Woman thinking about hair growth
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Hey Sisters,

Do you ever wonder how your hair really grows and what’s happening when it begins to shed?

So do I.

Well, I did some research for us and discovered our hair travels through three main phases of growth in the course of a lifetime.  A fourth phase, exogen is optional and does not happen for everyone. The length of these phases have already been determined through our genetic composition.  Did you know the average hair grows 1/4 to 1/2 inch per month from a hair follicle 4 millimeters below the surface of the scalp? (source: The Science of Black Hair) This is an average number. The exact growth rate can vary by person. Below are six factors that can affect our hair growth:

  • Time of year
  • Hair care routine
  • Diet
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Hormones

The hair growth phases are described here:  

  • Anagen – Growing phase. Can last 4-7 years. Could also be as short as 1 year or as long as 10. Over 88% of our hair is currently in this phase. However, this phase begins to slow down as we get older.
  • Catagen – Resting phase. During this phase, our hair takes a break and is preparing to shed. This phase can last anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months. Approximately 1% of our hair is in this phase. This is also the phase where our hair stops producing melanin (color).
  • Telogen – Shedding phase. Approximately 11% of our hair is in this phase and is waiting to fall out on its own or forced out as a result of our styling routine. Did you know the greatest percentage of our hair is in this phase during the late summer or early fall months? This stage can last as long as 4 months. Note: If hair is forcibly removed from the scalp (through excessive combing, brushing, pulling, etc.) before its natural shedding phase, a new hair will not appear from the follicle for approximately 130 days.
Woman with afro - Hair Growth
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  • Exogen – This is the optional phase. It occurs when our hair follicles lie dormant for a time after shedding before starting a new anagen growing phase. Eighty percent of our hair enters this phase which can last 5-7 months. However, as we age, our natural exogen episodes begin to lengthen.
Source: The Science of Black Hair 

A key point to remember, our hair does not stop growing because it’s a certain length. It stops growing after a certain time period has passed. This period is determined by genetics, not the hair length itself. If we’re looking to maximize our hair growth, the anagen phase is where we need to direct our efforts. This means minimizing breakage as much as possible to allow our hair to grow to its full potential. It does not have to stop at shoulder length. Refer to my earlier post Black Hair Damage and Breakage: What Are The Common Causes to review steps to reducing hair damage.

Until next time,

Always aim 4 natural


The post, How Does Our Hair Grow: Factors and Phases Explained, first appeared on aim4natural.com

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