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How Does The Hair Growth Cycle Work?

There are so many different advertisements and people out there giving advice about hair growth, but how do you know what really works and what is just a marketing gimmick? If you’re facing hair loss, you can’t afford to waste time with ineffective hair growth methods.

But before you commit to a hair growth routine, understanding the hair growth cycle can help you know how to increase your own hair growth naturally. Here’s what you need to know about how the hair growth cycle works, and how to use it to your advantage to grow your hair thicker, longer and healthier.

Hair Structure

Your hair has two main parts: a hair follicle and hair shaft.

The hair follicle is what keeps your hair attached to the scalp and contains both a papilla and bulb underneath your skin. The bulb contains active cells to grow the hair and the papilla provides blood supply to the hair follicle to support healthy hair growth.

A hair shaft is the hair that grows out of the follicle and is visible. Hair shafts are made out of Keratin, a hard protein, and a protective layer referred to as the cuticle.

Hair Growth Cycle Length

Hair growth takes place over several stages. During the longest phase, the anagen phase, your hair is actively growing. The hair growth cycle takes about two to seven years before your hair follicles stop producing more cells. In those years, your hair can grow from 18 to 30 inches.

The other stages of the hair growth cycle take just a few more months total. So, the entire hair growth cycle can range from two and a half years to seven or even eight years. Obviously, the longer this cycle lasts the more your hair will grow.

The 3 Stages of Hair Growth

To understand your hair growth cycle, you must know the three (or some consider it four) stages of hair growth and about how long they take. Your hair growth cycle will vary depending on factors such as your age, gender, genetics and more but these are the typical hair growth cycle phases and how long they take.

Anagen Phase

The first stage of the hair growth cycle is the anagen phase, or the period of hair growth. Lasting two to seven years, this is typically the longest phase of the cycle. For most people, though, the anagen phase lasts three to five years. This length varies depending on your genetics, age, health and much more. It does also vary depending on the type of hair, for instance, eyebrow and pubic hairs have much shorter phases than the hair on your head.

In the anagen phase, hair follicles will push out hairs that grow until they fall out, or reach the end of their lifespan. Studies show that the majority of the hair on your head, as much as 90%, is in the anagen stage at any time.

Catagen Phase

The second stage of hair growth is the catagen phase, which is a transition phase where your hair follicles shrink, and hair growth slows down. The hair will stop receiving blood supply and is deemed a club hair. This phase typically only affects a small portion of the hairs on your head at any given time, and it only lasts about ten days to two weeks.

Telogen Phase

Finally, the telogen phase is the part of the hair growth cycle when hairs are not growing but aren’t necessarily falling out either. This stage typically lasts about three months and during this time new hairs will start to form follicles beneath the club hairs.

At any given time, about 10 to 15 percent of the hairs on your scalp are in the telogen phase. And, while some consider hair shedding a part of the telogen phase, there is debate among scientists whether hair shedding should be a separate stage of the hair growth cycle.

Bonus: Exogen Phase

Some people also count a fourth stage when your hair sheds, or the exogen phase. During this phase, you will get hair loss from brushing or washing it and you may lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day. This phase can last two to five months, but new hairs will grow as the old ones fall out. As you can imagine, if you’re shedding 50 to 100 hairs a day and replacing them, without noticing it at all, that’s a lot of hairs! On average, you have about 100,000 hair follicles on your hair at one time.

How to Increase Your Hair Growth Cycle

To help your hair grow as long and as healthy as possible and avoid hair loss you’ll want it to stay in the anagen phase as long as you can. This phase can last anywhere from two to seven years and varies depending on a variety of factors like genetics. However, there are a few things you can do to extend the anagen stage and increase your hair growth cycle.

For instance, you should aim to maintain a healthy diet and lifecycle, avoid damaging your hair, and use products that will help increase your hair growth.

Additionally, try following these tips to increase your hair growth cycle:

  • Increase vitamin intake, especially vitamin E

  • Eat more protein

  • Increase foods rich in biotin

  • Maintain a well-balanced diet

  • Use coconut oil in your hair

  • Use silk, rather than cotton, pillowcase

What Shortens Your Hair Growth

The following things can shorten your hair growth cycle, or cause hair loss, and you should decrease them if you want to grow your hair as much as possible:

  • High levels of stress

  • Extreme calorie-restricted diets

  • Pregnancy

  • Any hormonal imbalance

  • Applying too much heat to the hair

  • Maintaining a poor diet

  • Overusing hair products

  • Pulling hair too tight (don’t do high ponytails and buns every day!)

Prevent Hair Loss with the Hair Growth Cycle

Now that you understand the hair growth cycle and the four stages of hair growth, you can prevent hair loss by keeping your hair healthy and strong. If you need help I am just a click away book a free call today.

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