Hair Growth Cycle
By Sarah on 19 June 2009
So many times I am asked the questions, "Why won't my hair grow long?" and "Why does my sister's hair grow fast and mine slow?" It can be quite frustrating waiting for our hair to grow. Even more so if you do the right thing and look after your hair with the best treatments and get regular trims in order to help it grow and it still seems to take forever.
While looking after your hair is great for hair growth, there is a scientific reason as to why hair doesn't grow as fast or as long as others and I have written this article to set the record straight for all of you long hair hopefuls and to help you to understand why you have to wait longer than others for a gorgeous head of long hair.
Unlike other mammals, human hair growth and loss is seasonal or cyclic and can happen at anytime. On average, our hair will grow around 6 inches in one year, but that is not always the case for some of us who have a shorter first growth phase as opposed to others who have a longer first growth phase and will experience a lot more hair growth.
Our hair growth has three stages: anagen (first stage), catagen (second stage) and telogen (third stage).
The anagen stage averages at about 1,000 days but can range from 2 years up to 6 years. The anagen phase is when your hair is actively growing from your hair follicle and out of your scalp. For those of us who can't grow their hair very far past their shoulders, it is because your anagen phase is short and most likely lasts for 2 to 3 three years only.
- For those of you with a short anagen stage, stick to hair treatments and trims every 6 to 8 weeks to keep your hair in good condition so that no breakage occurs while the short anagen stage is taking place.
This is the transition stage and around 4 percent of your hairs are in this stage at one time. The catagen stage will last for around 2 to 3 weeks, during which time your hair growth will stop and your hair follicle will shrink and part of it will start to die.
The telogen stage is the final stage of your hair growth. When your old hair is in this stage the hair follicle will become active again and will start the anagen stage to grow new hair. This will force your old hair out of the follicle to make way for your new hair to begin the three stages in the same follicle.
- It's important to remember that all of your hair is in different stages at any time, so just because your hair telogen stage is over and the old hair is falling out and being replaced doesn't mean that the hair follicle next to it is. If that were true then you wouldn't be able to maintain your length.
I hope that understanding the growth cycle of your hair will help you to be aware of the reasons as to why your hair may not grow as fast or as long as you'd like it to. Unfortunately if you hair does grow slow there is not a lot that you can do about it, but making sure that your hair is healthy and keeping up with treatments and regular trims will ensure that your hair looks and feels great at any length.