Understanding How Your hair grows is really important in learning why your hair thins and falls out and also this knowledge can help you for regrowing your hair or maintain your existing hair by minimizing hair loss. Animated Video explanation at the end.
In this Article, I will explain in simple terms using an animation showing different phases of hair growth. This can certainly help you combat hair loss or hair thinning and can even help you reverse hair loss. We will also look into Some Anagen Hair stimulators and Factors.
We will first begin with the parts or the structure of a single hair. Do not worry, we will not go into full details. Just look at the labels of this diagram and try to understand the structure.
It Made of Two Main Parts:
- The Hair Root or the Hair Follicle
2. Hair Shaft – what we see outside the skin.
This is very important for you to understand that nutrients reach your hair follicle by no other means except blood supply. Understanding this also busts all myths about applying special oils and stuff like that that promise to grow hair. But some topical applications like minoxidil increases the blood supply and hence increases the supply of nutrients or supplements we take orally as a part of hair treatment.
Also remember this tiny projection called dermal papilla which anchors the hair bulb to the hair follicle and to the blood supply.
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Now lets understand the different phases or stages of Hair growth Cycle. Remember all your hair are not in the same stage of hair growth cycle at a time otherwise you would intermittently look bald during these hair growth stages.
Well, Starting from new growth of hair from the follicle to bulb and shaft and then falling off or shedding off, there are Four stages: Anagen, Catagen, Telogen and Exogen Phases. Lets start with
- Anagen or Growing Phase: This growing phase lasts from about 2 years to 6 years. This decides the length of your hair. The longer this phase, the lengthier your hair, specially in females who have grown very long hair, this phase is longer. This length also varies in different races and your genes also plays a very important role. During this phase, a hair grows about one centimeter, or roughly about half of an inch, every month.
Now, Why this Anagen Phase is so Important?
Well, Remember – At any Point of time, over 80 percent of hair on your head are in the anagen phase. And during this phase – the cells in the hair follicle multiply rapidly and keep adding to the hair shaft and your hair grows. And the nutrition to carry out this function comes from the blood supply as already discussed in the structure of hair follicle and this is very important to understand that you must have some great hair growing foods to provide nutrients to these cells through blood supply. Check out this list of some great foods for hair loss.
- Catagen Phase (Transition Phase): The catagen phase is a short transition phase of about 2 weeks when the anagen phase or growing phase comes to an end. It signals the end of the active growth of a hair. In this phase, the hair bulb detaches itself from the dermal papilla and hence from its blood supply and starts to shrink and goes into the next phase.
- Telogen (Resting Phase): This is simply the resting phase and lasts about three months before it goes into the exogen or shedding phase. When hair is in this resting phase a new hair bulb forms to begin the new growth or the anagen phase.
- Exogen (Shedding Phase): Its important to understand this phase for people who panic loosing 50 to 100 hair daily. You see around 10-15 percent of your hair are in this resting phase and out of these they can go into exogen or shedding phase any time. So loosing about 50 to 100 hair daily is completely normal. Never panic when you get hair in your hand while shampooing or combing your hair on if your find some 10 to 20 hair on your pillow. That’s completely physiological.
Now Finally important info on things that can shorten your Anagen or the growing phase. Avoid these and implement some good steps to make your hair healthy and stronger.
- Stress: Any form of stress whether due to illness or even emotional stress, can shorten the anagen phase and more follicles will go into the telogen phase and then shed out.
- Nutritional Deficiencies – Anagen phase needs good supply of nutrients through the blood supply for cells to multiple and contribute to hair growth. This is really important for people who do extensive dieting without proper supplements.
- There are some rare cases of unlucky people with unlucky genes who have short anagen syndrome, where they can never grow longer hair for reasons that are unknown. These people say they never needed a haircut.
- Anagen Stimulators: Some pharma company products claim to be anagen stimulators that help hair stay in the anagen phase for longer duration of time. Before using any of these over-the-counter products, please consult with your dermatologist. But remember the most important part of this episode – that is your hair get nutrition from the blood supply at the base of the hair follicle and this scientific knowledge of hair growth cycle busts a lot of myths on some non sense hacks to regrow your hair circulating all over the internet. I hope you got my point. And am not here to promote any pharma products. Will discuss more on these hair growth stimulators or anagen stimulators in another detailed episode.
So the bottomline is: A healthy scalp with adequate blood flow will absolutely impact the health and length of your hair. Make sure you read Hair Growth Foods article.
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