Understanding Hair Growth Phases
Hair is a key feature of our body and plays a great role in aesthetics. Hair is not a benign structure and is capable of transmitting sensations and one can even use hair for analysis for toxins. Hair on the scalp grows at an average rate of 2-3 centimeters or half an inch every month. Hair growth in humans is classified into 3 cycles: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase is the most active growth phase of hair. During this phase, hair can grow as much as half an inch every 4 weeks. In addition, hair growth is faster during summer than in winter. Anagen lasts about 2-6 years during which time the full length of hair may be anywhere from 12-30 inches. The anagen phase also tends to be longer in Orientals and can last up to 7 years, with hair growth reaching several feet. In some people, hair growth is limited primarily because the anagen phase is short. Overall hair on the scalp has the longest anagen phase whereas hair on the legs, arms, and eyebrows tends to have a short growth phase.
The Catagen phase follows anagen and is a short transition period that lasts anywhere from 8-21 days. During this time, everything is stable and there is no hair growth or hair loss.
Telogen is the last phase and is the resting stage. During this stage, hair falls out. The hair follicle is usually inactive for 9-12 weeks and then the entire cycle is repeated. This phase is often much longer for hair on the arms, legs, and eyebrows. On average about 90-100, telogen hair falls off every day.
Each hair follicle functions independently and goes through the hair cycle phases at different times, otherwise, all the hair on the scalp would fall out all at once. Most people shed a certain number of hairs every day – which averages anywhere from 80-120 hairs on an adult with a healthy scalp.
People start to have hair loss or hair thinning when the hair growth cycle is interrupted for whatever reason. In most cases, hair growth can be affected by overprocessing, illness, imbalance of hormones in the body, or poor nutrition.
For example, people who are on a rigid diet of very low calories or are ill for a prolonged time can experience a medical condition known as telogen effluvium, otherwise known as diffuse hair loss. This type of hair loss tends to occur when the anagen phase is shortened and most hairs enter the telogen phase all at the same time. If the hair growth cycle is consistently challenged or experiences stress, the hair will not grow normally. This is primarily because hair is never permitted to remain in anagen or growth phase long enough for hair to reach the desired length.
Now that you have an understanding of how hair grows you can quit worrying about your lack of growth and those large amounts of shed hair. Your hair will continue to grow and shed and your journey to long-flowing waist- length hair can take years, so just make sure you take care of your body by eating a healthy diet and continue a natural hair regime that will give you healthy growing hair.
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