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Updated: May 2
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Growth and Loss of Hair Stages
Hair growth and loss are complicated processes. Hair not only grows and sheds at different rates depending on many genetic and lifestyle factors, but it also transmits sensory information. The distinct stages of hair growth have been studied in order to understand hair growth and to prevent premature hair loss. Genetics, nutrition, age, and health can all affect a stage's timeline.
Hair consists of two parts: the follicle and the shaft. Hair follicles are found under the skin and cannot be seen, while the shaft is visible above the scalp and is what we see when we look at someone's hair. The follicle extends from the epidermis to the dermis and is composed of several layers, each with a distinct function. At the base of the follicle, the dermal papilla contains capillaries that nourish the cells.ells. The bulb, or root, surrounds the papilla and divides every 24 - 72 hours. Hair shafts are protected by inner and outer sheaths. Hair is made up of these parts that work tirelessly together.
This blog explains the four stages of hair growth, from the anagen to the exogen.
Anagen - First Stage of Hair Growth
Anagen is the active phase of hair growth. The cells in the root of your hair divide rapidly. A follicle pushes club hair up when new hair is formed. It is hair that has stopped growing and is no longer in the anagen stage.
Anagen hair stays in the anagen stage for two to six years, growing about a centimetre every 28 days. Everyone's phases may last longer or shorter. Some people may have difficulty growing their hair past a certain length, while others may not.
The anagen phase of those who have difficulty growing their hair may be shorter than that of those who grow their hair long with relative ease.
Catagen - Second Stage of Hair Growth
In the catagen phase, which lasts between two and three weeks, the anagen phase ends. Hair growth slows during this phase, while the outer root sheath shrinks. In the catagen stage, your hair will separate from the bottom of the follicle, but it will remain in place, forming club hair during the final days of hair growth.
At a time, about 3-5% of your hairs are in the catagen stage. Catagen is a transitional stage for your hair, which is why it is also called the transition phase. The catagen stage is considered the first stage of hair loss even though it is the second stage of hair growth.
Telogen - Third Stage of Hair Growth
About 6-8% of hair on the scalp is in the telogen stage (also called the resting phase) for about 3 months at a time. Hair follicles are at rest during this stage, as the club hair forms. During this phase, your hair will not grow. In the telogen stage, hair has a solid white consistency at the root.
Often the telogen stage is referred to as the shedding phase, which is why specialists may refer to the three stages of hair growth with the telogen stage as the final stage. Scientists, however, have divided this into two stages, with the telogen and exogen stages representing rest and shedding, respectively.
You lose around 100 hairs a day in telogen. A condition known as telogen effluvium can cause you to lose more if your body undergoes an unexpected change. People with telogen effluvium lose about 300 hairs a day as 30% of their hairs go into resting.
Exogenous Growth - The Fourth Stage
Exogen is often seen as an extension of telogen. In this stage, new hairs grow in the follicles and old hairs fall out. You can see the exogen stage after brushing, combing, or styling your hair. You are expected to lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day during this shedding phase.