Just like skin and most other natural things, your hair has a lifecycle, too. Head hair grows, on average, half an inch per month. This means you can gain up to six inches in a year, if you are in the growth stage, but many become frustrated when their hair does not grow at the rate that they desire or expect. It is also completely natural to experience a stage of ‘shedding’ where your hair appears to be coming out at an increased rate. Although many people do panic when this happens after a long growth period, this is completely natural and is not the same as hair loss.
It is important to understand the hair growth process before looking into hair transplant treatment as you will be able to identify the difference between natural shedding and dramatic hair loss. Hair growth (and hair loss) has four very distinct stages:
- Anagen – The Growing Phase
- Catagen – The Transitional Phase
- Telogen – The Resting Phase
- Exogen – The New Phase
ReThis post will help you understand each step in more detail and what to expect from each phase. This post also explains hair growth treatment for those who have already undergone treatment, as the natural process will be interrupted by the procedure and will change the hair growth circle. At Longevita, we know that hair loss is a choice. You can decide to accept baldness, thinning or patchy areas, or undergo hair transplant procedures to transform your appearance. Learn the hair growth process to make informed decisions about your hair, health and self-confidence!
Hair Growth Stage 1 – Anagen
Anagen is the growth or active phase. It can last up to 2-7 years and determines the length of your hair. Hair everywhere else on the body, including facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, has a shorter anagen stage, which is why they are naturally shorter than head hair.
Anagen is when the hair is extremely active, and the hair follicles are developing quickly and will naturally push out hair that has stopped growing. Reports also show that approximately 80you’re your hair is at this stage in it’s growth cycle at any given point, most likely because of the duration of the anagen phase. The ratio of anagen to telogen (which will be explained below) should be 7: 1 in a healthy hair growth circle. An increase in telogen can indicate present of future hair loss.
The goal is to keep the hair follicles in the anagen phase if you want long hair. This means hair will be actively growing and continuously producing new follicles. Many hair growth treatments insist that they can help speed up the rate of growth, but this is usually a false statement. It is, however, extremely easy to push your hair into ‘shock’ with poor nutrition or medication, which can then cause it to go into the telogen phase.
Hair Growth Stage 2 – Telogen
This is the transitional phase between active growth and shedding. This is short stage and can last approximately 10 days to two weeks for each hair follicle. The hair behaves like it is dead and essentially shrivels to a much smaller length. Hair follicles in the telogen phase are quite sensitive and can break away quite easily.
Hair Growth Stage 3 – Catagen
This is the period of hair loss in which the majority of shedding is experienced. This is completely normal and individuals can expect to lose anywhere between 10 – 15% of their hair. It is not necessary to seek hair growth treatment if you are just going through the natural lifecycle. As stages are simultaneously ongoing, you should not experience dramatic hair loss but at some stages, shedding will be notable. This can last approximately three months.
Hair Growth Stage 4 – Exogen
Exogen is when the hair prepares for the next round in the cycle and is the start of the new growth.
What Happens To Hair Growth Circle After Treatment
Hair transplant procedures will typically require a 12 month recovery period. Healing is different with every patient and some may heal quicker. Re-growth will occur during this time, but it is only after the full healing process that the patient is able to fully gage the potential of their new hair and thus, the new hair growth circle.
After a hair transplant, the new hairs will often shed shortly after the treatment. This is completely normal. They may even go into telogen stage where it rests or ‘sleeps’ and nothing seems to happen. This is particularly common after FUT hair transplants and is often known as the hair going into ‘shock’. Surgery can also stress out the donor area, which can also go into shock. This is where the cells and follicles are experiencing a kind of convalescence. After this stage, hair growth should continue as normal.