How Hormones Influence Hair Growth
By Tamim Hamid Posted on 01/15/2022

How Hormones Influence Hair Growth

Hair serves as a vital component of one’s self-image, reflecting personality and style. It influences confidence and personal style. Yet, many individuals have no idea about the factors which includes hormones, play a significant role in hair growth and health. It is crucial to understand the relationship between hormones and hair growth to comprehend the complexities of hair health.

So today, we're going to talk about how hair grows, hormones influence on hair growth as well as hair loss, and which hormone is responsible for hair growth.

Understand How Hair Grows

Hair growth occurs in a cycle with mainly three phases: Anagen, catagen, and telogen.

Anagen Phase: This is the active growth phase in which the hair follicles divide rapidly and hair strands grow. The phase duration varies typically lasting anywhere from 2-7 years. The longer the anagen phase, the longer the hair can grow.

Catagen Phase: In this phase, the hair growth stops. It last for a few weeks, during which the hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the dermal papilla, which is the structure that supplies nutrients to the hair follicle.

Telogen Phase: This is the resting phase when the old hair is released and sheds. This phase lasts for around three months, and after this phase, the follicle re-enters the anagen phase. Afterwards, new hair begins to grow, pushing out the old one.

Get to know more about the hair growth cycle.

Hair growth rate varies between individuals and depends on several factors, including genetics, age, health, and even environmental factors. The growth rates typically average around 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) per month.

Each hair follicle operates independently, which is why different hairs on your body might be in different phases of the hair growth cycle at any given time. Also, not all follicles actively produce hair simultaneously. That's why some areas may seem to have more or less hair growth.

How Hormones Impact Hair Growth

Hormones wield a profound influence on the hair growth cycle. The changes in hormone levels can affect the hair growth cycle of hair follicles and even lead to hair loss or excessive growth in certain areas.

Androgens: These are a group of hormones, including testosterone, a major male hormone, that converts into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which affects hair follicles' growth phases. Testosterone is typically considered a male hormone but it is present in both males and females.

Estrogen: Estrogen is a primary female sex hormone, but it’s present in males as well in smaller amounts. Estrogen contributes to hair growth and can increase the time hair spends in the anagen (growth) phase. The changes in estrogen levels during pregnancy or menopause can also impact the hair growth cycle. Also, some women might experience thicker hair during pregnancy due to increased estrogen levels. However, during menopause, it might lead to hair thinning or loss when estrogen decreases.

Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, also impact hair growth. Both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can lead to hair loss or changes in hair texture. It can also disrupt hair growth cycle, when hormone levels are imbalanced.

Cortisol: It is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Chronic stress can elevate cortisol levels, which lead to hair thinning or hair loss. Extreme stress can also trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, in which hair follicles enter the resting phase prematurely and hair sheds more than usual.

You might want to read more on stress induced hair loss.

Addressing Hormonal Hair Loss

Hormonal hair loss can be challenging, but there are several approaches to address it:

Balanced Diet: Ensure that you are getting all essential nutrients like protein, vitamins (especially D and E), minerals (such as iron and zinc), and healthy fats. These nutrients are also crucial for healthy hair growth and hormone regulation.

Stress Management: Chronic stress may contributes to hormonal imbalances. Practicing stress-inducing activities like doing yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help managing stress levels.

Hormone Therapy: Depending on the underlying cause, a healthcare professional might suggest hormone replacement therapy or medications to balance hormone levels.

Prescription Medications: For certain conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders, there are some specific medications that might be prescribed to manage hormone levels and subsequently reduce hair loss.

Avoid Harsh Treatments: Minimize the use of harsh chemicals, heat styling, and tight hairstyles that can damage the hair and exacerbate hair loss.

Conclusion

In understanding the intricate relationship between hormones and hair, it’s evident how crucial these biological compounds are in dictating the health and growth of our precious locks. From the active phases of growth to the resting periods and shedding, hormones control this complex process.

Balancing hormones isn’t just about maintaining bodily functions; it’s about nurturing the health and vitality of our hair. The impact of androgens like testosterone and its conversion to DHT, the role of estrogen in extending growth phases, the thyroid hormones’ influence on texture, and even cortisol’s stress impact. All these underscore the profound influence hormones have on our hair health.

Addressing hormonal imbalances that affect hair isn’t always straightforward, but there are multifaceted approaches available. Among these, the Theradome laser hair growth helmet is one of the treatment methods that can complement your other hair growth approaches. Theradome employs low-level laser therapy, stimulating hair follicles and promoting hair growth. Its non-invasive nature and focus on rejuvenating follicles can be an adjunct to lifestyle changes and medical interventions in addressing hormonal hair issues.

FAQs

Which hormone is responsible for hair growth in males?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), derivative of testosterone is primarily responsible for stimulating hair growth in males. Testosterone is a key androgen that converts to DHT through an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It binds to hair follicles and can either stimulate hair growth or inhibit it, depending on the area.

Does estrogen help with hair growth?

Yes, estrogen can contribute to hair growth, particularly in females. Estrogen, one of the primary female sex hormones, plays a role in maintaining the hair growth cycle and overall hair health.

Estrogen extends the growth phase of hair, leading to longer periods of active hair growth. This hormone also helps to keep hair in the growth phase and prevents it from prematurely entering the resting phase (telogen phase). As a result, women often experience thicker and fuller hair due to the influence of estrogen in the hair growth cycle.

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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.