All hair, no matter the type, goes through several stages. In this article, the anagen, catagen, and telogen stages will be discussed.
J.E.Wise & B.E.K Royal
The Anagen Stage
The anagen stage, which is categorized by growing hair, is the longest stage of the three and lasts many years. People who have really long hair have a longer anagen phase than those who don’t have long hair. The anagen stage is not ongoing and may last anywhere from two to up to ten years. It is during this stage that your hair, which is dead, is connected to a life-force bulb deep within your scalp that is itself connected to a nutrient source known as the dermal papilla which provides nutrients to the hair (What is a Follicle?). Living cells and blood flow is characteristic of the bulb and dermal papilla. Each individual hair has its own nutrient source. This means that each strand of hair is attached to a bulb which is attached to a dermal papilla. The part of your hair that you don’t see is the part that is alive as long as it is connected deep within your scalp to the dermal papilla. The hairs that you do see can benefit from the nutrients that are ingested or placed directly on your scalp as long as they are connected to the nutrient source. Another disproportionate factor is the fact that over 50% and up to 90% of your hair is in the hair-growth (anagen) stage. On the other hand, only about up to 6% of your hair is in the catagen stage and this stage lasts a few weeks.
The Catagen Stage
The catagen stage occurs when your hair is no longer connected to the nutrient source deep within your scalp. The hair, at this point, has detached from the nutrient source. Although it is still embedded in your scalp, it stops growing and is being pushed up and out of the scalp. In fact, when you see a white gummy material at the root of your hair when you pull it out of your scalp (either intentionally or unintentionally) this is known as a club hair and this is an indication that that hair was in the catagen stage. Because the hair in this stage is not connected to living cells or blood flow, it is not growing but it is being pushed outward to make room for new hair. Before coming out, it can remain for a few weeks (7 to 10 days) as length, but it is done growing. That is how the catagen stage is characterized. It may also be your longest hairs. The catagen stage is the shortest stage and is appropriately called a transitioning stage.
The Telogen Stage
What your hair is transitioning from is the growing (anagen) stage to the resting (telogen) stage. The telogen stage is the resting stage. Think of it this way. A tree has many branches and leaves. As long as the leaves and branches are connected to the tree which is receiving life force from the roots, the branches and leaves can flourish, but once, for some reason or another, they lose that connection, they fall off. Likewise, your hairs are not connected when in this stage. They weren’t connected since the catagen stage and therefore are pushed out in the telogen stage while a new hair is formed in its place. The new hair growing in its place is starting the anagen phase and will start the process over. The telogen stage is not so much about hair resting, but it is the follicle that is resting and will eventually die causing the hair to shed. This stage lasts several months and about 10% of our hairs are in this stage. “We lose hair so that new hair can replace it” (The Stages of Hair Growth Cycle Explained). Then the stages start again with the anagen stage.
After an explanation of the stages of hair growth, my question to you is, what are you doing during the growing period? Because we know that your hair grows and is growing for a period of several years, It is important to be doing the right thing for your hair during that time. Yes, those of us with 4c hair may experience slower growth. But, I have found that, for some of us, there are a number of myths that we have resigned ourselves to accept and, as such, we behave in ways that perpetuate these myths as it relates to our hair which inevitably stunts growth. My hair is relaxed. I wash it often in a week. I don’t put pomades on my scalp. And, I don’t brush or pass a comb through my hair often. A motto of mine, which I would like for you to remember is this: when it comes to hair, it’s not just about the products, it’s also about the process.
“The Stages of the Hair Growth Cycle Explained.” The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration & Research, 16 Nov. 2011, https://www.griffincenter.com/blog/2011/11/16/the-stages-of-the-hair-growth-cycle-explained/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2016.
“What Is a Follicle.” Hair Transplant Mentor, http://www.hairtransplantmentor.com/follicle/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2016.
“What Is Catagen Phase?” Hair Transplant Mentor, http://www.hairtransplantmentor.com/catagen-phase/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2016
© 2017 Wise & Royal, LLC.