We’ve all been there – absentmindedly running fingers through our hair or just showering as per usual. As if prompted by nothing at all – those pesky strands of hair decide to come loose in your hand. 1 or 2, 5 or 6 – at some point, you can’t keep track. Everyone sheds hair, not entirely unlike a household pet would. Rationalizing it doesn’t explain away anything, though – just why does your hair fall out periodically?
Hair’s Natural Life Cycle
Hair’s life begins under the skin at the follicles or “roots” underneath your skin. Every single hair is planted firmly in a follicle, and every follicle has a blood vessel deeper under your skin. It’s there that the roots get the nutrients they need to start growing hair! Our biology doesn’t keep the hair growing nonstop like fingernails, though. The hair follows a set of “phases” it goes through.
The growth phase of the hair is when it is the most active, and this phase lasts the longest. During this process, blood vessels are actively feeding the follicle and creating new hair. During this phase, hair grows (on average) about a centimeter a month. This phase is capable of lasting years at a time, and the length of anagen will correlate to your hair’s maximum length. The hair on the rest of your body is very different – only having an anagen phase of 30-45 days.
Your hair spends about 90% of its time in this phase – giving the impression of continually growing. However, the body has adapted the need for hair to stop growing and begin anew now and again. Whether this is for cleaning purposes or to prevent overworking the cells is unclear, but it serves its purpose regardless.
This is the phase in-between “growing” and “resting.” As such, the catagen phase is characterized by hair growth slowing to a halt, and preparation processes taking place. The outer sheath (where hair meets to the root) adheres to the hair and follows it out of the scalp. This results in the “club hair”, including the small white bulb on the end of old hair.
Between this phase and the next, the hair is not rooted in the scalp by any means. From even the smallest stimuli like walking, showering, or absentminded hair touching, they can fall out.
The resting phase of the hair does exactly what it says on the box. No hair growth, no gland activity, no blood flow to the root, and it waits until it’s time to grow the next hair. The length of this phase, again, is entirely variable. On average, though, it’s expected to last 100 days – but there’s no reason to fret! Compared to the length of time the hair is in anagen, telogen lasts about 1/20 of the time. Only 6-8 percent of your hair is in this phase at any given time, and the rest is still growing!
As the hair falls out during this or the last stage, though, it’s easy to stress and worry about the amount falling out. In truth, even 100 hairs falling out daily is a reasonable amount! Hair sheds and regrows with time, but the worrying voice inside of you can easily rationalize that as “going bald.” With time, though, the hair will grow back, and you won’t even notice.
Hair Loss Doesn’t Have to Be That Bad!
Hair loss happens naturally, and it can be triggered by several outside factors, too. Age, illness, medications, stress – you name it. The hair on your head, as hale and hearty as it seems, can be fragile under the right circumstances. For some people, hair is a lot less kind than it is to others – but thin/weak hair doesn’t mean your look has to suffer! SMP Ink offers scalp micropigmentation treatments to touch up your hair and keep it squared away! Check out our line of services, and contact us today for a consultation!