Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle

September 14 2020

If you’re starting to notice thinning hair, or if you’ve had an issue with thinning hair for a long time but have been reluctant to try a hair replacement treatment, now is the perfect time to take control and find a solution that works for you at the Hair Replacement Institute. We have a full range of options, from custom wigs to hair growth treatments to surgical hair transplants, all using the results of years of scientific research into hair growth.

Decades ago, a hair transplant was the only option for those with thinning hair. They were expensive, and the results were sometimes noticeable. Since then, researchers have been studying hair growth to determine exactly how it works and how medical science can intervene to help grow otherwise thinning hair. Now, there is a whole menu of options for all different types of hair loss. It all starts with understanding the hair growth cycle.

The Follicles
Deep under your skin are your hair follicles, the roots from which each of your hair strands grow. The follicles are kept healthy with blood flow from your vessels, so they are well-nourished and able to grow hair.

The Four-Phase Cycle
Each hair strand grows in a cycle of four phases that are affected by your follicles:

  • Phase 1 is the growth phase, also called the anagen phase, where hair grows. This goes on for anywhere from two to seven years, and in general, the longer that lasts, the longer your hair can grow. 
  • Phase 2 is called the catagen phase, and it’s a transition period for your hair. In this ten-day cycle, your follicle will shrink and detach from the hair, beginning the shedding process.
  • Phase 3 is called the telogen phase, and it’s a time of rest where the follicle is starting to grow another hair. This phase lasts about three months. 
  • Phase 4, the exogen phase, is also a resting phase where hairs shed away. Normally, about 50 to 150 hairs will shed during this phase, then follicles return to the growth phase. 

What Causes Thinning Hair

The natural shedding cycle happens to everyone, but usually different follicles are in different stages of the growth cycle, so hairs are shed and replaced by others in a way that you hardly notice. When something happens to interrupt or slow down that cycle, hair loss happens quicker than it can be replaced, so then you start to notice visible thinning.

Problems at the scalp or follicle level can mean that this cycle is slowed or disrupted, and that can happen for several reasons:

  • Heredity. Thinning hair often runs in families, and you may notice this as family members get older. Heredity does not, however, mean that there is no help for your thinning hair. There are plenty of treatments to help. 
  • Medical conditions. Some medical conditions, or the medicines used to treat them, can affect your hair growth cycle. 
  • Stress. It isn’t the stress itself that causes hair loss – it’s the hormones associated with stress. When your body is overloaded with stress hormones, they can affect your hair growth cycle at the follicle level.
  • Overtreated hair. It’s important to always have hair processes, like texturing and straightening, done by a professional stylist. Our Glam Room stylists can assess the health of your hair to ensure that it’s not overprocessed, which can affect the health of the follicle.
  • Diet. You need a healthy diet to get healthy hair, including healthy hair follicles. Without the right nutrients, your follicles can’t perform the optimal hair growth cycle. The right balance of folic acid, iron, and other minerals is essentially important.

Hair Loss Treatments

At the Hair Replacement Institute, we provide a wide variety of hair replacement and hair growth treatment options to suit your individual needs. Your personalized treatment plan will vary depending on the extent of hair loss, the reason for the loss, and the health of your hair follicles. 

At your confidential consultation appointment, our medical professionals will assess your needs and talk about the many different options that can work for you, from scalp treatments to custom wigs to surgical hair transplants.

The first step for everyone is a discreet, confidential consultation with one of our hair replacement professionals at the Hair Restoration Institute. Make an appointment today and one of our experienced medical professionals will assess your needs and design a treatment plan just for you. We specialize in effective hair replacement therapies and treatments for both men and women. You can find us at 8030 Old Cedar Ave S #202 in Bloomington or the Edgewater Town Office Park at 2598 Rice Street in Saint Paul in Minnesota, or at 1201 West Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas, or call 612-588-HAIR (4247) in Minnesota or 817-854-HAIR (4247) in Dallas/Fort Worth for a complimentary consultation.

Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle