Hair grows in repeated cycles. One cycle can be broken down into three phases and each hair passes through each of the phases independent of neighbouring hairs.
This is the active or growth phase, accounting for about 85 per cent of hair at any one time with different hairs at different stages of growth. Anagen can vary from between two and seven years for scalp hair, one or two months for eyebrows and between three and six weeks for eyelashes. In early anagen, a new hair bulb surrounds the nutrient-providing papilla and a hair begins to grow from living cells in the matrix. Anagen ends when the hair begins to separate from the papilla and no longer receives nutrients.
Indian Head Massage for Hair Growth Photo Gallery
This changing or transitional phase lasts about one or two weeks. Only one per cent of hairs are at this stage at any one time. The hair is now fully grown and cell division has stopped. The hair has separated from the papilla and the follicle begins to shrink, cutting the hair off from its blood supply and from cells that produce new hair. Hairs at this stage are called ‘club hairs’ due to their club shape at the base.
This ‘resting’ phase lasts about five or six weeks, during which time the hair does not grow but stays attached to the follicle while the papilla stays in a resting phase below. The resting hair will either fall out or be pushed out by a new hair growing underneath. Approximately ten or fifteen per cent of hairs are in this phase at any one time. At the end of telogen, the hair follicle re-enters the anagen phase: the papilla and base of the follicle join together again and a new hair begins to form. If the old hair has not already been shed, the new hair pushes it out and the growth cycle starts again.
Types of hair growth
From the Latin for ‘down’, this is the hair of the newborn infant, which is fine and soft. In premature infants it may be found all over the body but this is lost soon after birth. Lanugo is replaced by new hair that is stronger and more pigmented.
This hair is soft, downy and almost invisible. It is found all over the body, except on the lips, palms and soles.
Compared to vellus hair, terminal hair is longer and coarser, with deeper follicles. These hairs are found on the head, the eyebrows and the eyelashes and in the axillary and pubic regions.
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