The journey to healthy and vibrant hair begins with understanding the different hair growth stages. The leading hair experts at Malay Mehta Aesthetic Clinic have created this comprehensive guide on the different phases of hair growth, and the significance of each stage.
So if you are curious about the growth cycle and how to optimise your hair care routine, keep reading to unlock the mysteries!
The 4 phases of hair growth.
The cycle of growth consists of four distinct phases. It is important to note that each hair follicle on the scalp is completely independent, so will go through this cycle at different times.
The Anagen Phase (Growth)
In the anagen phase (or the growing stage), the hair follicle actively produces new strands of the hair. The cells in the root (also called the hair bulb) rapidly divide to form new hair. This stage is also called “growth” or “active” phase.
In this phase of the cycle, hair grows approximately half an inch each month, and can last on average between 3 and 5 years.
The Catagen Phase (Transition)
The catagen phase of the hair growth cycle is where the hair follicle shrinks, cutting off the blood supply. This phase lasts approximately 10 days and usually only about 3% of your hairs are in this phase at the same time.
The Telogen Phase (Resting)
The telogen phase is the resting phase, where the hair strands remain in hair follicles but don’t actively grow. Approximately 10 to 15% of hair follicles are in the telogen phase at any given time and it can last for about 3 months.
The Exogen Phase (Shedding)
The exogen phase of hair is the final stage. During this stage the follicle releases your hair strands and the whole process begins again. In other words, this is when natural hair loss occurs before the cycle begins from the anagen phase once more.
What happens if something disrupts this cycle?
There are some conditions or risks that can disrupt the growth phase of the hair at different points. These are:
- Metabolic imbalances
- Thyroid disease
- Poor nutrition or restrictive dieting
- Illness or high fever
- Hormonal changes, such as post-partum
- Stress and anxiety
These different conditions or risks can disrupt the hair growth cycle and impact the health of your hair. For example, poor nutrition may cut the anagen phase short, which results in more hair than normal entering the telogen phase at the same time. This will increase your hair loss and lead to excessive shedding or even noticeable thinning in the hair of the scalp.
How to nurture hair during this hair growth cycle.
There are some things, such as hormones and genetics, that you cannot control. However, there are plenty of other things you can control that will help maintain healthy growth:
- A well, balanced and nutritious diet.
- Ensure a sufficient intake of vitamins such as vitamins D, C and B12, iron, zinc, and folic acid.
- Aim to reduce stress and anxiety. These may contribute to different types of hair loss conditions such as Telogen effluvium, trichotillomania or alopecia areata.
- Choose the right hair products designed for your hair type.
- Avoid shampoo and other hair products with harsh chemicals.
- Don’t pull your hair up tight in the same hairstyle every day.
- Avoid excessive heat styling.
Hair growth through the stages
You can see why nourishing your hair and minimising disruptions to the different phases is the way to support healthy growth. If one thing upsets the balance, it can alter the entire cycle of growth.
If you are looking for more advice on how to nurture your hair through the different stages and encourage healthy hair growth, contact the friendly team at Malay Mehta Aesthetics Clinic. Our experts in all things hair and scalp can help alleviate your concerns and target any issues you may be having.
Read through the commonly asked questions below:
How long is each of the hair growth stages?
The duration of each of the stages varies:
- The anagen phase is the longest and can last between 3 and 5 years (sometimes even longer).
- The catagen phase is the shortest stage and usually lasts for about 10 days.
- The telogen phase typically lasts for 2 to 3 months.
- The exogen phase lasts approximately 2 to 5 months.
Which stage of growth lasts the longest?
The anagen phase, or the active stage lasts the longest at 3 to 5 years. This growth stage will see the hair shaft actively growing at a rate of about half an inch per month.
How does the hair growth cycle work?
Your hair goes through four different phases of growth. Your hair follicles are all completely independent so will be at different stages of this cycle (so you won’t shed all your hair at once). The four phases are:
- The anagen (growth) phase
- The catagen (transition) phase
- The telogen (resting) phase
- The exogen (shedding) phase
What happens when the hair growth cycle is disrupted?
If this cycle is interrupted, you may experience increased shedding, thinning, weaker strands or even balding.
What can you do to try and maintain hair health during these 4 stages?
To maintain hair health you can use products to suit your hair type, eat a nutritious diet, avoid harsh chemicals and pulling your hair up tight all the time, and try to reduce stress or anxiety. If you are still concerned about hair loss, consult with a specialist such as Dr Malay Mehta.