Catagen Phase: Understanding The Hair Growth Cycle

Catagen Phase: Understanding The Hair Growth Cycle

As someone who has always been conscious about my hair health, I've come across various terms related to hair growth.

One term that continually pops up is the "catagen phase.

" Curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to delve deeper into understanding what catagen phase is all about.

Join me as we explore the significance, functioning, benefits, downsides, and alternative options associated with the catagen phase in the hair growth cycle.

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What Is Catagen Phase?

The catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase, is the second stage of the hair growth cycle.

It follows the anagen (growth) phase and precedes the telogen (resting) phase.

During this phase, hair follicles cease producing new hair strands and undergo a short dormancy period.

Hair growth cycle

Why Is Catagen Phase Important?

Understanding the importance of the catagen phase is crucial for those seeking to stimulate hair growth.

This phase serves as a vital reset button for your hair follicles.

It allows them to renew themselves and make way for new hair growth.

By transitioning from the catagen phase to the telogen phase, your hair prepares itself for new beginnings and stronger, healthier strands of hair.

How Does Catagen Phase Work?

Understanding the process of the catagen phase can give us a clearer perspective on its significance.

Here's a breakdown of how the catagen phase works:

Shutting down hair growth

During the catagen phase, specific signals trigger the hair follicles to stop producing new cells.

This leads to the detachment of the hair strand from the nutrient-rich blood supply, halting its growth.

Outer root sheath shrinks

As the catagen phase progresses, the outer root sheath of the hair follicle shrinks, tightly surrounding the hair strand.

This is a natural process to provide support and nourishment to the hair during the transition.1

Hair follicle retraction

Eventually, the hair follicle starts retracting upwards, detaching from the scalp's deeper layers.

This retraction ensures that the hair follicle remains dormant during the following telogen phase.

What Are The Benefits Of Catagen Phase?

Embracing the catagen phase brings several benefits for promoting healthier hair growth:

  • Improved hair strength: By shedding old and weak hair, the catagen phase paves the way for the growth of stronger and thicker hair strands.
  • Stimulated blood flow: During the catagen phase, the hair follicle detaches from the blood supply momentarily. This brief detachment allows for increased blood flow and nutrient delivery to the dormant hair follicle, preparing it for vigorous growth during the anagen phase.
  • Maintained hair growth cycle: The catagen phase acts as a critical regulator in maintaining a balanced hair growth cycle. This ensures that hair continually renews itself, promoting healthier scalp conditions and preventing premature hair loss.2
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What Is The Science Behind The Catagen Phase?

When it comes to understanding the catagen phase, delving into the scientific aspects can deepen our knowledge.

This transitional phase plays a crucial role in the hair growth cycle.

During the catagen phase, certain biochemical processes occur within our hair follicles, resulting in the detachment of the hair strand from its blood supply.

This detachment is a signal that the active growth phase is coming to an end, making way for the next stage of the hair growth cycle.

What Are The Key Features Of The Catagen Phase?

The catagen phase boasts several key features that make it a critical part of the hair growth cycle.

Let's take a closer look at these features:

  • Follicle Contraction: During the catagen phase, the hair follicles contract, causing the hair shaft to detach from the blood supply that nourishes it.
  • Cell Division Slowdown: At this stage, cell division within the hair follicles slows down significantly, leading to the shrinking of the follicles.
  • Shutdown of Hair Growth: As the follicles shrink and disconnect from the blood supply, hair growth comes to a temporary halt.

What Are The Inner Workings Of The Catagen Phase?

To truly grasp the significance of the catagen phase, it's vital to understand its inner workings.

Let's delve into the intricate processes that occur during this transitional stage:

Follicle Detachment

As the catagen phase begins, a signal is sent to the hair follicles prompting them to detach from the blood vessels that supply them with essential nutrients.

Transition to Resting Phase

Once detached, the hair follicles enter a resting phase known as the telogen phase.

This is when the old hair strand becomes disconnected from the follicle, making room for new growth.

Follicle Reorganization

During the catagen phase, while the hair strand is still attached to the scalp, the hair follicle undergoes reorganization and prepares for the next stage of the hair growth cycle.

Preparation for Shedding

Concurrently, the follicle forms a club hair, which is essentially a dead hair strand ready to be shed in the telogen phase.

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What Is The Importance Of Catagen Phase In Our Body?

The catagen phase plays a crucial role in our body's hair growth cycle.

Here's why it's essential for healthy and vibrant hair:

  • Renewal and Regeneration: The catagen phase allows the hair follicles to renew and prepare for the emergence of new, healthy hair strands.3
  • Scalp Health: By shedding old hair strands and detaching from the blood supply, the catagen phase contributes to maintaining a healthy scalp environment for new hair growth.
  • Hair Thickness and Volume: As the catagen phase sets the stage for new growth, it promotes thicker and more voluminous hair over time.

What Are Factors Affecting Catagen Phase Duration?

Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive into the catagen phase in more detail.

Here's an exploration of the various aspects and nuances of this crucial stage in the hair growth cycle:

  • Duration: On average, the catagen phase lasts for about two to three weeks. However, variations in duration can occur depending on individual factors.
  • Factors Influencing Catagen Phase: Various factors can impact the length and intensity of the catagen phase, including age, genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions.
  • Signs of Catagen Phase: During the catagen phase, you may experience hair that is no longer growing but is still firmly attached to the scalp. Keep in mind that these hairs will eventually shed during the telogen phase.

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Final Thoughts On The Catagen Phase

Exploring the catagen phase has allowed us to uncover the essential role it plays in hair growth and the development of healthier and more vibrant locks.

Understanding this transitional stage provides us with valuable insights into how to optimize our hair growth journey.

With a deep-rooted understanding of the scientific mechanisms behind the catagen phase and its benefits, we can now navigate our hair care routines more effectively.

Embracing the catagen phase as a natural part of the hair growth cycle empowers us to make informed choices and invest in products that support and nourish our hair during this important stage.

At Fully Vital, our mission is to offer a variety of hair growth products designed to nurture and protect your hair.

By utilizing our products, you can enhance the natural processes of the catagen phase and experience healthier, more resilient locks.

So why wait? Embrace the power of the catagen phase and embark on a journey towards revitalized and vibrant hair.

Take the next step and give your hair the care it deserves with Fully Vital. Your locks will thank you!

Remember, healthy hair starts from within, and our hair growth products are here to help you nurture your hair and maintain a more joyous and fulfilling relationship with your locks.

Frequently Asked Questions On The Catagen Phase

Is hair growth possible during the catagen phase?

Hair growth does not occur during the catagen phase itself.

This phase is primarily focused on the renewal and regression of the hair follicle

How long does the catagen phase last?

The catagen phase is relatively short compared to other phases in the hair growth cycle.

On average, it lasts for about two to three weeks before transitioning into the telogen phase.

However, it's important to note that the duration can vary slightly from person to person.

What happens to the hair follicle during the catagen phase?

During the catagen phase, the hair follicle undergoes regression and structural changes.

It shrinks in size and detaches itself from the blood supply, limiting its nourishment. 

What percentage of hair is usually in the catagen phase?

At any given time, approximately 3-5% of our hair is in the catagen phase.

The majority of our hair is either in the anagen phase (active growth phase) or the telogen phase (resting phase).

Can stress affect the catagen phase of hair growth?

Yes, stress can have an impact on the catagen phase of hair growth.

Excessive stress or emotional trauma can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, leading to a condition called telogen effluvium. 

How can I identify if my hair is in the catagen phase?

Identifying the specific phase of hair growth without professional examination can be challenging.

However, if you notice excessive shedding or hair strands that appear shorter, thinner, or looser, it may indicate that your hair is in the catagen phase. 

How can I prevent my hair from entering the catagen phase?

The catagen phase is a natural part of the hair growth cycle and cannot be entirely prevented.

However, adopting a healthy lifestyle, managing stress levels, and maintaining good hair care practices can promote overall hair health and minimize hair loss during all phases.

Can certain medications affect the duration of the catagen phase?

Yes, certain medications can affect the duration of the catagen phase and disrupt the hair growth cycle.

Medications such as chemotherapy drugs or those used for specific medical conditions may induce excessive hair shedding by triggering an extended or accelerated catagen phase. 

How does aging affect the length of the catagen phase?

Aging can impact the length of the catagen phase.

As we age, the anagen phase may become shorter, leading to a relative increase in the duration of the catagen and telogen phases.

This can result in thinner, slower hair growth over time.

Can the catagen phase contribute to hair loss?

While the catagen phase is a part of the natural hair growth cycle, it is not a direct cause of hair loss.

Excessive hair loss or thinning hair may indicate an underlying issue or disrupted hair growth cycle. 

Is it possible to stimulate hair growth during the catagen phase?

Hair growth during the catagen phase is generally less active compared to the anagen phase.

While it's not possible to directly stimulate hair growth during the catagen phase, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and proper hair care, can help promote overall hair health.

Hair growth-promoting treatments and products are often more effective during the anagen phase when the hair follicles are actively growing.

How can one distinguish between hair in the catagen phase and hair in the telogen phase?

Distinguishing between hair in the catagen phase and hair in the telogen phase can be challenging without specialized equipment.

Both phases involve a cessation of active hair growth.

However, hair in the catagen phase may still be connected to the hair follicle, albeit in a weakened state, while hair in the telogen phase has fully detached and is ready to shed.

An experienced dermatologist or trichologist may be able to differentiate between the two by examining the hair and scalp.

Are there any specific treatments or products recommended for hair in the catagen phase?

Specific treatments or products for hair in the catagen phase are limited because this phase represents a natural transition between active growth and resting phases.

However, maintaining overall hair and scalp health is essential.

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, along with proper hair care practices like gentle cleansing and conditioning, can help support hair during this transitional phase.


  1. Hoover, E., Alhajj, M., & Flores, J. L. (2020). Physiology, Hair. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.
  2. ‌Natarelli, N., Gahoonia, N., & Sivamani, R. K. (2023). Integrative and Mechanistic Approach to the Hair Growth Cycle and Hair Loss. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 12(3), 893.
  3. ‌Murphrey, M. B., Agarwal, S., & Zito, P. M. (2021). Anatomy, Hair. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.