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The Hair Growth Cycle explained

The normal growth rate of scalp hair is one-fourth to one-half inch per month. Hair growth has a cyclic pattern that can be affected by a number of genetic, disease, medication or other factors to cause hair loss.
Hair is formed in the hair follicle and grows out of the follicle in a continuous cyclic pattern of growth and rest.

There are three phases in the hair growth cycle:

  • Anagen – Growth phase. During this phase, the follicle actively grows hair. It lasts 2 to 8 years.
  • Catagen – Degeneration phase. During this phase,  the follicle is almost entirely degraded. It lasts 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Telogen – Resting phase. During this phase, the follicle rests prior to re-initiation of an anagen phase and the growth of a new hair shaft. It lasts 2 to 4 months.
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As the new hair shaft emerges, it pushes out the prior “dead” hair shaft, and the old hair is shed. About 50 to 100 telogen hairs usually are shed every day; these are the hairs we find in our comb, brush and shower drain. About 10 % of scalp hair follicles are normally in the telogen phase at any given time if the scalp is healthy and not affected by any condition that causes hair loss.

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Excerpts copied from International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery,, © 2004.