Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle
Those worried about hair loss often obsess over the hair shed when brushing or combing it. But how much hair loss is normal? When should you be worried? Understanding the natural hair growth phases will help put your mind at ease if you are concerned about hair loss.
What Is The Natural Hair Growth Cycle?
The human hair growth and shedding cycle has four phases – anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
During the anagen phase, hair pushes out from the scalp, growing continuously unless broken or cut. The catagen phase is when the hair’s growth slows, and the follicles shrink. This is followed by the telogen phase – when hair strands do not grow, and new strands begin to form. Then the exogen phase, when old hair strands are released to make way for new ones to grow.
All the hair on your body goes through these phases, including your eyelashes, brows, and facial hair.
How Long Is the Hair Growth Cycle?
The hair growth cycle can last as little as two years or for as long as ten years. During the anagen phase, hair grows about a centimeter every 28 days. The length of time our hair spends in the anagen phase depends upon our genetics, diet, and overall health.
Many things can obstruct or slow the growth cycle – including illness, stress, poor diet, and hormonal changes. When the cycle is disrupted, formerly healthy follicles produce thinner, weaker hair strands. In addition, some health issues can cause fragile, easily broken hair or permanent hair loss.
The final three phases are relatively short. The catagen phase lasts only about ten days, the telogen phase lasts approximately three months, and the exogen phase lasts two to five months.
Does Your Hair Change Every Seven Years?
It is commonly believed that one’s hair changes every seven years. This may be accurate early in life, but it isn’t always true once an individual reaches adulthood. Our hair’s texture, thickness, and other properties can change with each growth cycle, but the frequency varies from person to person.
Can You Stimulate The Hair Growth Cycle?
Diet and the use of external products can maximize the hair growth cycle. Good nutrition and increased circulation to the scalp are crucial components of a successful growth cycle.
The first line of support is to eat a balanced diet focused on healthy proteins that promote hair growth and scalp health. Lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, and low-fat dairy products are growth-friendly options. In addition, carrots, avocados, and oysters contain vitamins and minerals that support hair growth.
If you need an extra nutritional boost, vitamin and mineral supplements are formulated specifically to aid in hair growth. These usually include biotin and other nutrients associated with healthy hair growth, such as zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, and iron. Like any supplements, you should consult your physician before adding these to your regimen.
External hair products containing caffeine improves blood flow to the scalp, which may encourage hair growth and lengthen the duration of the anagen phase. Studies indicate that these products work better for women than men.
Another method of increasing blood flow to hair follicles is through scalp massage. Massaging the scalp for just a few minutes a day has been shown to stimulate circulation and increase hair thickness and density.
Call Austin Hair Restoration About Your Hair Loss
If attempts to stimulate hair growth aren’t providing the desired results, call us at Austin Hair Restoration Clinic to schedule a consultation. After an evaluation, we’ll determine if hair restoration – including the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant System – is right for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Dr. Sanjeev Dubey is an experienced hair restoration and emergency medicine physician in Austin, Texas. He holds a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and has been practicing medicine for over two decades. His affiliations include Seton Medical Center Austin, Seton Northwest, and various local hospitals.