stages of hair

The Three Stages of Hair Growth

 

You probably don’t think too much about your hair.  Maybe you fuss about it every day—making sure to comb and blow-dry and style and shampoo and condition regularly—but you probably do not really think about your hair as an organ of the body.

Well, if your hair is important to you, then you should definitely remember that, in fact, your hair is like an organ. It is actually much like this skin, in a way, because, like the skin, you lose and regrow hair every day.  Knowing this, many of us cautiously moisturize and cleanse our skin, understanding that the evidence of aging will become more and more apparent the less we manage the dermal layer. Similarly, though, if you do not care for your hair properly, it will not grow back as healthy as it was before.

There are three phases of hair growth:

ANAGEN PHASE

This Capilia growth phase begins with the papilla and can last between two and six years; determined by genetics.  During this initial phase, the papilla divide and produce new hair fibers and each follicle buries itself into the dermal (outer) layer of the skin (like a flower or tree roots into the ground for nourishment).  At any given time, about 85 percent of the hairs on your head are probably in the anagen phase.

hair growth 1

CATAGEN PHASE

The body will send out predetermined signals to instruct the end of the anagen phase and the beginning of the catagen phase, which is characterized by the stopping of melanin production. Lasting about two weeks, this is a transitional phase during which the follicle renews itself. The hair is not “growing” but will push outward as the follicle shrinks from disintegration of the papilla.

TELOGEN PHASE

During this “resting” phase the follicle, basically, sleeps for as long as 4 months.  Between 10 and 15 percent of your hairs are in this phase at any given time. When the follicle “awakens” it will soften and the base will break free and shed; within the next two weeks a new hair cycle will begin.

INTERFERENCE WITH THE HAIR CYCLE

Of course, there are many things which can directly interfere with this natural growth cycle:

  • illness
  • medication
  • infection
  • chemicals (from treatments, products)
  • toxins (from pollution)
  • environment (extreme heat or dryness, etc)

Some interference, thankfully, will only result in temporary hair loss; but in some cases, of course, hair loss can be permanent.

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