To begin with, you’re born with a set number of hair follicles on your head. Interestingly enough, this number varies by hair color. Blondes have about 150,000 follicles. Next, brunettes or those with darker hair have 110,000 follicles. Finally, redheads have 90,000. Typically, each hair follicle will produce 25-30 hairs in its lifetime.
Here’s the journey each individual strand goes through in the hair-growth cycle, along with some tips for maximizing hair growth.
The 4 Phases of Hair Growth
1. The Anagen Phase
Your hair grows in this phase. About 80-90% of the hairs on your head are in this phase at any given time. Each strand of hair attaches to the scalp at the root to a structural formation called a dermal papilla. The dermal papilla provides oxygen and nutrients for growing hair. Here is where a high-quality hair supplement like HUM’s Hair Sweet Hair can really help. The added nutrients support hair-follicle health for thicker and strong hair in the anagen phase.
2. The Catagen Phase
Next, this transitional phase lasts 10-14 days. In that time, the hair follicle shrinks and the dermal papilla detaches, cutting off the oxygen and nutrient supply. Only 1% of your hair is in the catagen phase at a time.
3. The Telogen Phase
Although the dermal papilla has already detached, the hair strand remains attached to the follicle for another three months. Then it sheds. According to The American Academy of Dermatology, it’s normal to shed anywhere from 50-150 hairs a day. (No wonder we’re forever finding them on the bathroom floor!)
If you’ve ever experienced an excess of shedding, it may be telogen effluvium. Normally, 10% of our hair is in the telogen phase. But in telogen effluvium, it can rise up to 30%. Hormones, skin problems affecting the scalp, poor diet, and stress can cause excess shedding of hair.
4. Early Anagen Phase
Finally, the cycle starts again. The dermal papilla moves upwards to meet the hair follicle and start providing oxygen and nutrients for a new strand all over again.
Supporting Your Hair Growth Cycle
There are two biggies to supporting your hair growth cycle. First, a healthy, well-rounded diet will ensure your hair gets the nutrients it needs to grow during the anagen phase. Also, a high-quality biotin supplement can be especially helpful, as biotin plays a big role in metabolizing proteins into keratin (the stuff your hair is made of).
Then, be sure to show your scalp lots of love! Consider getting a scalp treatment the next time you’re at the spa, or exfoliate at home by adding sugar to your shampoo. Finally, if your scalp is dry and flaky, try adding healthy fats to your diet or supplementing with a fish oil.