Hair grows in cycles of various phases: anagen is the growth phase; catagen is the involuting or regressing phase; and telogen, the resting or quiescent phase. Each phase has several morphologically and histologically distinguishable sub-phases. Prior to the start of cycling is a phase of follicular morphogenesis (formation of the follicle). There is also a shedding phase, or exogen, that is independent of anagen and telogen in which one of several hairs that might arise from a single follicle exits. Normally up to 90% of the hair follicles are in anagen phase while, 10–14% are in telogen and 1–2% in catagen. The cycle's length varies on different parts of the body. For eyebrows, the cycle is completed in around 4 months, while it takes the scalp 3–4 years to finish; this is the reason eyebrow hairs have a fixed length, while hairs on the head seem to have no length limit. Growth cycles are controlled by a chemical signal like epidermal growth factor.
Anagen is the active growth phase of hair follicles. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly, adding to the hair shaft. During this phase the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for 2-6 years. The amount of time the hair follicle stays in the anagen phase is genetically determined. At the end of the anagen phase an unknown signal causes the follicle to go into the catagen phase.
The catagen phase is a short transition stage that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. It signals the end of the active growth of a hair. This phase lasts for about 2-3 weeks while a club hair is formed.
The telogen phase is the resting phase of the hair follicle. At any given time, 10%-15% of all hairs are in the telogen phase. This phase lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the scalp and much longer for hairs on the eyebrow, eyelash, arm and leg. During this phase the hair follicle is completely at rest and the club hair is completely formed. Pulling out a hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root.
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About 25-100 telogen hairs are shed normally each day.
New York Dermatology by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Gary Rothfeld is a board certified NYC Dermatologist with a New York City office in Manhattan, New York providing expert skin care, dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology services. A Park Avenue practice with an international reputation in general, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology.
Schedule an appointment with our top doc at our office which provides top of the line expert skin care, dermatology, cosmetic dermatology services, and advanced dermatology laser treatments for cosmetic needs and medical skin conditions. We offer a full range of services including surgery for skin cancer, laser hair removal, Botox®, the Fractionated Resurfacing laser, Titan laser, and acne photodynamic treatments. Our main goal is to provide you with the most effective and advanced treatment.
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