Despite what you might have read or heard, Scientists say that the hair growth cycle actually has 4 stages and not just 3. These stages account for our hair’s behaviour at any given time. Understanding each stage helps us gain better insight as to how our hair grows.
Stage 1: Anagen
Anagen, otherwise known as ‘the growing stage’, is the longest phase. On average it lasts for about 3 - 5 years, sometimes even 7! According to Healthline, during the anagen phase, your hair follicles are basically pushing out hairs that will continue to grow until they’re cut or until they reach the end of their lifespan and fall out. The cells of anagen hairs are among the most rapidly replicating cells in the human body.
Research shows that at any given time, about 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase.
Stage 2: Catagen
The catagen phase starts when anagen ends and just before telogen begins. It’s a brief phase, lasting less than 12 days. Within this time, hair growth slows and some hair follicles may even shrink. If you refer back to the diagram above, you’ll see that during this phase, hair separates from the bottom of the hair follicle, yet remains in place during its final days of growing.
At any given time, only about 5% of the hairs on your head are in the catagen phase.
Stage 3: Telogen
Telogen, otherwise known as the ‘resting stage’ typically lasts for 3 months. This is dubbed the resting phase because no hair growth takes place during this phase. Some health experts consider the telogen phase the shedding phase, as well, but many scientists have divided this stage into two parts: the telogen and exogen stages. Because hair doesn’t actually fall out during the telogen phase, it just takes a break. A telogen effluvium is when stress causes hair roots to be pushed prematurely into the resting state.
Around 10 - 15% of the hairs on your head are in the telogen phase.
Stage 4: Exogen
Exogen phase is the shedding stage. During the exogen phase, hair is shed from the scalp. This stage usually lasts for about 2 - 5 months. This stage is further enabled by washing and brushing. The average human loses about 50 to 100 hairs per day during the exogen phase - this is normal and barely noticeable. During this phase, new hairs grow while old hairs fall away.
So basically our hair grows for a few years, then rests for a few months, sheds and then regrows. To ensure this healthy cycle continues without any abnormalities, we have to care for our hair from the inside-out as well as outside-in.
How can you support your hair’s anagen phase? Looking forward to reading your thoughts below!
To happy, healthy hair.