Many people commit hours of work and hundreds of dollars’ worth of styling products to their hair, yet few understand how exactly it comes into existence on their heads. This is knowledge many could use, however; it turns out the science behind hair is not only interesting, but highly relevant to hair care.

Understanding your hair growth cycles will explain a lot about normal daily hair fall or more serious, sudden hair fall that could be triggered by something else.

The Science of Hair Growth Cycles

Why is it important to understand how hair grows?

A number of problems that commonly occur with hair can be better recognized and understood by analyzing the hair growth cycle. Knowing how hair grows also prevents hair care mistakes, such as ascribing to the myth that cutting hair helps it to grow faster or thicker, “it doesn’t”, so cutting your hair when you’re already suffering hair loss is pointless and simply liable to add to the frustration of the situation.

Fact is many people who try different hair loss treatments at home may actually see results soon then others and this is directly related to the stage at which the hair is growing.

The hair growth cycle occurs in three distinct stages: The anagen, catagen, and telogen.

The anagen phase:

The anagen phase of hair growthThe anagen phase is also known as the “growth phase” of the hair. Typically this phase produces around half an inch per month of hair growth, and actually works faster in the warmer summer days than in winter. This phase can last for up to five years, totaling a growth of 18 to 30 inches. In Asians, however, this phase may last a full 7 years, with hair being able to grow up to 1 meter at a time.

During this stage the hair follicles require key nutrients like biotin in order to grow thicker and healthier. If your hair is thinning consider taking hair loss vitamins to boost the hair diameter and growth speed.

A popular hair loss treatment like minoxidil will stimulate blood circulation with a purpose of flooding the hair follicles with more nutrients during the anagen phase but can be pointless if your not eating the correct types and amounts of vitamins needed to grow hair making hair loss supplements vital to growing hair and stopping hair loss.

The catagen phase of hair growthThe catagen phase:

At the end of the growth cycle, there’s a ten-day transition period as our hair readies for the telogen phase. This is also known as the transitional phase. Our body sends tiny signals that very selectively only affect 1% of all the hair on our body at any given time that will decide when the anagen phase ends and the catagen phase starts. It’s during this catagen phase that the hair follicles begin to renew or rebuild itself over the course of approximately two weeks.

This process involves the hair follicle shrinking to a point where it detaches itself from the papilla, cutting the hair strand off from nutrients brought to it by the blood supply. During this phase of the hair growth cycle a normal hair follicle is 1/6 its original length so this causes the hair shaft to be pushed upward. Even though our hair is not growing during this phase, the length of the terminal fibers increase when the follicle pushes them upward.

The telogen phase:

The telogen phase of hair growthWhen hair enters this phase, it’s completed its total lifecycle and will be released, naturally falling out to make room for new growth. Once a hair is released, that follicle will remain dormant for several months before once again beginning to grow a new hair. Most people shed about 80 hairs per day.

Certain hair loss treatments like Provillus hair loss vitamins can trigger a shorter telogen phase making hair grow faster and sooner.

Hair loss, hair thinning, and other issues with hair growth generally happen when your growth cycle is disrupted somewhere along the line, usually by things like metabolic imbalances, illness, or improper nutrition. It takes just six weeks of restrictive dieting to cause telogen effluvium (diffuse hair fall). Sometimes even having a high fever can trigger this reaction—the hair growth cycle is surprisingly fragile.

Chronic issues that disrupt this growth cycle tend to result in hair loss or thin, unusually short hair, and many of these issues can actually be corrected once one manages to isolate the cause of them.