While reading up on various growth aids for my Shoulder Length in 2012 challenge, an article on MSM* lead me to information about hair growth cycles. Which made me realize how silly it was of me to be trying to growth healthy hair, without knowing anything about the way hair grows. I’m talking serious duh moment!
Hair is said to grow in three phases: Anagen, Catagen, Telogen.
1. The Anagen phase, also known as the Active Growth phase. During the Anagen phase, cells within the hair papilla are continuously dividing and forming new hair fibers. This can last up to 8 years in any given person; however, this is determined purely by genetics. The longer hair remains in this phase, the longer the hair will grow. Hair supplements*, such as MSM and biotin prolong the Anagen phase. 85% of the hair on your head is in Anagen phase at any time.
2. The Catagen phase, commonly called the Transition phase. This is the phase in which hair becomes detached from the dermal papilla; losing its blood supply and becomes pushed out of the dermal layer. This stage last up to two weeks.
3. The Telogen phase, otherwise known as the Resting phase. During this phase, the hair follicle lies dormant. This can last between 1-4 months. As the Telogen phase ends and a new Anagen phase begins, the old hair follicle is pushed out by the newly growing hair. This causes what we know as shedding. At any time 10-15% of the hair on your head may be in Telogen phase. [SOURCE]
Without any breakage, trimming, or hair cuts; hair grows at an average rate of 0.5 inches a month. Meaning the average person grows approximately 6 inches of growth a year. However, there are several other disorders that affect the hair growth cycle.
- Telogen effluvium occurs when the natural balance of the hair growth cycle is disrupted and the telogen phase predominates. This leads to excess shedding. This can be caused by physical and emotional stressors. If handfuls of hair are lost, it may be due to issues of malnutrition. Treating the source of the issue, will treat the disorder.
- Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male-pattern baldness, is hair thinning at the temples and crown of the head in males and centrally in females. Androgens produced in this area shorten the anagen phase leading to gradual hair thinning. Treatment involves hormone therapy to decrease androgens produced in these areas.
- Alopecia areata is complete hair loss in a localized area; however, this can extend to the entire scalp and other regions of the body.
- There are various other disorders that can be caused by styling methods, dermal infections, etc.
I feel like I understand hair growth more after knowing this. This is yet another reason why I really need to read the Science of Black Hair! One day, soon. I hope…