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Understanding your hair growth cycle can help you recognize and understand many of the problems you can encounter with your hair. Ever washed your hair and wondered if the amount of hair you lose is ‘normal’? How much hair loss is considered typical? The answer is that it can vary from individual to individual, ranging from 50 – 100 strands a day; but did you know that hair loss can be seasonal as well? The hair growth cycle consists of three distinct stages – anagen, catagen and telogen.  

1. Anagen Phase

During this phase, your hair grows around 1.2cm a month; for those who live in temperate climates, you may notice it growing faster in the summer than in winter. This phase typically lasts an average of 3-5 years, so full-length hair averages 18 to 30 inches. However, as Asians, the anagen phase can tend to be longer, meaning that it can last as much as 7 years with hair being able to grow to 1 metre.

2. Catagen Phase

At the end of the anagen phase, your hair enters the catagen phase where it stops growing. This is a short transitional phase that lasts approximately 10 days.

3. Telogen Phase

Lastly, your hair enters the telogen phase, a resting phase when your hair is released and falls out. The hair is slowly pushed out to the surface. The follicle then remains inactive for up to 3 months, until it produces a new strand of hair, and the whole process is repeated.

About 90% of your hair is in the Anagen phase at any one time, while 10% of it is in the Catagen and Telogen phase. Each follicle is independent. That’s because if all hair was going through the same phase at the same time, there would be times where you would be completely bald!

The importance of a good hair cut

This is why it’s important to get a trim anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months, because due to different hair follicles being at different stages, a cut may become uneven or grow out of shape. It’s also good to get regular trims to remove dead ends.

Regular appointments with your stylist can also help you to spot problems like hair loss, hair thinning and problems with hair growth, which occur when your growth cycle is disrupted. Lifestyle changes, metabolic imbalances, illness or inadequate nutrition and stress can all trigger hair issues.

For example, 6 weeks after a period of stress or illness, you may experience telogen effluvium (diffuse hair fall). This occurs because the anagen phase is shortened (due to your body’s immune response, diverting attention to other parts of your body) and many hairs enter the telogen phase all at the same time. If your hair growth cycle is constantly interrupted, or not supported, you may find that your hair won’t grow as long as it used to. This is because your hairs are never allowed to stay in the anagen (growing) phase long enough for your hairs to reach the desired length.

Want to find out more about how you can take care of your hair? Or just need a haircut to suit your specific hair needs? Make an appointment with our stylists today.
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