Did you know that the hair grows in cycles?
Hair undergoes four distinct growth stages, the anogen, categen , telegen, and exogen phase.
Although the growth and loss of hair might appear straightforward, the hair growth cycle comprises four intricately defined phases. Extensive research has been conducted to delve deeper into these stages, aiming to gain a comprehensive understanding of hair growth and explore strategies for preventing or treating premature hair loss.
What are the Stages of Hair Growth?
The initial three stages, known as anagen, catagen, and telogen, encompass the processes of hair growth, maturation, and the functioning of hair follicles responsible for generating individual hairs. In the ultimate phase, known as exogen, "old" hair is shed, typically making way for the emergence of new hair to grow.
Hair Growth Stages
Anagen Phase - Growing Phase
The hair growth cycle commences with the anagen phase, which is the lengthiest of the phases, spanning approximately 3 to 5 years for the hairs on your head. In some instances, a single hair may persist in its growth for an extended period, exceeding 7 years for certain individuals.
Within the anagen phase, your hair follicles are actively producing hairs that will persist in their growth until they are trimmed or naturally reach the end of their life cycle, subsequently shedding. It's noteworthy that at any point in time, roughly 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in this active anagen phase.
Catagen - Transition Phase
After the Anagen Phase, your hair's growth cycle progresses into the Catagen Phase, a brief transitional period that marks the conclusion of active hair growth. During this phase, individual hairs are severed from their blood supply and the cells responsible for generating new hair. It's important to note that approximately 3% of all hairs are in the Catagen Phase at any given time. The catagen phase typically lasts approximately 10 days.
Telogen Phase - Resting Phase
Up next is the telogen phase. The telogen phase has an average duration of about three months, with approximately 10 to 15 percent of the hairs on your scalp being in this state. During the telogen phase, hair remains in a resting state and generally does not shed. It is also the period when new hairs start to grow in follicles that have recently shed hairs during the catagen phase. While some health experts might consider the telogen phase as the shedding phase, many scientists have subdivided this stage into two parts: the telogen and exogen stages.
Exogen Phase - Shedding Phase
The exogen phase, also known as the shedding phase, is the final part of the hair growth cycle. During this phase, old hair is actively shed and falls out, making way for new hair to grow. This natural shedding of hair is a normal part of the hair growth cycle and allows for the replacement of old, dormant hairs with new ones. It's important to note that not all hairs are in the exogen phase at the same time, so you typically don't notice excessive hair loss during this stage.
How to experience a healthy cycle
Achieving healthy and fuller hair is influenced by factors such as genetics and hormone levels, which are mostly beyond your control. However, there are also manageable aspects related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and practicing proper hair care.
Here are some effective strategies for each of the four stages:
Good Nutrition: A balanced diet with key nutrients is essential for healthy hair. Eating a diverse, nutrient-rich diet and staying hydrated is key for promoting healthy hair. Some of the best nutrients for hair health include:
1. Protein: Hair is primarily made of protein, so ensure you get enough in your diet.
2. Biotin: A B-vitamin that supports hair growth and strength.
3. Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, so include iron-rich foods.
4. Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fish and flaxseeds, they promote scalp health.
5. Vitamins A and C: These vitamins help with the production of sebum, the scalp's natural oil.
6. Zinc: Supports hair growth and repair.
7. Vitamin D: Important for hair follicle cycling.
8. Selenium: Helps keep the scalp healthy.
9. Amino acids: Necessary for protein production.
Consult a healthcare professional or a dietitian for personalized advice.
Stress : To promote healthy hair growth, it's important to manage and reduce stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet and proper hair care can help mitigate the effects of stress on your hair. Stress can have a significant impact on healthy hair growth in several ways:
1. Telogen Effluvium: High stress levels can trigger a condition called telogen effluvium, where a significant number of hair follicles prematurely enter the resting (telogen) phase, leading to excessive hair shedding.
2. Hormonal Imbalance: Stress can disrupt hormone balance, potentially increasing the production of stress hormones like cortisol. This hormonal imbalance can affect hair growth cycles.
3. Reduced Nutrient Absorption: Stress can affect digestion and nutrient absorption, potentially depriving hair follicles of essential nutrients required for healthy growth.
4. Trichotillomania: In extreme cases, severe stress can lead to conditions like trichotillomania, where individuals compulsively pull out their hair, causing damage and hair loss.
5. Inflammation: Chronic stress can lead to inflammation in the body, which may negatively impact the health of hair follicles.
Proper Hair Care
Proper hair care is essential for promoting healthy hair because it helps maintain the hair's overall health and appearance. Here are some reasons why:
1. Cleansing: Regularly washing your hair removes dirt, excess oils, and product buildup, which can clog hair follicles and lead to scalp issues.
2. Moisture balance: Using the right shampoos and conditioners helps keep your hair properly moisturized, preventing dryness or excessive oiliness.
3. Damage prevention: Avoiding excessive heat styling, chemical treatments, and harsh brushing can prevent damage and breakage.
4. Scalp health: A clean and well-moisturized scalp is crucial for healthy hair growth, as it provides a strong foundation for the hair follicles.
5. Nutrient intake: Proper hair care can involve using products or a diet that provides essential nutrients like vitamins, proteins, and minerals that support hair growth.
6. Detangling: Gentle detangling and brushing prevent knots and breakage, maintaining the hair's integrity.
7. Trimming: Regular trims can remove split ends, promoting healthier hair growth.
Overall, proper hair care practices help create an environment conducive to strong, vibrant, and healthy hair.