There is a general consensus that most humans are only able to grow their hair between one and one-and-a-half metres in length, but there are some examples that remind us that this is by no means the upper limit. They may be extreme examples of unlikely hair growth, but as almost half the population suffers some degree of hair loss, people like Xie Qiuping and Tran Van Hay have been able to defy the odds.
The majority of men will experience varying degrees of baldness, but in 2004, Tran Van Hay’s hair measured in at 6.2m, or 20ft. The 73-year-old from Vietnam let his hair grow after he claimed a haircut made him ill. He hasn’t had his hair cut since 1973 and has forgone washing it for about 12 years. The result is one great big massive dreadlock – that could easily be mistaken for a giant python – which he balances on his head in a Mr Whippy style ‘do, but a local admitted it has affected his work.
“He can’t work anymore as a farmer because of the volume of hair so he’s just collecting herbs for traditional medicine as charity work,” he said.
Studies have shown that loss of hair can negatively affect a person in the workplace, but it’s rare to hear that too much hair can be an impediment. While most men keep their hair short and often turn to clinically proven hair loss treatments, such as Propecia, when the balding process begins, Tran Van Hay – who clearly doesn’t have a hair loss problem – has given a whole new meaning to the words ‘hair retention’.
Hair is often touted as a woman’s crowning glory, and many are constantly searching for hair growth boosters that will make their hair grow longer, faster. However, few would strive for the extreme lengths of China’s Xie Qiuping. Like Mr Tran, Xie hasn’t had a haircut since 1973 and in 2004, her Rapunzel-length tresses measured in at 5.627m, or 18ft 5.54in. For her, she says “it’s no trouble at all. I’m used to it.” However, Xie admits that long hair it’s not for the faint hearted.
“Such long hair needs not just external care but internal adjustment,” she said. “You need patience and you need to hold yourself straight when you have hair like this.”
Xie Qiuping is nearing 50 and as almost half of women her age will be looking to treatments like minoxidil to avoid thinning hair and maintain hair growth, Xie needs to an assistant to help her carry her bountiful tresses.
Hair growth is a complex system and the longest length a person’s hair can grow depends on a few things. Some people naturally have the ability to grow longer hair than others, and some have the potential to grow longer hair than they think. Genetics is one of the main factors and while many people believe their hair isn’t able to grow past a certain length, it’s often down to damaging hair care practices that cause breakage rather than an inability for hair to grow any longer.
Some reasons for slow hair growth include nutritional deficiencies, health problems, hormonal changes and stress. Not only can these factors inhibit hair growth, they can also cause hair fall. Clinically proven hair loss treatments can prevent and stop hair loss as well as stimulate growth, but there is no sure fire way to make hair grow longer or faster. The best you can do is feed your hair with the nutrients it needs and keep your whole body in a healthy and prime condition.
For more information about hair loss and growth, contact the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 666 or send an email. Alternatively fill in the online diagnostic form for a personalised hair analysis and access to expert advice from anywhere in the world.