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Hair: Life Cycle


Depending on which expert you talk to, human hair has a life cycle that lasts anywhere from one to seven years. Some humans actually have hair that has longer cycles, which explains why some people can grow much longer hair than others.

The process of growing hair starts with the fetus. Our first hair known as Lanugo hair which is Latin for fine wool, begins to appear on the fetus somewhere between 12 and 24 weeks.

Each hair lives for its predetermined life and then dies and eventually falls out.

The Lanugo or very soft and fuzzy or downy hair falls off shortly after birth and is replace with hair that has more coarseness. Throughout our lives human hair continues to evolve and change.

Every day anywhere from 50 to 150 hair may die but new ones are constantly growing to take the place of the dead hair to that hair loss is not usually noticeable unless other factors are at play.

There are three recognized phases in the life cycle of a hair. these include:

  • Anogen Phase
  • Telogen Phase
  • Catogen Phase

Although most people experience consistent hair cycle phases, depending on a variety of factors, the cycles may not fall into the same consistency for all.

Anogen Phase - Hair Growth Phase

This is the period of new hair growth. The average person, depending on age and other factors, will experience a growth rate of 1/4 to 1/2 inches a month. During the Anogen Phase the sebaceous glands are active.

Keratin and protein are being constantly manufactured. During this cycle hair is being slowly progressed upwards through the skin to its predetermined natural length.

Depending on a variety of factors this cycle will last anywhere from three to six years.

The majority of the hair on your head is in the Anogen Phase.

Telogen Phase - Hair Growth Stops

This is the period when hair stops growing. The sebacous glands become less active.

The Telogen Phase is only active for approximately 1% of your hair.

Catogen Phase - Hair Shedding Phase

The sebaceous glands stop working completely and the follicles shrink. After approximately three months the hair falls out completely.

The Catogen Phase is always active for 14 to 14% of your hair.

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- Revised Publication Date: 10/19/10

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