3 stages of hair growth

Did you know that people with dark coloured hair are typically born with about 100,000 hair follicles? People with red hair often have slightly more and blondes have fewer hair follicles.  Each hair follicle has 3 stages of growth, these are known as the Anagen Phase, Catagen Phase and Telogen Phase.

Having a bit of knowledge regarding these 3 stages of hair growth per hair follicle will help you to understand hair loss better.

Anagen Phase

This stage, referred to as the “growing” stage starts with a miniature hair follicle where a new hair bulb is formed at the base of the follicle and inside the hair bulb special cells begin to grow a new hair shaft. At this stage the hair starts to grow to its full size and extends deeper into the skin. As the new hair starts to grow and extends beyond the surface of the skin it starts to appear as straight or  curly with a colour that can be blonde, brown, red or gray.
During the Anagen Phase scalp hairs can grow about 1.27cm per month ranging from 4 to 6 years. This is a rapid rate of cellular growth compared to most other tissues in the body.

Catagen Phase

Described as the “Regression” stage is where the hair stops growing and the hair follicle starts shrinking. The lower part of the hair follicle slowly disintegrates not requiring much nourishment from the blood supply. As the hair shrinks, the miniature hair follicle becomes loose on the hair shaft and normal body movements, grooming or bathing results in the hair shaft to fall out at this time. This phase lasts about 2 to 4 weeks.

Telogen Phase

This is the “Resting” stage and during this time the hair follicle appears inactive and hair may shed during this period to. Losing hair during this phase is normal and is also part of the hair growth cycle. Lost hairs may appear on bedding, clothing, combs, brushes, etc.  This phase can last for another 3 months. Hair growth in humans is not synchronised, this means that people’s hair follicles are in different  stages of growth, regression or resting. Due to the Anagen phase (growth) lasting much longer than the other phases, the vast majority of hair follicles are in some part of the growth phase and only a small percentage are in the Catagen phase (regression) or Telogen phase (resting). Hair follicles in the Anagen phase are not easily shed but hair follicles in the other 2 stages of
Catagen and Telogen do shed easier.

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