The Rapunzel myth: Can hair really be grown long?
I personally love fairy tales. I even believe in it a little bit. The prince on the white horse, unicorns or enchanted forests – as long as no one proves me wrong, dreaming is allowed, isn’t it?? Where I am however completely out is Rapunzel. What the hell must she have swallowed to be able to pull a guy up a tower by his hair?? I could not even transport my friend from the floor to the sofa with my mane.
I could not even get my boyfriend from the floor to the sofa with my mane.
Yes, I know – exaggeration is as much a part of fairy tales as the happy ending. But the desire of many women for long, healthy and beautiful hair is not a fairy tale, but as real as ever. They don’t have to reach all the way to the ground, but there’s something about a well-groomed long mane of hair. Especially those of us who suffer from hair loss or have been trying for years to grow your mane beyond the shoulders are always looking for products that speed up the complex and usually lengthy process. The beauty industry is more than thankful for it and has been showering us with hair growth products in the last few years. I am rather skeptical about them, but I have to admit that I rarely have such long and healthy hair as I have at the moment. Whether this is due to the miracle cures? I honestly don’t know and that’s why, as always with complex medical issues, I got an expert on board. Dr. Livia Zanardo is a specialist in dermatology, a member of the GSAAM and the perfect person to ask her the question of all questions: Is it really possible to grow hair long?? Or is the whole thing rather a fairy tale?
Is it possible to grow hair really long?? Or is the whole rather a fairy tale?
Frollein Herr: The most important thing right up front: Can hair actually be "grown" long??
Dr. Livia Zanardo: "Yes, you can. If one provides by life-style and external circumstances, for the fact that it lacks the body at nothing. Hair is a luxury for the body. But first he has to see that all vital functions can be maintained, only then he has capacity for the hair. But you can’t get beyond the genetic predisposition."
F.H.: So it is genetically predetermined how long the hair can grow?
L.Z.: "Unfortunately yes. And with each one individually. With one the hair grows up to the hip, with the other possibly only up to the shoulders. Hair growth occurs in 3 phases: Growth phase, resting phase and failure. The growth phase is decisive for the length of the hair. It is 2-8 years. On average it is about 5-6 years in which the hair grows. Furthermore, it depends on the speed of growth. This is about 1-1.5 cm per month. Of course, there are also exceptions, which are then in the Guinnes Book of Records."
F.H.: What other factors determine hair growth??
L.Z.: "In addition to genetics, physical health also determines, resp. the optimal nutrient supply of the body, hair growth. As already mentioned, hair is a real luxury for the body and therefore it produces it only when everything is right and it has remaining reserves."
F.H.: What do you think of products that are supposed to promote hair growth?
L.Z.: "So far, no preparation can help over the individual genetics. But optimize it. Growth problems always occur when something is not in order. Then it can be quite useful to reach for products that promote hair growth. Unfortunately, there are so many possible disorders that a specific cause cannot always be found. The most common are hereditary hair problems, nutrient deficiencies, stress, illness, medication, hormone deficiencies and unhealthy lifestyles."
F.H.: Which ingredients can help?
L.Z.: " The choice of ingredients depends on the particular cause of growth problems. However, since disorders mainly shorten the growth phase, most active substances are aimed at lengthening the growth phase. The best known active ingredient is Minoxidil. Nutrients and hair building blocks form another large group of growth aids. Often several ingredients are combined to achieve a better result. L-cystine and keratin are building blocks of hair – caffeine and ginkgo promote blood circulation and metabolism. Vitamins (B,D,biotin) and minerals (zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, silicon) promote growth in case of deficiency. If there is no deficiency, even a high dose of active ingredients will not bring anything."
F.H.: How often should you cut your hair to make it extra long and healthy?
L.Z.: "The visual fullness of the hair can be influenced by the right haircut. That is, the hairdresser can ensure that the hair looks fuller. Regular tip trimming makes the hair look healthier on top of that, because it doesn’t look so "frayed". However, the total length becomes shorter with each haircut, since the hair length depends on the length of the growth phase and this is finite and cannot be influenced by cutting. On the contrary, who wants to have the maximum hair length should not cut the hair at all. Provided, of course, that the hair is healthy – otherwise it will simply break off at some point. When the end of the individual hair growth phase is reached, the hair goes into the resting phase and falls out after about three months."
F.H.: To what extent do hormones play a role?
L.Z.: "Hair grows particularly well in young women, which is why many have a flowing mane of hair. Full, long hair is a sign of optimal hormone status and thus a sign of fertility and youth. Hormonal impairment can occur due to the pill, pregnancy and menopause. A large part of hair growth disorders can also be traced back to a thyroid hormone disorder. The hormonal hereditary hair loss can be traced back to a significant shortening of the growth phases by dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Again, the hair no longer reaches your usual length."
F.H.: My hair has been longer for a few years than it ever was before. What could be the reason?
L.Z.: " A healthier lifestyle and/or better supply of nutrients. Maybe you have stopped smoking, eat healthier or have less stress. A happy partnership can also optimize metabolic processes in the body."
F.H.: Are there certain foods that promote hair growth?
L.Z.: " Basically, it is above all a healthy and balanced diet that promotes hair growth. Since in principle many vitamins and minerals are involved in hair growth, a colorful mixture of legumes, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and high-quality proteins is the guarantor for healthy and long hair."
Maybe Rapunzel neither smoked nor ate a lot of pizza. However, as is often the case with beauty, if you take care of yourself, eat healthily and provide your body with what it needs, you can actually influence the growth of your hair. I must say that in my case none of the points mentioned by the doctor have changed much in recent years. But who always knows for sure. I build in the meantime in any case on a few product aids, which do good to my hair. There are no miracles in this respect, but a little support has never hurt anyone. Therefore, here are a few products that I either swear by myself, or that I have heard a lot of good things about from my environment. If you already know or tried any of these, I am happy about feedback!
Liquid dietary supplement with silicon, biotin and hyaluronic acid: "The Hair Molecule" by FOUNTAIN, at € 49
Slows down the aging process of the hair: "Pre-Wash Treatment" by MICHAEL VAN CLARKE, at 41 €
Serum with caffeine complex that stimulates hair growth: "Hair Growth Serum Intense" by GROW GORGEOUS, at 50 €
Nourishes the scalp and reduces hair loss with essential oils: "Detox Serum" by ELIZABETHA ZEFI, at €72
Many of my colleagues swear by the capsules from the pharmacy: "Pantovigar", around 27 € (I also urgently need to test it soon)
Does not prevent hair loss, but reduces hair breakage and thus lets the hair grow longer: "Dream Length Shampoo" from ELVITAL, at 3 €
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