So you bought the hair vitamins.
You got a few recommendations for them. You were on their website.. you looked through the before and afters. You went through the reviews. You checked the 1 stars too. They shipped. Shipping delays suck.. you waited. They arrived. They taste really good. They taste almost too good. You don't forget to take them. Most days you wish you could take more than two.
30 days pass.. you barely notice a difference. You toss out the empty bottle defeated, and say "ugh, these didn't work for me." BIG MISTAKE.
How Hair Growth Works:
You are suffering from postpartum hair loss, or maybe you had surgery, or contracted Covid ...and now your hair is falling out in chunks. Scary right?
You want a quick fix but the truth is while beneficial, hair growth supplements won't give you overnight results. In fact most won't after a full month of use.
Under normal circumstances, Hair moves in cycles (4 cycles to be exact: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen):
Each phase lasts for a different length of time.
1.The Anagen Phase:
The stages of hair growth begin with the anagen phase. It’s the longest phase, lasting about 3 to 5 years for the hairs on your head, though for some people a single hair could continue growing for 7 or more years.
At any time, about 90% of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase.
2. The Catagen Phase (Transition):
The catagen phase starts when the anagen phase ends, and tends to last about 10 days give or take. During this phase, your hair follicles shrink and hair growth slows.
The hair also separates from the bottom of the hair follicle, but will remain in place during its final days of growing.
Only about 5 percent of the hairs on your head are in the catagen phase at any given time.
The telogen phase typically lasts around 3 months. An estimated 10 - 15% of your scalp hairs are in this phase (again, this is under normal circumstances- ).
Hair doesn't grow during the telogen phase.
The exogen phase is essentially an extension or a part of the telogen stage of hair growth.
During the exogen phase, hair is shed from the scalp, often more noticeable during showering or brushing.
Losing 50 to 100 hairs per day during the exogen phase is normal.
*If you are postpartum this number is amplified during postpartum hair loss to 300-400 hairs a day.
Because this resting and shedding phase lasts for 3-5 months. It is important to support the hair growth over the entirety of this time period to expect meaningful and noticeable results for growth.
How do hair vitamins help hair growth?
What hair vitamins are great at doing is getting hair in the growth stage to grow at a much faster pace.
So even if you are taking a maximum strength product, if you are starting it when your hair is in the Telogen or Exogen phase, this becomes a task.
A hair vitamin: when taken consistently; prior, or at the start of the cycle, can usually keep it more minimal (think 3 months vs. 5+).
A good hair vitamin is able to do this by supporting hair growth with all the possible vitamins and nutrients hair follicles need to grow, and by optimizing scalp health.
The importance of vitamins for a healthy scalp:
Keep in mind scalp issues such as dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis are linked to rough hair, hair breakage, and reduced hair shine.
Additionally, poor scalp health associated with these conditions may also lead to premature hair loss.
Maintaining a healthy scalp and healthy hair can prevent many causes of pattern hair loss and encourage the growth.
B vitamins are incredibly important to keep up because they help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
It's important, especially for postpartum moms, to keep up vitamin intake for months after delivery - ensuring hair and scalp health is supported.
This is especially true when you take into consideration breastfeeding mothers, who share an incredibly amount of their nutrition, oftentimes leaving them depleted.
What to Expect from a Hair Vitamin?
While you are waiting for the shedding to end there are actually some great perks of taking a hair vitamin aside from less shedding and faster hair growth: These can be seen after 2-3 months of use:
- Oil glands on the scalp get reactivated: This regulates sebum and also provides a nourished moisturized scalp.
- Hair appears shinier: hair that is more moisturized from the scalp down appears healthier and with a better sheen.
- Hair is softer and less brittle: less brittle hair means less hair breakage. This is huge for those who are already experiencing hormonal hair fall.
Who can benefit?
Many start looking for away to improve hair health after a significant life event, hormonal change, or illness has triggered hair loss.
A postpartum or menopausal woman, someone recovering from illness (Covid), surgery, or depression, or increasingly those experiencing increased hair loss or weakened hair caused by dieting.
Diets low in calories, and many weight loss diets, especially those that remove entire food groups can be a root cause (pun) for increased hair shedding and thin and weakened strands.
Additionally, diets that lack good nutrition can also inhibit hair health and growth.
If you relate to any of the above a hair vitamin may be a necessary addition to your supplement routine to ensure your hair can grow.
Keep calm and let's grow!
If at the end of the exogen (shedding phase) there is a lack of nutrients or a surplus of stress in the body causing inflammation, it can be harder to achieve healthy hair growth.
Of course it can be frightening to come off an intense shedding cycle and not see your hair growing back.
Keep up your vitamins, be gentle on your strands and yourself.
Less stress in your body will allow the vitamins you are taking to be used for your hair.
What often gets overlooked is that the vitamins you intake can be used for other areas of the body first if there is a need.
If your stress is next level high, and you are wondering why those vitamins you bought aren't working... they just might be, but haven't gotten a chance to support your hair yet.
Why aren't they working yet / Stress: Nutrition Stealers
Doctors call them Nutrition Stealers.
Consider stress little thieves of nutrition. It inhibits the absorption of key vitamins and minerals.
Stress triggers the fight or flight response which can inhibit digestion as well, meaning nutrition won't be absorbed like it should.
It's why so many new moms feel depleted and lacking energy. The body's stress response rapidly uses essential nutrients and at the same time its preventing the body from absorbing essential nutrients.
An awful cycle to be caught up in. The truth is postpartum moms are some of the most stressed people I know. Lacking sleep, new baby, upkeep, work, meals (literally the meal if you are breastfeeding), laundry, this list could go on probably indefinitely.
Your body views your hair as "non-essential" (gasp, I know you don't). If you aren't getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals for your hair, ti's going to route the nutrients to the bodily functions it does deem vital, and away from your hair follicles.
What does that mean? Your hair growth will suffer. Vitamins should be kept up until stressors have become minimal. One bottle of a hair vitamin might actually be supporting those body deemed vital areas. When kept up longer hair can actually start to experience the results you want.