The Phases of Hair Growth

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The Three Phases of Hair Growth and Why Hair Comes in at Surprising Times

Have you ever found yourself confused by why your hair is falling out or growing in at surprising times? Well, you’re not alone, because many people are puzzled by the way their hair grows. They wish for more hair at times when it’s just not in the cards, or they want less growth in certain areas when it’s simply not possible to contain it.

So that you can get a better understanding of how your hair grows and what you can do to manage growth, let’s take a look at the three phases of hair growth and why hair comes in at surprising times.

The Anagen Phase

The anagen phase of hair growth is the longest phase in the growth process. It’s the hair’s active growth cycle, and it typically lasts between two and six years.

During this phase, the hair follicle is active. It produces new cells quite rapidly, which results in hair growth of about 1/2 inch per month. Each hair follicle is on its own anagen-phase time clock. Additionally, each person has their own anagen cycle length, which means no one can predict when specific types of hair will grow in one area of the body or for one individual.

The Catagen Phase

The catagen phase is a transition cycle, and this phase marks the end of active hair grown. During the catagen phase, the hair follicle begins to shed the hair that grew during the anagen phase.

The catagen phase is characterized by the hair detaching slowly from the bulb. The hair shaft falls and the follicle begins its dormant period. The catagen phase is the shortest of the three phases of hair growth, and it lasts for just two to three weeks.

The Telogen Phase

When the hair follicle sheds the grown hair, it needs to rest so it can prepare for another round of the anagen phase. This part of the hair growth cycle is the dormant period, or the telogen phase. The telogen hair growth phase lasts between two and three months. After this period, the hair growth cycle begins again.

Surprise Hair Growth

Sometimes, when a majority of hair follicles in an area have gone through the entire hair growth cycle, one is left with patches that seem to have “gone bald.” Imagine the surprise of people who think they’ve lost hair for good, when it suddenly begins to grow back in!

Baldness is only permanent when a hair follicle dies. Hair growth is ultimately determined by a chemical hormone process, and a genetically disposed cell division rate. When it’s time for a hair follicle to naturally turn off its growth switch, there isn’t much anyone can do about it.

But until that time comes (it’s usually in our later years), you can rest assured that areas of hair loss will typically replenish themselves. And there are some things you can do to keep hair follicles functioning optimally, well into your later years. Eating a good diet, and with varying degrees of success, applying topical treatments to hair follicles can stimulate hair growth for a while longer.

The bottom line to hair growth is that it’s built into a cycle ruled by chemical reactions in our bodies – reactions we that are out of our control. Perhaps the best thing to do for a healthy head of hair is to take good care of it while you have it. After that, it’s best to simply embrace the changes that come with old age.