Image of lady with red hair checking her scalp for hair regrowth in the mirror. Taken from FreePik

Apr 09, 2024

Has your hair growth journey come to a halt? Besides looking after it, these are the things you should be doing.


You wake up each morning, hopeful for a good hair day, only to find yourself staring at the same length in the mirror, day after day. It's frustrating, isn't it? You've tried every product and followed every tip, but still, your hair seems to have hit a growth plateau. Before you resign yourself to the fate of slick-back ponytails or invest in another round of hair extensions, it's time to take a deeper look at the problem. What if the reason your hair isn't growing isn't just a matter of genetics or neglect, but rather, a medical mystery that needs to be cracked?

If you're nodding along in frustration, you're not alone. The journey to achieving Kim K-worthy tresses can feel like an uphill climb, especially when faced with the overarching anger of stunted hair growth (we want longer locks!). 

Enter us. Your haircare fairies. We’re going to answer one of life’s biggest questions and take a look into the tangled mysteries of hair growth. Do you have growth problems, or is it just down to your hair care steps? Here are 13 medical reasons that could be holding your hair back from reaching its full potential. From hormonal imbalances to nutrient deficiencies, each obstacle presents a unique challenge on the path to longer, stronger strands.

Gazing into the mirror in a state of limbo? Chances are there are some growth-stunting factors in play, and we’re going to crack them.


1. Hormonal imbalances

According to experts, hormonal imbalances can wreak havoc on your hair growth journey, and it can result in either thinning or hair loss. Conditions such as thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and hormonal fluctuations post-pregnancy or during menopause can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones that are needed when it comes to growing out your strands. When estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones are out of sync, the hair growth cycle may be affected, leading to thinning and shedding—so really, if your hormones are imbalanced, then the rest will follow. As if it’s not hard being a girl already, right?

Our advice:

  • Consult with a healthcare provider to evaluate your hormone levels.
  • Explore treatment options such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or medication.
  • Implement lifestyle changes to support hormonal balance, such as stress management and a healthy nutrient-rich diet. If you fuel your body, it should treat you.

2. Nutrient deficiencies

Ugh, if you’re low on nutrients, your hair, skin, and nails will be the first to show it. Your hair needs a variety of different vitamins and minerals to thrive, and deficiencies in key nutrients like biotin, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and D can stunt its ability to grow. 


Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is particularly important for hair health as it plays a massive role in the keratin production of your hair, which is the protein that makes up hair strands.

On the other hand, Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition that is caused by reduced oxygen delivery to hair follicles, resulting in hair loss, hair thinning, and everything you’re not looking for. 

Our advice:

  • Incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Consider taking supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider, especially if deficiencies are identified through blood tests.
  • Monitor nutrient intake and adjust dietary habits as needed to ensure adequate levels of essential vitamins and minerals.

3. Stress and telogen effluvium

If you don't need a reason to feel sorry for yourself more than you do already, stress can cause issues throughout your whole body. Stress is one of the biggest culprits behind hair loss, and telogen effluvium is one of the ways it manifests. For those of us not in the medical lingo, it’s a condition that occurs when stressors—whether emotional or physical—cause a significant number of hair follicles to prematurely enter the telogen (resting) phase of the hair growth cycle.

Several months later, those affected hairs start to shed simultaneously, leading to noticeable hair thinning. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, and self-care is more important than EVER before. If you need a reason to cut that guy off who’s been taking you for a fool, boy, bye—we have no time for your stress. Our hair and health are more important, and it’s time we look out for ourselves. 

Our advice:

  • Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga (we heard puppy yoga works like magic).
  • Prioritize self-care nights at home, and make time for relaxation and calming trips out—NOT all-night antics around town.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals if stress becomes overwhelming—we need to be here for each other, and there are many people you can speak to. 

4. Scalp conditions

A healthy scalp means healthy hair, but sometimes it's out of our hands. Conditions like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and fungal infections can appear out of the blue and throw this delicate balance out of whack. Having any inflammation and irritation on the scalp can stunt the blood rushing to the hair follicles, leading to decreased nutrient delivery and the worst bit. SLOW hair growth. Treatment options vary depending on person to person—ranging from medicated shampoos and topical treatments to lifestyle changes or dietary switch-ups. 

Our advice:

  • Consult with a dermatologist to diagnose and treat scalp conditions effectively.
  • Use medicated shampoos or topical treatments as prescribed to reduce inflammation and irritation.
  • Maintain good scalp hygiene by washing regularly with gentle, sulfate-free shampoos.

5. Genetic factors

We all love to blame our parents for the worst bits about us, but the sad bit—it’s sometimes true. Genetics plays a big role in determining hair growth patterns and potential limits to your hair growth, especially if you’re male. Androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male and female pattern baldness, is one of the most common genetic hair loss conditions across America, which affects millions of people worldwide. Along with potential baldness that runs in the family, familial hair thinning is also another genetic cause that can influence hair density, texture, and its ability to grow long and strong. 

While you can't change your genetic makeup, (or choose your family) understanding your family history can help you manage your expectations and explore potential treatment options.

Our advice:

  • Accept and embrace your genetic predispositions while maintaining hair health and keeping what you have as strong as can be. 
  • If you’re on the worse end of hair loss, you could try products such as minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia) under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
  • Consider non-invasive treatments like low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to stimulate hair growth. PSA: If you’re squeamish with needs, we wouldn’t advise PRP to everyone. 

6. Medical treatments and medications

If you aren't already suffering enough with whatever medication you’re on—it can also be the root cause of your hair growth woes. Certain medical treatments and medications can have an impact on hair growth as one of its side effects. 

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy, for example, are known to cause hair loss by targeting rapidly dividing cells, including hair follicles. Similarly, medications like anticoagulants, retinoids, and beta-blockers can interfere with the hair growth cycle, leading to thinning and shedding. 

Please, if you’re suffering from hair loss as a result of any of these medical reasons—don’t beat yourself up about it, you’re a warrior for getting through it.

Our advice:

  • Discuss potential side effects with your healthcare provider before starting any new medical treatments or medications.
  • Explore alternative treatment options or adjustments to current medications if hair loss becomes a concern.
  • Implement supportive measures such as scalp cooling during chemotherapy to minimize hair loss.

7. Autoimmune conditions

All autoimmune conditions cause some sort of issues in your body, but alopecia areata and lupus cause hair loss struggles on a whole new level. They trigger hair loss by causing the body's immune system to attack the hair follicles, and in a sense just drop out. Alopecia areata, in particular, is known for its sudden, patchy hair loss on the scalp or other parts of the body, while lupus can cause diffuse hair thinning as a secondary symptom of this tricky underlying autoimmune disease. 


To combat any of this, you need to intervene early to ensure your strands stay strong and unbeatable. 

Our advice:

  • Seek early intervention and treatment from a dermatologist or rheumatologist for autoimmune-related hair loss.
  • Explore targeted treatment approaches such as corticosteroid injections or immunomodulatory medications.
  • Participate in support groups or online communities to connect with others experiencing similar challenges.

8. Chronic illnesses

Chronic illnesses like diabetes, lupus, and kidney disease can affect hair growth as a secondary symptom of all the other health issues they bring. Diabetes, for example, can lead to poor circulation and reduced nutrient delivery to the hair follicles, resulting in those otherwise healthy strands falling out due to lack of blood. 


Similarly, lupus and kidney disease cause inflammation and a mix-up with your immune system which leads to hair shedding and that growth that leads to the question—why won't my hair grow past my shoulders? 

Our advice:

  • Work closely with healthcare providers to manage underlying health conditions effectively.
  • Monitor symptoms and seek prompt medical attention for any changes in hair growth or quality.
  • Prioritize overall health and well-being through regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest.

9. More common medication factors 

Many medications, including antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and immunosuppressants, can also have side effects that stunt any hair growth.

Antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants, for example, have all been linked with hair loss, so the potential of suffering from hair thinning is very likely. Just like those medications, anticonvulsant medications used to treat epilepsy and mood disorders can also interfere with the hair growth cycle, leading to uncontrollable shedding, and the annoyance it brings with it. 

Our advice:

  • Communicate openly with your healthcare provider about any concerns regarding medication side effects–and discuss any alternatives or ways to stop your scalp from losing blood flow. 
  • Explore alternative medications or dosage adjustments if hair loss becomes problematic.
  • Implement supportive measures such as scalp massage or topical treatments to minimize hair loss.

10. Environmental factors

We all love frolicking in the sun to our heart's content, but did you know–it can do more harm than good? (sigh) Environmental factors like pollution, UV radiation, and harsh weather conditions can take a toll on your hair's health and growth, leading to an array of side effects on those precious strands. 

City girls listen up—pollution, in particular, can deposit harmful particles and chemicals onto the scalp and hair, leading to dryness, damage, and breakage, which is why hair protectants are more common than ever before. We can’t be in the city, and we can’t be in the sun—we are stuck between a rock and a hard place, aren’t we? UV radiation from the sun can cause oxidative stress and structural damage to the hair shaft, compromising its strength and resulting in BREAKAGE. 

Whether it’s a hat, scarf, spray, or potion, girl, get protecting your tresses!

Our advice:

  • Protect your hair from environmental stressors by wearing hats or scarves outdoors.
  • Use protective styling techniques to shield hair from heat styling tools, UV radiation, and harsh weather conditions.
  • Incorporate nourishing hair care products with ingredients like antioxidants and UV filters to mitigate damage.

11. Poor scalp circulation

The way to get stronger, thicker hair, is to ensure you’re getting blood flow to the scalp as best as can be. You need blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles, which will support healthy growth—and help you on your journey to rapunzel-worthy hair. Sadly, factors like poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and tight hairstyles can restrict blood flow to the scalp, breaking the hair's health structure and function. 

Poor scalp circulation can lead to weakened hair follicles, decreased nutrient delivery, and impaired hair growth. In other words, but the hair ties down, you don’t need a slick back pony every day, give that hair a break!

Our advice:

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise to improve blood flow to the scalp.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles that can restrict blood flow and cause traction alopecia.
  • Consider scalp massage techniques to stimulate circulation and promote hair growth.

12. Aging and hormonal changes

Aging is normal, it’s the way of life—and with that, comes a drop in collagen, a change in hormones, and all the things we worry about. When you get to menopause age, your hormones can be so badly affected, that it can create hair growth patterns and density issues. As women age, hormonal fluctuations, specifically declining estrogen and progesterone levels, can cause hair thinning and loss of volume. This is something you can’t fix (only with aesthetics, anyway), so embrace the aging pattern and take those collagen supps. 

Our advice:

  • Embrace the natural aging process while prioritizing hair health and quality.
  • Consult with healthcare providers about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or other treatment options for age-related hormonal changes.
  • Practice self-care activities and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to support overall well-being.

13. Lifestyle factors

If this one wasn’t obvious, the more you style your hair, the more stress it goes through—duh! Lifestyle factors such as excessive heat styling (we’re looking at you, flat iron), chemical processing (particularly bleaching), and tight hairstyles can damage the hair shaft and cause hair loss. 

Heat styling tools like flat irons and curling wands cause thermal damage to the hair cuticle, leading to dryness, breakage, and split ends—and you should ALWAYS use a heat protectant. Those days of bleaching your hair to your heart's content need to be over, too—because chemical treatments like bleaching, perming, and coloring do weaken the hair structure, making it prone to breakage and thinning. 

Tight hairstyles like ponytails, braids, and buns can exert tension on the hair follicles, leading to traction alopecia and hair loss—so everything relating to styling has a toll, so just be mindful when you do it. 

Our advice:

  • Minimize heat styling and chemical treatments to reduce damage to the hair shaft, and always use heat protectors and hair masks. 
  • Choose far more gentle styling techniques and avoid tight hairstyles that can cause tension and breakage.
  • Prioritize scalp and hair health by using nourishing hair care products and adopting a regular cleansing and conditioning routine.

Why won't my hair grow past my shoulders? It’s not always a medical reason… 

In addition to those medical reasons that you can’t always help, other factors are all down to you. Now, we aren’t throwing the blame card around here, but if you want those enviable locks draping down your shoulders, you have to put in the work—like with everything. Here are a handful of reasons you could be sabotaging yourself, so before going down any medical routes, you need to get the root cause. 

The buildup of products and oil on the scalp

  • Over time, styling products, natural oils, and environmental pollutants can accumulate on the scalp, leading to the buildup of thick, scaly products (yuck).
  • This buildup can clog hair follicles, hinder oxygen and nutrient delivery, and stop any hair growth. 
  • To fix this, regular scalp exfoliation and clarifying shampoos can help to remove buildup and promote a healthy scalp for further growth. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself some TLC, does it?

Use of harsh hair care products

  • Certain shampoos, conditioners, and styling products contain harsh chemicals and sulfates that strip the scalp of its natural oils and disrupt the hair's moisture balance.
  • To fix this, go for gentle, sulfate-free hair care products that cleanse and nourish the hair without causing damage or irritation.
  • Look for products formulated with natural ingredients like botanical extracts, essential oils, and vitamins to support overall hair health and general scalp condition. 

Heat damage from styling tools

  • TURN THAT HEAT DOWN. If you’re a stickler for being a hair-wash girlie every day, put those tools AWAY. Excessive heat styling, such as blow-drying, straightening, and curling, can damage the hair cuticle and weaken the hair shaft.
  • You need to limit the use of heat styling tools and use heat-protectant products to minimize damage and protect the hair from high temperatures.
  • Give heat-free styling techniques like air-drying, braiding, or twisting a chance to reduce heat-related stress on the hair. No stress on you, and no stress on the hair=healthy, long, tresses. 

Tight hairstyles and traction alopecia

  • Yes, we know that sleek back bun has all the clean-girl era TikTok girlies quivering in their boots, but it causes a LOT of damage. Pulling the hair tightly into ponytails, braids, or buns causes tension on the hair follicles and leads to a condition known as traction alopecia. Give yourself a hair-down day, because it isn’t worth the stress.
  • Avoid tight hairstyles that put extra stress on the hairline and scalp, and go for looser styles or protective hairstyles that distribute tension evenly across your head.
  • Why not try regular scalp massages and gentle detangling brushes and sprays to stimulate blood flow and promote healthy hair growth?

Lack of regular trims

  • We know it's hard if you’re seeing no hair growth, but most of the time, it’s down to broken or split ends. Not getting a trim often can result in uneven hair growth and actually—no growth at all. Don’t fear the salon chair, it’s worth it in the long run. 
  • Schedule regular trims every 68 weeks to remove split ends and prevent further damage to the hair shaft.
  • Invest in professional haircuts or learn how to trim your hair at home using sharp scissors and proper techniques. Either way, cutting the ends is the best medicine you can give it. 

If you’ve given it all a go, here is one last tip 

If you've tried everything to stimulate hair growth with little success, the main thing to remember is to not lose hope (easier said than done). It might be time to seek some expert help from a dermatologist or trichologist to rule out any underlying medical conditions contributing to your hair growth woes. Never diagnose yourself or start taking any medication for hair loss, as the secret to hair growth usually starts from home. Remember, your hair health is a reflection of your overall well-being, so prioritizing your self-care is the biggest lesson we teach. 

If all else fails, don’t be sad—there are many ways to get that boost. If you're eager for instant length and volume while waiting for your natural hair to grow, give some high-quality clip-in hair extensions or toppers a go. This hack is for the impatient girlies among us who can’t stand the hair growth time—plus in just a couple of minutes you can get mermaid-worthy locks and name a better hair inspo than that. We'll wait.