Stages of Hair Growth
Ever wondered why sometimes your hair can seem so lush and full and other times it seems so thin and sparse? Hair growth happens in a very cyclical pattern, growing, resting and falling out, only to begin the growth cycle anew. The curious part is that the process is very random, with various hairs in different stages of growth at any given time.
The Numbers Game
We are born with all the hair follicles we will ever have. As we grow and our skull expands, that same number of follicles has to cover more ground. Most women naturally lose from 50-100 hairs a day, but that number can jump to 250 hairs on shampoo day.
Away We Grow
When the roots at the base of the hair follicles are in the Anagen Phase, cells are dividing like crazy to actively produce new hairs. The process works like an assembly line with the newly created hair pushing up and out the club hair (the previous strand that is no longer growing). Thankfully, the Anagen Phase is the longest stage, lasting from 2-7 years. Up to 90% of our hair is in the growing phase at one time. Women who can grow very long hair typically have longer active growth periods. With optimal hair health, most women can expect their hair to grow about half an inch each month.
Time to Change
In the transitional stage called the Catagen Phase, the hair begins the process of converting to a club hair. The follicle shrinks and the hair stops growing and becomes keratinized. At this stage, the hair is still attached to the root, but awaiting the next phase when it will naturally fall out. This phase lasts 2-3 weeks.
Gimme a Break
In the Telogen Phase, the process of creating the club hair is complete. The follicle rests in anticipation of regrouping and starting the growth process all over again. Hairs in this stage typically fall out on their own. If not, they are pushed out by new growth in the Anagen Phase. The Telogen Phase typically lasts from 3-4 months.
Take a Deep Breath
So just because your pillow seems to be sporting a few extra stray hairs, don’t panic. It’s most likely that you have more random hairs in the Telogen Phase on that particular day. Once the growth cycle restarts, you’ll be full and lush again. Hair growth serums and treatments can help support a healthier growth cycle, as can nourishing your scalp from the inside out. If you’re still concerned about thinning, please consult your doctor for proper medical advice.