Does men’s hair grow faster? See what affects hair growth

A man and woman have regretted cutting their hair and are now looking forward to the day when their locks return. Whose hair will grow faster? The answer is, it depends.

On average, hair on a healthy scalp grows between 0.8 and 1.2 cm per month, or about 12 cm per year. But this speed can vary from person to person, depending on factors such as genetics, ethnicity, age, diet and the presence of certain diseases.

Hair grows in cycles. Each strand grows for nearly six years, then enters a three-month resting phase and falls off. The locks work at different rates. So while some hairs might be growing on your head right now, others are growing and there are those that will cover your pillow as well.

Does gender affect growth? Some people have the perception that men’s hair grows faster than women’s. But a person’s gender, by itself, doesn’t make a significant difference in the stage of hair growth.

An old survey on the subject, from 1990, showed that women’s hair grows by 3.02 millimeters every 10 days and, in men, by 3.40. It’s a small difference. Larissa Tozzi, dermatologist and specialist in hair and scalp diseases at Hospital das Cínicas da UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco).

Why do we have this impression? This may be related to the fact that most men cut their hair more regularly than women, giving the impression that hair grows back faster.

Tozzi explains that the rate of hair growth can vary according to the characteristics of the individual. See some examples:

  • A woman with a healthy scalp will definitely see her hair grow faster than a man who has been diagnosed with a hair disease, for example.
  • The scenario also varies between people of the same gender. It’s possible for an Asian man to see his locks multiply faster than a man of African descent (see below, in the “ethnicity” topic).
  • At the same time, a woman on very restrictive diets may lose more hair than a person who eats well (understand the topic of “restrictive diets”).

In transgender people, hormone therapy can alter hair growth:

  • In trans men the tendency is for a reduction in the speed of hair growth and hair loss, as the levels of testosterone (male hormone) reach levels similar to those of cis men, while in trans women the opposite also occurs, with improvement in the autumn .

Find out how 8 factors influence hair growth and rate of hair loss

1. Genetics

Genetic factors are responsible not only for hair color, but also for hair density, texture and growth.

Hair is born, grows and dies. This growth is genetically predisposed. There are people who will grow 3 years flush, there are people who will grow 7, 8 years flush. Violeta Tortelly, coordinator of the hair department of the SBD-RJ (Brazilian Society of Dermatology of Rio de Janeiro).

In men genetically predisposed to hair loss, for example, the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) causes the miniaturization of the hair follicles responsible for producing hair. That is, the hair becomes thinner and thinner and the overall volume of the strands decreases.

Genetics and age are factors that influence hair growth

Image: supersizer/Stock

2. Age

Thinning and hair loss are natural processes that accompany aging. This is because hair undergoes gross and cellular changes with age.

The period of puberty (8-13 years), for both men and women, is characterized by an increase in hair growth and thickness, due to the higher levels of male and female sex hormones, which are observed in this phase and which continues throughout adolescence and early adulthood. Leonardo Parr, endocrinologist on the board of SBEM-SP (Brazilian Society of Endocrionology and Metabology of São Paulo).

3. Ethnicity

Research shows that a person’s hair growth rate and density are closely related to where they come from.

A study published in 2016 by the scientific journal European Journal of Dermatology, for example, measured and compared the hair growth profiles of 2,249 young adults (18-35 years) with a “normal hair profile”, i.e. without alopecia (hair lost). .

Participants came from 24 ethnic groups, including Brazilians. Here are some results of the survey:

  • Asian hair. It features a low capillary density and a rapid growth rate. In the survey, this group included Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. Asian hair was nearly 5 cm longer after one year of growth compared to African hair.
  • African hair. It is characterized by lower density and slower growth rate.
  • Caucasian hair. With a high hair density, the Caucasian scalp is home to 30% more hair than the African or Asian scalp.
  • Brazilian diversity. To study the relationship between hair growth parameters and curling, the researchers focused on Brazilian hair types, the diversity of which reflects the mix of different ethnicities.
  • Four groups of Brazilian curls were considered: straight (I-II), wavy (III), curly (IV-V) and curly (VI-VIII).
  • The conclusion was that, in general, the average Brazilian hair growth parameters fit the Caucasian type.
  • When the group is divided by the level of waviness of the strands, the average growth parameters VI to VIII have more similarities to the African hair pattern.
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Image: iStock

4. Pregnancy

The scalp has a natural life cycle that constantly alternates between three phases.

While new hair actively appears during the so-called anagen phase, hair stops growing for a period of time in the catagen phase and finally falls out during the telogen phase. It is estimated that we lose 50 to 100 strands of hair every day, which is normal.

In pregnancy, however, this cycle changes.

During pregnancy the anagen phase, i.e. the one in which hair growth takes place, is prolonged. So, in general, the woman has more voluminous hair and there is a decrease in hair loss. Larissa Tozzi, dermatologist

This change occurs due to the increase in the hormone estrogen. In the postpartum period, with the loss of the substance, however, the effect is the opposite: hair loss. But hair loss, in addition to being considered normal, is temporary and usually stabilizes within six months after the birth of the baby.

fall - iStock - iStock
Image: iStock

5. Hormonal changes

Besides pregnancy, another period that usually changes the hair cycle in women is menopause. With estrogen and progesterone levels—hormones that affect hair growth—decreasing, a common symptom is hair loss.

DHT imbalance is related to male pattern baldness. Men can also lose hair when there are changes in levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a substance produced from testosterone, combined with genetic factors.

Thyroid problems. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to temporary hair loss.

6. Restrictive diets and the use of “beauty chips”

Experts listened to by Live well also mention “modern causes” that are often behind complaints of hair loss or slow hair growth in the doctor’s office:

  • Restrictive diets without professional monitoring: the hair root receives nutrients from the blood vessels. Therefore, if the person has an inadequate supply of essential nutrients to the body, hair growth can also be impaired.
  • “Beauty Chips”. It is a hormonal implant contraindicated by SBEM for any purpose. In addition to hair loss, “chips” are associated with other side effects, such as acne, oiliness, voice deepening, and clitoral enlargement.
  • Indiscriminate use of slimming drugs (either by direct action of the drug or by metabolic alterations caused by its use).

7. Infections

Any serious infection with a systemic inflammatory reaction can trigger hair loss.

Syphilis is an example. The pattern of hair loss is characteristic of this STI (sexually transmitted infection): hair loss tends to concentrate in certain areas of the scalp, forming a pattern known as “lightening alopecia”.

Hair loss is also one of the most common symptoms of prolonged covid-19.

8. Inflammatory diseases

Loss of highlights can also be a sign of inflammatory diseases of the scalp itself, such as lichen planopilaris (strands fall out and leave voids on the head). Or inflammatory problems in the intestines, which impair the absorption of nutrients and can lead to nutritional deficiencies, as is the case with celiac disease.


  • Eat healthy: each strand is made up of cells that contain a protein called keratin. And these cells need to be constantly fed with proteins, minerals and vitamins. Foods like eggs, fish, milk, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, and beans are important for keeping your hair nourished and strong.
  • Cleanse and moisturize your scalp with the same care you give to your hair. In addition to having many hair follicles, where hair forms, the topmost layer of the scalp is the skin, and all skin needs proper care and maintenance to function properly.
  • Beware of “miracle fixes”. Veterinary-grade shampoos sold with the promise of multiplying hair, for example, have not been tested on humans, can cause reactions on the scalp and even worsen hair loss. Furthermore, multivitamins should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription, in cases where, in fact, there is a lack of nutrients.
  • Control emotional stress. This is another common reason behind sudden hair loss. When the body is under emotional pressure, more follicles are in the resting phase of the hair cycle.
  • Investigate the underlying causes of hair loss and seek specialist treatment.

Treatment for hair loss depends on the cause, and the causes are numerous. So, it won’t be an anti-hair loss shampoo that will become the miracle solution for all these types of hair loss. Or a multivitamin. Treatment must be directed to the diagnosis, it must be individualized. There is no cake recipe. Larissa Tozzi, dermatologist

treatment options

Dr. João Gabriel Nunes believes that the best treatment option for total baldness is hair transplantation.

“In these cases, we transfer the hair from the lateral region strand by strand to the region where the person has already lost their hair,” explains the member of the SBC (Brazilian Hair Society) and founder of Centro Médico Capilar (SP).

Another option is MMP, indicated to treat the decrease in capillary volume caused by baldness. According to Nunes, it’s capillary microneedling with a “roller” or machines, which pokes tiny holes in the scalp and applies a blend of substances to promote hair growth.

If the causes of hair loss or slow growth are hormonal, treatment should be done with an endocrinologist. Already scalp diseases should be treated with a dermatologist.

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