habits could improve their hair growth.

If you’re still wondering, “Why won’t my hair grow?”, carefully consider each of the options listed above. Could any of them explain why your hair stopped growing? If you suspect a medical or genetic cause, schedule a visit with your doctor to look for underlying factors that could cause thinning hair. Whatever lies at the root of your hair loss, the situation isn’t hopeless. 

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