You may not have thought about whether men experience hair growth in a different way to women. Both go through the same four stages of growth, which we’ll cover in a moment. But are there differences to note between them?
What Are the Four Stages of the Hair Growth Cycle?
Each hair on your head and body goes through four stages:
- Growing – the anagen phase
- Transition – the catagen phase
- Resting – the telogen phase
- Shedding – the exogen phase
Individual hairs grow for between three and five years. Around nine in 10 of the hairs are in the growing phase at any one time. Once this stage ends, the transition phase begins, but it only lasts for around 10 days. Then everything stops – there’s no growth, but you won’t see hairs fall out either. This is the resting phase.
Finally, the exogen phase begins. The hairs in this phase will gradually fall out over the course of two to five months.
Does a Man’s Hair Grow Faster Than a Woman’s?
Research suggests there is some uncertainty over this. However, there are studies that have indicated that male hair can grow faster when compared to female hair.
As you might guess, hormones can play a role in this area. Some believe that testosterone can encourage faster hair growth, and this is true… to an extent. Since men have more of this hormone than women, you’d assume that it would help them. However, it tends to drive hair growth in areas other than on the head.
Furthermore, testosterone can play a role in male pattern baldness. It doesn’t cause it, but it does push up DHT levels which in turn drive the male pattern baldness if someone is pre-disposed to it.
As for women, it’s common to experience some hair loss during perimenopause and menopause. Falling levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause the hair follicles to shrink and produce thinner hair. This can occur on top of the head.
Do Shorter Hairstyles in Men Make It Appear as if Their Hair Grows Faster?
This could be true since the evidence for male and female hair growth is patchy. You’ll have noticed how short hairstyles appear to grow out more quickly. Since the style relies on maintaining shorter hair, it will visibly change very quickly. In contrast, someone with long hair can grow it for several months before it looks much different.
You can say the same of a woman with a short hairstyle and a man with longer hair. If there is any difference between male and female hair growth, it’s not likely to be significant.
Is It All Down to Genetics?
We already mentioned hormones, so we ought to look at genetics too. In truth, everyone will grow their hair at a rate that is unique to the individual person. There are tolerances within which most of us will fall, male or female. For example, some individuals can grow their hair up to an inch every month. For others, the rate of growth can be around 1cm. Genetics and the balance of hormones, along with other factors, will play a role here.
To get a definitive answer on whether men experience faster hair growth than women, we’d need to get a huge sample of people to go on. Selecting a few people for a study would only provide information based on that small sample. This could be why some sources say there is no difference between male and female hair growth, while others disagree.
Perhaps the best approach is to make the best of your own hair – whatever length or color it may be. Maybe you have thicker hair that seems to grow quickly, and you want a manageable hairstyle. Perhaps you’d prefer something longer that doesn’t grow out too quickly.
In truth, you can compare your hair to males and females, but you’ll still have your own unique hair and genetic makeup at the end. The trick is to make the best of what you have, and seeking the advice of a hair professional is the best way to be sure you can do this every day.