Updated: Mar 13
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Growth and Loss of Hair Stages
In addition to growing and shedding at different rates depending on many genetic and lifestyle factors, hair also transmits sensory information to the brain. For understanding hair growth and preventing premature hair loss, scientists have studied the distinct stages of hair growth. A stage's timeline depends on genetics, nutrition, age, and health.
There are two parts to hair: the follicle and the shaft. Hair follicles are under the skin, but you can see the shaft above your scalp. Each layer of the follicle has a different function. The follicle extends from the epidermis to the dermis and is divided into two layers. Dermal papillas nourish the cells at the base of the follicle. The bulb surrounds the papilla and divides every 24 to 72 hours. Inner and outer sheaths protect hair shafts. Hair is made up of these parts that work together tirelessly.
Hair grows in four stages: anagen, anogen, exogen, and telogen.
Anagen - First Stage of Hair Growth
A follicle pushes club hair up when new hair is formed. It is hair that is no longer growing and is no longer in the anagen phase.
It takes about 28 days for anagen hair to grow a centimeter a day. Everyone's phase may vary. Some people may struggle to grow their hair past a certain length, while others may not.
Those who have difficulty growing their hair may have a shorter anagen phase than those who do.
Catagen - Second Stage of Hair Growth
During the catagen phase, which lasts between two and three weeks, the anagen phase ends. It's a phase in which hair grows slowly and the outer root sheath shrinks. During the catagen stage, your hair separates from the bottom of the follicle, but it remains in place, forming club hair as it grows out.
Approximately 3-5% of your hair is in the catagen stage. Catagen is a transitional stage for your hair, which is why it is also called the transition phase. Catagen is considered the first stage of hair loss even though it is actually the second stage.
Telogen - Third Stage of Hair Growth
About 6-8% of your hair on your scalp is in the telogen stage (also known as the resting phase) for about 3 months at a time. During this phase, hair follicles are at rest as club hair forms. During this phase, your hair doesn't grow. It's solid white at the root during the telogen stage.
In specialist terms, the telogen stage is often called the shedding phase, which is why they refer to the three stages as the final stage of hair growth. It's divided into two stages, referred to by scientists as telogen and exogen, respectively.
You lose about 100 hairs a day in telogen. A condition called telogen effluvium can cause you to lose more. People with telogen effluvium lose about 300 hairs a day as 30% of their hairs rest.
Exogenous Growth - The Fourth Stage
Exogen is often seen as an extension of telogen. In this stage, new hairs grow in the follicles and old hairs fall out. You can see the exogen stage after brushing, combing, or styling your hair. You are expected to lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day during this shedding phase.