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Phases of Human Hair Growth

By now, it will be very obvious to us that human hair grows quite abundantly at almost all parts of our body. There are some parts of our body however, that represents an absence of hair growth, particularly the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet, the eye lids and the lips. Like that of our skin, hair is keratinized, made mostly of flat cells with overlayed keratin (keratin is a protein), which posses qualities similar to that of rope fabrics which give ample strength for the hair shaft. The human cycle of hair growth has three (3) phases that involve the growth of hair until it eventually falls of from our heads. These are the anagen phase, the catagen phase and the telogen phase. These three phases relatively determine the capacity and the length of your hair growth.

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These phases all happen simultaneously at the same time. This is also the case regarding the other types of hair growing on our body, besides the hair on our scalp of course. There is also the vellus hair and the androgenic hair which serves both different purposes and functions in regards to giving our bodies the needed warmth and the ample protection from the elements. The three detailed stages of the development of human hair growth on our body which are the anagen, catagen and telogen phase all occur at the same time on each strand of hair in our human body. When one full cycle of each stage is complete, The cycle starts up again as soon as a new strand of hair begins to form and emerge from the follicles itself.

The average human hair grows to an estimated length of about 1.25 centimeters or about 0.5 inches in about a months time or if you would like to convert that to a yearly rate of 1.5 centimeters or about exactly 6 inches a year.

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The Anagen Phase

This phase represents the first time that the follicle will be growing a new strand of hair, though not yet visible on the scalp surface, it is already on it’s first stage of growth prior to emerging from the scalp. The growth cycle starts in the papilla of the inner follicle which can take to as much in between 2 to 6 years before even starting to come out from the scalp. Genetics place a crucial decisive roll on the progress of hair growth. It would be very interesting to know that the longer that the hair develops in the anagen phase, the faster it will grow. The development of the hair inside the follicle resembles like that of a ball of twine or string that when it has grown just enough, it will be eventually be making it’s way out of the follicles through the scalp which will give you an itchy sensation that will make you scratch your head. This simple stimuli of scratching your hair, will eventually pull out the newly developed hair strand from your scalp, completing the anagen stage of hair growth. The total number of anagen hair growths on a person is 85% of all hair on a persons head.

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The Catagen Phase

The catagen phase is also considered as the transitional phase of hair growth which the follicles are given the chance to rejuvenate or revitalize themselves. It is through the body’s natural enzymatic and hormonal functions that trigger this phase. It is during this stage of hair development that the follicles actually begin to shrink due to hormonal triggering mechanisms that make the papilla to detach itself, going into a sort of resting period, which results in the steady dwindling supply of the blood supply and the nutrients that nourishes the follicles. This resting stage of the papilla, reduces the size of the follicles by as much as 1/6th of it’s original size due to the lack of the much needed nutrients by the hair follicle. Though it is true that the papilla has regressed into a resting phase, the length of the fibers still remain the same.

The Telogen Phase

The telogen phase is the dormant phase of the human hair growth cycle and is also considered as the final stages of hair growth. What is actually fascinating about this stage is realizing that your hair once it has entered this phase of the cycle, has actually been dead for the past 1 to 4 months! This stage may result in almost 10 to 15 percent of the total hairs on your head are actually already in this stage for the past 4 months. Since this stage of hair development is on it’s final stages, the hormones in the body are once again triggered to restart the anagen phase in order to instruct the papilla to produce new hair strands. The newly produced hair strands that are developing inside the papilla will now start to push out and eject the old hair strands on your scalp, eventually dislodging it to give way to newly grown hair strands, therefore completing the three cycles oh human hair growth. This results in the shedding of hair in a daily basis.

To think that everyday of our lives as we groom ourselves when we brush or comb our hair, we shed off so much hair on our scalp thinking that there must be something wrong with our follicular hair growth. As it came out to be a natural occurrence within the cycle of our development of hair growth. It can be considered that our daily reason for shedding hair means that there are already new sets of hair that are now replacing the old hair strands that have already fallen off our scalp.

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Josh Matthews

My name is Josh Matthews and I am 53 years old and live in Miami. I have two kids, one boy and one girl with my wife Linda. My son Jon is now 19 years old and in College. My daughter Jennifer is 14 and still in High-School. We also have a dog. When I don't work in the marketing department of a health company, I like to spend time outdoors with my family and friends. I don't do as much sport as I should but my family and me go on a skiing vacation at least once a year.

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About the author

I am 53 years old and live in Miami. I have two kids, one boy and one girl with my wife Linda. My son Jon is now 19 years old and in College. My daughter Jennifer is 14 and still in High-School. We also have a dog. When I don’t work in the marketing department of a health company, I like to spend time outdoors with my family and friends. I don’t do as much sport as I should but my family and me go on a skiing vacation at least once a year.

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