Hair growth and hair shedding may seem like a normal process, but your hair is a complex mini-organ. The hair cycle contains four different stages that every hair goes through.
Many researchers all over the world have studied the hair cycles to better understand what causes hair to behave differently.
The four stages are called anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen. The first three are responsible for the growth and maturation of the hair. The last one is responsible for shedding of the hair from the scalp.
Read on to learn more about these different cycles.
1. Anagen: The Growth Phase
If there was one phase to rule them all, it's anagen. Anagen is responsible for hair growth and lasts anywhere from 2-7 years in most people.
While every hair on your body goes through an anagen phase, it differs depending on location. The anagen phase for eyebrow or body hair is much shorter than the anagen phase on your scalp.
During the anagen phase, your hair follicles continue to build more of the hair shaft, which pushes your hair out. This causes your hair to "grow". In this phase, your hair will keep growing until it reaches the end of it's cycle and falls out on its own.
For most people, 85-90% of the hair is in the anagen phase. The anagen to telogen ratio is used frequently by researchers to determine hair loss severity.
2. Catagen: The Transition Phase
The catagen phase begins when the anagen phase ends. During catagen, your hair separates from the hair follicle which strips it of the blood flow and nutrients required for growth.
The separation causes the hair to slow down growth, signaling the start of the maturity phase of the hair. This phase usually lasts 10 days.
3. Telogen: The Resting Phase
The telogen phase is where your hair neither grows not falls out. Your hair is separated from the hair follicle and it sticks around. For most people, the telogen phase lasts around 3 months.
During this phase, your hair follicle cells start to produce a new hair to replace the hair that has been detached. Stem cells and follicle cells are enrolled in the process of creating the new hair.
4. Exogen: The Shedding Phase
During exogen, your hair falls out as a result of being pushed out by the new hair growing in it's place. Mechanical forces such as brushing or washing your hair also play a part.
Many experts consider the exogen phase to be a continuation of the telogen phase. This phase could last anywhere from 1-3 months.
The four stages of hair growth are anagen, catagen, telogen and exogen. These four stages last for different lengths of time and control your hair growth and shedding.
To help your scalp grow healthy and thick hair, it is important to nourish your scalp with a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which help support your hair during these cycles.
If you are interested in a hair wellness supplement that contains a powerful superfood mix formulated for hair growth, check out our best-selling Enhance hair supplement.