Anagen Hair Growth Phase

| August 20, 2010 | 0 Comments


Anagen, also called the active hair growth phase of the scalp, lasts two to eight years, depending on the individual. Hair grows approximately one and a half inch per month during this phase. The length of the hair during the Anagen phase depends on the length of the phase. If you have a shorter growth phase, you won’t be able to grow long hair. About 90% of hair is in the Anagen phase at any given time.


Long before the hair rises above the surface of the skin, cellular activity in the hair follicle starts the Anagen phase. At the beginning of this phase, the dermal papilla forms, and the length of the hair follicle increases to three times its resting length. The purpose of the Papilla cavity is to protect the dermal papilla which is responsible for hair growth. Melanocytes, the cells that give hair its color, line up along the inner sheath of the papilla cavity.

When the Catagen phase, also called the regressing hair growth phase, ends, the hair follicle is shallow and does not have the structures required for hair production. Telogen, or the resting phase, is the final phase of hair growth.


Keratin cells rapidly divide and die at the dermal papilla level, giving rise to dead cell cone that eventually form hair. At this time, your Melanocytes become active and begin producing melanin, also called color cells. Melanin cells then become interspersed with keratin cells to give rise to layers of hair.


The new hair rises, as the activity surrounding your dermal papilla pushes the dead cells further up the hair follicle. Shedding takes place, when the new hair growth dislodges the dormant hair still held in the follicle by a bulb-shaped root.


Growth takes place at the cellular level. Cells that surround the dermal papilla divide and die, thus giving rise to the hair shaft. Eventually, the dead cells form the cuticle, medulla, and cortex, the three layers of the hair shaft. This activity takes place in the hair follicle, directly below the hair shaft. All activity gets the necessary nourishment through the dermal papilla’s connection with the blood stream.


Disruptions can result in the Anagen phase ending prematurely. Shock and trauma to the hair-forming structures, stress, hormones, illness, poor diet, scalp infection, some medications, and certain hair-removal procedures can halt the production of hair and send the follicle into a resting state. This results in thinning and hair loss.

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