As you grow, the hair on your head grows and changes with you. How does the hair grow, though? How does it know to regenerate when you’ve lost some? Well, your hair has several phases of growth, and as you age, the chemical makeup of your hair changes. Here we will discuss the growth phases and how your hair regenerates.
Even before you’re born, all of the hair follicles on your body have formed, with about 100,000 on your scalp. As you grow, the size of your head will change, so even though you may have a “thick head of hair” as a child, the follicles on your head will spread out, leaving you with seemingly thinner hair. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the actual thickness of each strand has changed, though. It only means that the density of your hair has changed.
There are three phases of growth for your hair. Each strand is in its own stage of the cycle, which is great since you wouldn’t want to lose all of the hair on your head at the same time. The three phases are:
This is known as the “growth phase”. The cells in the root of each strand of hair are dividing rapidly, pushing the existing strand out of the follicle. About 85% of the hairs on your head are in this phase at any given time, and they will remain in this growth phase for 2-6 years. During this time, the hair will grow about ½ an inch per month. Depending on how long this phase remains, for you, you may not be able to grow the hair on your head past a certain length.
This is the phase where the strand stops growing, meaning that the cells stop dividing. However, the length of your hair will still increase during this phase. This is because the follicle shrinks, pushing the strand of hair upwards and outwards. About 3% of the strands of hair on your head are in this transitional phase, which lasts between 2 and 3 weeks.
This is the “resting phase” where your hair remains dormant from 1 to 4 months. Around 10 to 15% of your hairs are in this phase, waiting to be shed as new hairs grow. In fact, you naturally shed around 100 hairs in the telogen phase each day. Once this phase is completed, the follicle will have already started growing a new hair.
This natural cycle is maintained through biology, and your genetics greatly affect how much hair will grow and just how quickly your length will increase. Remember to speak to your stylist about the best ways to maintain a healthy scalp and help promote growth.