Understanding The Four Seasons of Hair Growth
When I think of the different phases of hair growth, I often liken it to the four seasons we experience with Mother Nature: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.
Stage 1: Spring Season—Anagen Phase
During the anagen or spring phase, we experience hair growth, and just like the spring season, it’s the most euphoric time because everything is in full bloom and life abounds.
The root of the hair divides rapidly and grows about 1 cm every 28 days until it begins to enter the next season that is referred to as the catagen phase.
Stage 2: Summer Season—Catagen Phase
When I think of the catagen phase, I naturally think of summer. The catagen phase lasts about 2-3 weeks. And just like summer, things tend to dry up.
If plants and tree aren’t getting enough nourishment, they can start to whither and die. Similarly, some of our hair strands will be cut off from their blood supply and will become club hair or dead hair and enter into the telogen phase.
Stage 3: Fall Season—Catagen Phase
In keeping with my analogy, the telogen phase is like the fall season or the resting season. The warm sun of summer is replaced with colder, dry weather. Plants and trees don’t have enough energy (from the sun) to keep growing so they begin to rest and shed their flowers and leaves.
Similarly, in the telogen phase, which lasts about 3 months, some hair follicles are in a resting phase. The hair follicle will shrink because they no longer need blood to grow. These resting follicles are keratin rich, dead hair that will form an anchor on the actual hair shaft as they prepare to enter into the exogen phase and shed off.
Stage 4: Winter Season—Exogen Phase
The exogen phase is like old man winter. Plant life becomes very bare. Similarly, in the exogen phase, all of the dead hair from the club hair or telogen phase will shed because new hair follicles are forming beneath the shrunken follicles of the club hair and forcing them to fall off or shed. During this phase, you’ll typically shed about 50 to 100 hairs per day. But don’t despair, again, new hair follicles have formed underneath and a burst of new hair growth will abound in the spring.