1. Addictions: Yes! Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine—when consumed in excess amounts—can rob the body of essential nutrients your hair needs to thrive. In addition, smoking has been conclusively proven to prematurely harden blood vessels, restricting blood flow and damaging capillaries (tiny blood vessels that pass blood from arteries to veins). Limited blood circulation means VERY little stimulation for hair growth. To avoid stunted growth, consume these stimulants in moderation.
2. Dehydration: Insufficient water intake not only leaves your hair dry and brittle, but can completely halt hair growth altogether. Here's why; water nurtures the cells that divide and grow your hair, so when cells aren't being adequately lubricated they cannot perform their job properly. To be certain your body is receiving sufficient water, the Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume an average of 9 cups per day while men consume an average of 13 cups.
3. Fatigue: Chronic lack of sleep can affect your body’s chemical balance, which can stunt hair growth—or even cause hair loss. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, but 7-9 hours of rest per night is highly recommended for adults, according to Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. Even more so, it is essential to establish a regular sleep schedule when you are guaranteed to get a quality night’s rest.
4. Laziness: Getting that blood flowing is not just good for the body, but can also work wonders for your hair. Regular exercise gives the body the circulation it needs to promote hair growth and maintain healthy tresses. Studies prove that inactivity contributes to stress which produces a hormone called cortisone. This hormone is known to stop hair follicles from growing altogether. Exercise can help combat this hormone as increased activity reduces the amount of cortisone present in the body. To be certain you are getting enough exercise, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend working out for 30 minutes at least five times a week.
5. Nutrition Deficiency: It’s not rocket science, healthy looking hair often grows out of healthy bodies. Since your hair is the last part of your body to receive nutrients, hair growth may be stunted when there isn’t enough to go around. Eat the foods your hair loves, such as lean meat and poultry, eggs, yogurt, broccoli, spinach, and fish rich in Omega 3’s. These foods are excellent sources of protein and are proven to have positive effects on hair growth.
6. Improper Hair Care: Excessive heat, roughhousing, and failure to thoroughly moisturize are all practices that can keep the hair breaking just as quickly as it grows. Remember, your natural strands are VERY delicate and demand the proper TLC to thrive. Be sure to keep those blow dryers and flat irons under the recommended 347 degrees Fahrenheit (or low/medium setting), be gentle when handling or detangling, and always remember that dry hair is the prerequisite for breakage.