Hair Loss
5 minute read

What Are The Stages of Hair Growth?

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr Joseph Santos

When you get a bad haircut, you can take comfort in the fact that you know that it will grow back. But how long will it take for hair to grow? This is influenced by the hair cycles of growth. All hair on the body goes through its own individual growth cycle which consists of three distinct phases: the anagen phase, catagen phase and telogen phase. 

The Stages of Hair Growth

Regardless of where the hair is on the body, every single strand of hair goes through its own hair growth cycle. This consists of three different stages:

  • The anagen phase, or active growth phase
  • The catagen phase, or transition phase
  • The telogen phase, or resting phase

Anagen phase

The anagen phase is the active growth stage when hair follicles start to produce hair fibers. All of the hair on your body is continuously growing during the anagen phase. The anagen hair on your head grows about 1 centimeter per month, and the cycle can last between 3 and 6 years. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow. The anagen phase for body hair is far shorter, which is why the length of the hair is also shorter than that on your head. About 90% of all hair follicles are in the anagen phase at any given time.

The anagen stage can be further broken down into the proanagen and metanagen phases. Proanagen marks the initiation of growth, which then progresses into the metanagen phase when the hair begins to grow out of the skin. 

Catagen phase

The catagen phase is the transition stage for all hair. After each hair follicle completes the anagen phase, it transitions into the catagen phase. They start to shrink slightly in size and begin to detach from the skin, beginning the process of falling out. Even though it’s transitioning into the next phase, the hair doesn’t usually fall out until a new hair has grown to push it out of your skin. The catagen phase lasts about 4 to 6 weeks, and about 1% of all hairs are in this phase at any given time. 

Telogen phase

The telogen stage of hair growth is the resting phase and lasts about 2 to 3 months. The hair follicle is dormant, and there isn’t any more growth in the hair shaft. About 9% of all hair follicles are in the telogen phase at any given time and can stay in this state for a varying amount of time, depending on the location of the hair. For example, eyelashes can be in the telogen phase for a few weeks while hairs on the head could be in it for months.

An extension of the telogen phase is the exogen phase. The exogen phase is the shedding stage in which the old hair completely detaches and falls out. This can happen when you’re using a comb or brush or washing your hair in the shower. The average person loses about 50 to 100 hairs per day, so don’t be alarmed if you see quite a few washing down the shower drain or lingering on your hairbrush. 

As new hair grows, it replaces the old hair that has fallen out and completes the hair growth cycle.

What Influences Hair Growth Cycles?

Everyone is different, and hair growth cycles will vary depending on age, genetics, environmental factors and stress. As we age, our hair follicles do too. The renewal capacity of the hair cycle and the associated stem cells for each follicle decreases with aging. This means fewer follicles are in the anagen, or growing, phase, and there is less hair replacing the hairs falling out as part of the natural shedding process.

Stress-induced hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium, occurs after a psychological or physiological traumatic stress event. This causes hair to fall out in a diffuse way, which differs from male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, which is characterized by a receding hairline and thinning hair at the crown of the head. 

Your environment can also influence hair growth and loss. For example, dust and smoke can irritate your scalp and skin, leading to itching, dandruff or oily scalp. All of these factors can lead to hair damage and even hair loss. 

With all of these different causes of hair loss, your body’s response in the hair growth cycle may not be quick enough to produce anagen hair to replace those lost, resulting in thinning hair or complete baldness.

Hair Growth Cycles and Male Pattern Baldness

Male pattern baldness is the most common form of hair loss in men, affecting 42% of men at some point in their lives. It occurs when an androgen hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) makes the hair follicles on your head shrink and eventually stop producing new hairs. So while your hair is still going through the regular cycle of catagen and telogen phases, the anagen phase isn’t as productive as it used to be. The hairs that are falling out are no longer being replaced. 

However, male pattern baldness is treatable. There is a prescription medication called finasteride, an oral tablet that can be taken daily to help lower the levels of DHT throughout your body. With lower levels of DHT, it’s possible to prevent hair loss due to androgenetic alopecia. Finasteride tablets are commonly prescribed alongside a topical solution called minoxidil. Minoxidil works by relaxing the blood vessels in your scalp, promoting blood and nutrient flow to help grow new hair. When used together, finasteride and minoxidil are a very effective hair loss and regrowth treatment plan

Hair loss treatment online with Rosemary Health

If you’re starting to notice thinning hair, you can access real hair loss treatments online through Rosemary. Our online assessments take about 5 minutes to complete and are 100% confidential. Start your online visit for prescription hair loss treatments today.


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