As simple as your hair appears on the surface, it has a far more intricate system beneath the scalp. With this being said, it is crucial to know how to maintain a healthy head of hair so this system can operate appropriately. This means nourishing your hair and providing your body with the proper nutrients and hair products for the follicles to remain healthy.
Our hair contributes significantly to our overall appearance and increases our self-confidence, so it’s essential to understand how it grows. Let’s walk through the life cycle of a hair follicle:
At the end of twenty-two weeks, you will see a fetus developing, and all of the hair follicles forming. At this point in the cycle, there are approximately five million follicles of hair present on the body. There are around one million follicles present on your head, out of which your scalp has a hundred thousand.
This is the most hair follicles that a human will have since our bodies do not create new hair follicles. You may even notice the density of your scalp hair reducing as you grow from childhood into adulthood. One of the reasons is that as you grow, your scalp expands as well.
The Growth Cycle
Your hair will grow from the follicle or the root underneath your skin. The blood vessels at the base of each follicle feed your hair. Blood vessels nourish your hair with essential nutrients that help it grow well. Between your hair growing and falling out, every strand is going through one of four phases:
Each strand of hair can be at a different stage of the growth cycle at a given time. As time passes, you will express a decrease in the length of the anagen stage. This is why you notice your hair thinning out and becoming weak after each cycle is over. Therefore, experts always recommend ensuring that you maintain a rich diet throughout; it should contain specific nutrients to maintain steady and healthy hair growth.
Here are the four stages of hair follicle life cycle:
- Anagen- The Growing Phase
During the anagen phase, your hair grows for two to seven years. This determines the length of your hair. This is the most active phase for your hair. The cells at the root of your hair start dividing rapidly.
A new hair will grow and will push the old hair along the follicle and finally out. A club hair is one that is no longer growing or a part of the anagen phase. During the anagen phase, your hair will grow at a rate of nearly 1 cm every twenty-eight days.
You may notice several people struggling to grow their hair beyond specific lengths. The problem behind this is that the active phase of growth is comparatively shorter. On the contrary, people with extremely long hair are lucky as their active growth phase is quite long. The hair on your eyelashes, legs, arms, and eyebrows have the shortest active growth phase. The anagen phase of the mentioned areas is merely 30 to 45 days long. This explains why the hair here is so short as compared to your scalp.
- Catagen- The Transition Phase
Catagen is the transition phase that generally only lasts for ten days. During this time, your hair follicles will shrink and disconnect from the dermal papilla. Around three percent of all your hair is present in the catagen phase at any given time.
The catagen phase does not generally last more than three weeks. Your hair growth will stop in this phase, and your outer root sheathe will shrink and attach to the hair root. This process is the formation of what we refer to as the club hair.
- Telogen- The Resting Phase
Telogen is the resting phase that is around three months long for your hair on the scalp. For your hair on the eyelashes, eyebrows, legs, and arms, the telogen phase lasts even longer. Generally, ten to fifteen percent of your hair is in this phase at a given time. When your old hair is resting, a new hair initiates the growing phase.
If you pull out hair during this phase, you will discover a white, dry, hard, and solid material at the roots. During this phase, you will generally shed around twenty-five to a hundred strands of hair each day.
- Exogen- Phase of New Hair
This is also a part of the resting phase; when your old hair continues to shed while the new hair begins to grow. During this phase, you will experience approximately 50 to 150 strands of hair falling out daily. This is a normal part of the hair shedding process, so you do not need to be overly concerned about it.
However, your hair can enter the resting phase before the correct time. In this instance, you may experience excessive hair shedding and noticeable thinning.
Hair Growth Cycle
The hair on your scalp generally grows around .3 or .4mm per day or around 6 inches per year. In contrast to other mammals, we humans experience hair growth and shedding randomly and not according to season or cycle. At any given time of our life, a random number of our hair strands will be present in one out of the four stages of growth and shedding.
Hair care is so important. We must do the best for our hair to ensure it receives the best nutrition for healthy and steady growth, no matter which phase of the cycle we are in. Keep up on your hair loss remedies, hair growth vitamins, and other beneficial products for your hair.
This will maintain your proper hair health and keep it strong and vibrant throughout your life. If you start slacking on your hair care routine, your hair growth cycle will be disrupted, and you will surely notice.