Hair growth occurs in three main cycles, and these cycles collectively make up the hair growth process. These three cycles are:
- Anagen Phase (Growth Phase): This is the active growth phase of the hair cycle. During anagen, hair follicles are actively producing new cells, and hair grows at a steady rate. The length of the anagen phase can vary from person to person, and it can last anywhere from a few years to several years. The longer the anagen phase, the longer an individual's hair can grow.
- Catagen Phase (Transition Phase): Following the anagen phase, hair enters the catagen phase. During this phase, the hair follicle shrinks, and the hair growth stops. This is a relatively short phase, lasting only a few weeks. It serves as a transitional period between active growth and the resting phase.
- Telogen Phase (Resting Phase): After the catagen phase, hair enters the telogen phase. In this phase, the hair is no longer actively growing. It remains in the follicle but is not actively lengthening. The telogen phase can last for a few months. Eventually, old hair is shed to make way for new hair to start growing from the same follicle.
The term "exogen" is sometimes used to describe the shedding of hair that occurs during the telogen phase. It's not typically considered one of the primary phases of the hair growth cycle.
Understanding these three phases of the hair growth cycle is crucial for managing and maintaining healthy hair. The balance between these phases can vary among individuals and can be influenced by factors like genetics, hormones, and overall health. Hair care and maintenance practices can also impact the health and appearance of your hair during each of these phases.