Do you worry about shedding hair in the shower or finding some on your bed sheets? Most of the time, there is nothing to worry about. Hair goes through life cycles like any other phenomenon of of all hairs are involved in this process at any given time.
Three distinct stages—growth, shedding, and sleep—take place during the lifetime of hair as follows:
Growth Stage (Anagen):
The growth stage usually lasts three years; however, this step may last anywhere from one-to-seven years. During this stage, hair grows rapidly at rate of 1 – 2 cm each month.
Shedding Stage (Catogen):
During this stage of the hair cycle, it enters a period of change in preparation for the next phase of its life. Once the Anagen phase ends and hair stops growing, individual hairs are detached from the follicle and are no longer attached to the root, which is a normal process. This is why we all see hair in the brush or shower. This detached hair in the follicle is referred to as “club hair”. About 3%10% of hairs on a human head exist in this stage. The average person loses 75 Telogen hairs per day as part of this natural cycle.
Dormant Stage (Telogen):
Finally, hair goes into a sleep or resting phase. During this time the shedding of club hairs begins and lasts different lengths of time depending on the location—the head vs. the rest of the body. On the head, this event lasts about one hundred days.
At the end of this cycle however, the hair follicle starts the whole process over again.
Throughout a person’s life, hair will continually cycle through these life-cycle changes. This growth cycle is not dependant on seasonal or climatic changes; however, it can be altered due to certain medical conditions, medications, or situations such as pregnancy.
“Hair follicles” are not hair. They are the sheaths, which protect the hair shaft as it grows out of the skin. The scalp contains three layers: epidermis, dermis, and a layer of fat known as the subcutaneous. Epidermis is the outer layer, the dermis is the middle layer, which is much denser than the epidermis. At the deepest level the subcutaneous fat is found. Each layer plays a specific role in the growth of a hair shaft.
The anatomy of the hair follicle includes three main parts: the outer root sheath, the inner root sheath, and the bulb. The outer sheath provides a cylinder or tunnel for the hair shaft during its growth. The inner sheath contains the hair shaft itself, which contains a cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The third part of the follicle is the bulb. It is located at the base of the follicle, which contains matrix cells that determine the width of the shaft.
Another point to consider about hair is its growth cycle, which is made up of anagen, catogen, and telogen. These denote the growth, shedding, and sleeping phases. Each plays a unique and patterned role in hair growth.