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Why Does Hair Growth Slow Down?

Why Does Hair Growth Slow Down?

Jul 21, 2022

Ako Stark

Hair growth throughout our lives is affected by a variety of things. The level of stress we are under, what we eat, and especially genetics all work together to either help or hinder your hair growth. There comes a time in all of our lives when hair growth slows down or even stops completely.  Some may even experience hair loss, under a very common condition called alopecia. With age, the health of hair may rely more on other products, as the natural facilities that control hair growth stop working as well as they used to. In this article, we will help you to gain a better understanding of how hair grows and why hair growth slows down. 

What is hair?

Hair is one of the most characteristic features for all mammals. It has various natural functions: protecting against external factors, thermo-regulation and being a resource for stem cells. Hair is a protein filament in the skin that grows from things called follicles. Follicles are actually found in most parts of the body, averagely, but people can have varying magnitudes of hair on their body. Without any medical factors, hair is typically found on the head of every person. 

It is primarily made up of alpha-keratin which is specifically found in vertebrates. Interestingly enough this protein is also found in horns, claws, nails, and the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. It is made up of two parts, the follicle and the shaft. Despite the natural purposes of hair, it has been used by people for the expression of such things as social status, age, sex, personal beliefs and religion throughout history. 

The Hair Follicle is a tunnel-like part of the epidermis that goes down into the dermis, one of the internal layers of the skin. The follicle is made up of two main segments: the papilla and the bulb. The papilla is the part which contains capillaries, tiny blood vessels that act as the vessel for the passing of nutrition to the bulb. The bulb is living part of the hair, and therefore the hair shaft actually grows from this bulb. Cell division in the hair bulb occurs every 23 to 72 hours, which is notably faster than the other cells of the body. 

The sheath of the hair is the outermost layer of the follicle. The inner sheath 

Follow the shaft to the opening of the hair’s oil gland, the sebaceous gland. The outer sheath follows from the opening through the length of the gland. A muscle connected to this gland contracts and causes the hair to stand up, as well as the secretion of oil from the gland. 

The oil the sebaceous gland secretes is called sebum and acts as a natural conditioner for the hair and skin. We produce the most of our sebum after puberty and as we age, less of this oil is produced by the body.

The Growth Stages of Hair

In mammals, experts are in agreement that there is a cycle of at least three stages governing the growth of hair. The cycle occurs in all mammalian hair although, depending on the species, the stages will happen in different ranges of time. In humans, the growth process for a single strand of hair may take anywhere from  three to eight years. 


The anagen phase  is the first phase of hair growth. This phase begins with the bulb, the living part of the hair, begins to grow. The follicle widens to make way for the new bud’s growth. The bulb is connected to the blood vessel called the papilla which feeds the bulb until it stops growing. The anagen phase is the most active part of the hair growth cycle. It is also the longest, spanning at least three to seven years for humans. In this phase, the hair spends all of its time growing. 

The hair shaft, which is the visible part of the hair that we see all the time, is made up of alpha-keratin, a protein found in vertebrates only. This is not part of the living structure of the hair, and is made up of two layers. The inner layer is called the medulla. The cortex makes up most of the hair shaft. The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair and is characterized by its scale like structure

During the anagen phase, hair grows approximately 1 cm every month. Hair length may vary because they have a shorter phase of growth. Longer haired people have longer growth phases. Head hair remains in the growth phase for the longest while eyebrows, eyelashes, arms and legs will have a growth phase of around a month to a month and a half. 

Also Read: How Hair Growth Works?


The catagen phase is the second phase of hair growth. And while it is possible that growth may still happen during this phase, it will stop eventually as less and less nutrients are sent to the bulb. The catagen phase may last around three weeks. The follicle begins to close, and the outer root sheath begins to shrink. The bulb also begins an ascent until it separates completely from the papilla triggering the next phase. The catagen phase is known as a transitional period when the hair ends its growth and enters its resting phase. On average, only around 6% of all the hair on your head is in the catagen phase. It takes place over one hundred days. The final part of this phase is the formation of what is known as a club hair 


This is considered by many hair experts to be the last phase of hair growth. In this phase, the hair rests. It is not growing. In this phase begins the growth of a new hair bulb. 6% of hair on the head is in the telogen phase at a given time and lasts around 100 days. The club hair completely forms and will eventually pull the hair out of the scalp. The telogen hair is also pushed out by the newly formed anagen hair.  Approximately 50 to 100 telogen hairs actually leave the security of the scalp per day. 

Growth is completely halted in this phase. 


Some experts believe there is a fourth phase in hair growth. This is known as the exogen phase or the shedding phase. Much of what goes on in the telogen phase happens in the exogen phase, as the exogen phase covers the latter  parts of the telogen phase. 

Does Hair Growth Slow With age?

As we get older, the rate at which our hair grows slows down. A typical example of the natural progression of aging hair besides gray hair would be bald spots. As discussed in the previous section of this article, hair loss is perfectly normal throughout nearly every stage of life in the average human. Some 50-100 hairs are lost per day. Yet, it is a transition that is almost invisible for the eye to notice as there are around 100 thousand hairs on the head at any given moment. Hair loss ensues when the rate of hair growth is lower than the rate of hair loss. There are multiple factors that govern this ratio throughout our lives, whether medical, psychological, or genetic. 

Hormones seriously affect the growth of hair on the human body. Only take a look at the differences between men and women, where men grow more hairs on their chest, back and face than women do. When we age, however, hormones in our bodies begin to change. This will typically affect the growth rate of hair and the rate of hair loss, causing a waning of hair growth in some, and balding in others. Hair growth simply slows down as we age, but hair loss is usually due to something genetic or hormonal.

As we age, the thickness of our hair also changes. Hair that was once thick and colorful, will become thin, brittle, and gray. The natural strength of youthful hair will ultimately subside, meaning that reliance on hair products to keep the hair healthy becomes more necessary. That is because as the hair weakens, it becomes more prone to other conditions not so great for a full head of hair. Breakages can occur as the hair thins. And things like male pattern baldness will make it even harder to keep that full head of hair. 

A certain common condition called androgenic alopecia, mostly found in older men is one of the main causes for hair loss.  Also called male pattern baldness, it is a form of hair loss caused by both genetic and hormonal factors. Early symptoms of this condition are a receding hairline, hair loss in the crown, and the development of the “M” shape at the base of the scalp. It is caused by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Androgenetic alopecia occurs when production of the DHT hormone is stunted. Therefore, most treatments that help this condition increase DHT levels, or stimulate hair growth in another way. 

Alopecia is a general term for hair loss.Though different kinds of alopecia are caused by different things. They almost always involve the quickening of anagen hairs to the telogen hairs. Essentially, this means that many hairs are prematurely kicked into the resting stage of hair. Most forms of alopecia are treatable, however, it is difficult to treat the forms of alopecia that are caused by genetics. 

How Hair Loss Progresses

By the age of twenty, one-fifth of men will go through significant hair loss. That percentage grows proportionally to age. For example, 30 percent will experience it in their 30s, 40 percent in their 40s, and so on. The symptoms are sometimes hard to notice as hair loss progresses gradually. Even still, the rate of growth is what slows down on most occasions, meaning that until the rate of hair growth is closer to the rate of hair loss, the effects will be less visible.  Some people will go through male pattern baldness and not even know they have it, because of the balance between these two rates. 

Stress and anxiety are also some of the main reasons people, especially men, experience hair loss at such young ages. The most common form of stress induced hair loss is telogen effluvium. It is a condition that is temporary, although, will vary in severity depending on the person. This condition is characterized by a premature stoppage of the anagen hairs into the telogen phase. In this phase of hair growth, the bulb is released from the papilla and forced upwards by the club hair. It will then be kicked out of the follicle awaiting a new anagen hair to take its place. However, in this phase, the growth of anagen hairs is stunted while the other phases happen in their proper time. 

Trichotillomania is a psychological condition caused by stress. It is characterized by many bald spots due to stress induced pulling of the hair. There are many things that cause trichotillomania like pregnancy, chronic illness, injury, relationship issues and financial concerns. 

Alopecia areata is a condition that is caused by the body’s immune system. In this case the blood being transferred to the bulb of the hair is responsible for attacking the follicles which causes the hair to fall out. In minor cases of this condition, there may just be a thinning of the hair, but in more extreme cases, bald spots.  

There are a number of stressful situations that cause hair loss. Fortunately, hair loss triggered by stress and anxiety are most easily treated, often indirectly, by treating whatever is causing the stress. Try these helpful tips for reducing stress that may help mitigate stress induced hair loss. 

  • ✓ Eat a healthy diet with lots of protein. This will increase hair strength and nutrients sent to the bulb. 
  • ✓ Exercise regularly to help manage the  physical effects of stress on the body.
  • ✓ Attract positivity by surrounding yourself with positive people. Stress and anxiety are often things conjured by our environment. Creating a healthy environment would do more than promote healthy hair growth. 
  • ✓ Seeking help from a therapist is often looked down upon as a sign of weakness. If you are experiencing a high amount of stress or anxiety, it is always okay to seek help. 
  • ✓ Hair care is often blown out of proportion.  Keep a steady routine and try to refrain from gimmicky hair products that will offer no results. Use natural products and supplements if hair loss is getting more extreme. And see a doctor before anything. 

How to Strengthen Hair and Slow Hair Loss

Regardless of other conditions that cause hair loss, people are likely to experience significant hair loss at older ages. For example, some 90% of people aged 90 experience this. Despite this, it is still possible to reduce the rate of hair loss without transplants, Propecia, or Rogaine. 

The first way to actively begin preventing hair loss is a good night's rest. Things like smoking and drinking also seriously compromise the hair’s fiber production. If you have ever noticed the hair of a smoker compared to that of someone who does not smoke, it is typically much thinner, more brittle. Avoid heavy hormone treatments and medications that are meant to  prevent  high blood pressure. Thyroid and testosterone replacements are also known to trigger hair loss. Looking to more natural methods to promote hair growth will secure more long term results whereas other means may cause further long term damages. 

Taking routine nutritional supplements will also help prevent hair loss. Grooming products that contain caffeine may also help hair growth. 

A proper routine for hair care products, especially shampoo and conditioner is pivotal to the maintenance of prolonged hair health. While stress, genetic conditions, and nutrient value are all things that can control hair growth, many people do not know that they seriously affect the health of their hair simply with the shampoo and conditioner they use and how they use them. 

Hair washing is important for good hygiene, but it is also important to do it properly so as not to damage hair in the process. Many people opt for cheaper products as well, which usually contain harmful products for the hair and scalp, or may strip too much of the vital oils the hair relies on to stay strong. 

Shampoo is soap. It is responsible for cleaning the hair of oils and washing away residue picked up throughout the day. After choosing a natural, fortified shampoo, it is important to use it in the right way, according to hair’s natural routine for health. The scalp produces its own oil, and while shampoo will make sure that the oil is able to circulate, it is important that this is not done on the roots, the parts of which receive the least amount of oils from the scalp. Shampoo should be applied directly to the scalp with great care not to let the majority of it reach the ends. This is particularly necessary for those who have long hair. 

Conditioner is an important part of a hair washing routine. While it is not as necessary for those with short hair, those with long hair will be able to maximize its benefits with proper use. The purpose of conditioner is to nourish the hair with natural oils. However, while the scalp is sufficient in its production of oil in the average human, it is not necessary to use conditioner on the scalp, but the shaft and ends that do not get much of those vital oils. Apply conditioner near the ends to ensure proper growth .

Hair cutting is also an important step for hair growth, despite the common belief that it will just keep hair short. The anagen phase occurs over the course of several years, but as hair grows the ends get thinner and thinner until even the growth is stunted. By getting the occasional trim, you allow your hair to grow as it is meant to. A routine trim will reduce the likelihood of split ends which, in the most extreme cases, will put hair growth on an indefinite pause.

Also Read: Are Hair Growth Products Safe?


Hair growth may slow down in individuals for a multitude of reasons. Apart from the genetic conditions we may face, preventing hair loss over time is possible with certain techniques and treatments. Environmental factors, natural supplements and proper hair care are all ways to mitigate the loss of hair over time. 

As we age, we run the course of significant hair loss with the percentages increasing over time.While we cannot escape eventual significant hair loss, we can look for certain methods to lessen the rate at which we lose hair. Methods that increase hair growth and strength are most important for this as with age our hair becomes more brittle, meaning that more factors could cause hair loss as we age. 

It is important to keep an environment free of too much stress as stress and anxiety are key factors that can cause severe temporary hair loss. Living a generally healthy lifestyle is important to maintain a healthy head of hair. 

Some hormonal conditions may cause the loss of hair, but these are typically treatedable, especially when considering the DHT hormone which is exclusively found in hair. Ingestion of protein is also another great way to improve hair health and strength.  

Proper hair care is often overlooked for cheaper methods, or people fall into gimmicky products not actually suited for their hair. Knowledge of your hair, and knowledge of the correct way to use the products you put in your hair will help you that much more in maintaining a strong head of hair. For more common  things like shampoo and conditioner, using them in the proper way will help immensely, while not using them in the correct way will cause discomfort and stunted growth. 

If you are concerned about your hair growth and health, be sure to see a doctor. Consider also trying Universal Hair Growth Oil with proven results to put your hair growth completely in your control.