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The Hair Growth Cycle

Often people ask after diagnosis how long their hair is going to take to grow back and to be honest there is not normally a very straight forward answer. Everyone is different and it will also depend on that persons hair growth cycle.

What is a hair growth cycle?

Hair has different stages of growth and there is a repeated cyclic pattern to these stages of growth.

The hair growth has 3 main stages.

  1. Anagen ( Growth stage)

  2. Catagen (Transitional stage)

  3. Telogen (Resting stage)

The anagen stage or the growth stage is where the hair is actively growing. The cells of the hair grow rapidly and this stage can last anywhere between 2-7 years. This means everyone's growth stage will be be different, meaning peoples hair lengths will be different. Around 90% of your hair on your scalp is in this growth stage.

Once the hair comes to the end of the anagen stage it will then enter the catagen stage. This is also known as the transitional or intermediate stage. This is where the hair stops growing and detaches itself from its blood supply. This stage lasts around 2 weeks and is the shortest stage of the hair growth cycle.

The last stage is the telogen stage or the resting stage and is probably the most talked about when it comes to hair loss. This is where the hair that has detached from the blood supply will sit in the follicle before it falls out, this can be between 2-4 months.

This allows the new hair to start its own growth cycle and start growing through. Around 10-15% of the scalp hair is in this telogen stage.

Each hair follicle will go through this cycle at different times, this is so that we do not end up with patches of hair loss or no hair at all. We naturally shed around 100-150 hairs every single day and we often tend to notice these hairs in the shower or when brushing.

There are factors that can disrupt this cycle and this is when we start to see hair loss problems.

These factors can include changes in hormones, nutrition, deficiencies, stress, shock, trauma, crash dieting, medication and illness.

Sometimes these can shorten the anagen (growing) stage and/or extend the telogen (resting) stage, which is where we can start to see excessive shedding.

So once we understand the hair growth cycle and how long each stage takes, we can start to see that recovery after the hair growth cycle has been disrupted could be a good 3-4 months before we start to see any improvement.

Hair loss can be very frustrating and upsetting which is why it is even more frustrating when the regrowth process can feel very slow, but stick with it and if you have seen a trichologist or hair loss professional follow their advice and/or treatment plan and hopefully you will start to see an improvement in your hair.

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