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Hair grows from the follicle, or root, underneath the skin. The hair is ‘fed’ by blood vessels at the base of the follicle, which give it the nourishment it needs to grow. Between starting to grow and falling out years later, each hair passes through four stages: anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen. Every hair is at a different stage of the growth cycle.
Over time, the length of the anagen stage decreases. Therefore, the hair may become weaker and thinner after each cycle. That’s why it’s important to ensure your diet is rich in specific nutrients to maintain normal, healthy hair growth.
If you’re like millions of men and women, your once full, thick, shiny and (dare we say it) youthful looking hair has started to look dull, lifeless, dry and thinning as it ages. There are literally an infinite number of topical treatments and products on the market that claim to repair hair from the outside in. But you must understand hair growth phases and the hair growth cycle in order to understand how to maintain thicker, healthier looking hair from the inside.
Your head is made up of about 150,000 hair follicles. Around 80-90% of hair is in the anagen, or growing, phase of the hair growth cycle at any one time. Throughout the cycle, the hairs on your head are in various stages of growth and shedding. Below, find a step-by-step guide to the phases of the hair growth cycle.
The anagen, or growing, phase usually lasts 2-7 years, and the length of this phase determines the length of our hair.
This is the transitional phase that lasts about ten days. During this stage, the hair follicle decreases in size and detaches from the dermal papilla.
This is the telogen, or resting, phase, which generally lasts around 3 months. Around 10-15% of the hair on your head is in this phase at any given time. While the old hair is resting, a new hair begins the growing phase.
This is a part of the resting phase where the old hair detaches and sheds, and new hair continues to grow. Approximately 50 to 150 of your hairs may fall out daily. That is considered a normal rate of hair shedding.
Hair growth and hair shedding is impacted by a number of factors, including everyday stress, medication, age, heredity and damage caused by the environment, overstyling and poor nutrition.
As we age, the length of the anagen phase decreases, causing the hair to become weaker and thinner after each hair growth cycle. That’s why it’s important to ensure your diet is rich in specific nutrients to maintain normal, healthy hair growth.
When it comes to nutrition, a good diet and supplements with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are important to help maintain healthy hair growth. Whatever we eat goes into our bloodstream, and our blood then delivers these nutrients via capillaries to the dermal papilla, which nourishes growing hair.
What happens to your body today is not going to affect your hair tomorrow. It takes a number of months, depending on the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle, to see the effects. So nourish your hair follicles with good nutrition, reduce your stress and avoid the use of damaging heat styling tools to reduce damage to hair strands. Take good care of tresses throughout the hair growth cycle to promote healthier, thicker looking hair.
If hairs enter the resting phase too early, excess shedding and noticeable thinning of the hair can occur.
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