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The Seven Year Itch

Did you know that our hair naturally goes through a growth cycle consisting of three different stages? Maybe you’ve heard people say that our hair and skin changes every seven years. To some extent, that is very accurate. The three stages of growth our hair experiences can dramatically change its texture and appearance. We need to look at the three stages of growth individually to properly take care of our hair. The three stages are very distinct, but the changes may appear in a very subtle manner.

The Hair Growth Cycle
The Hair Growth Cycle

The first phase is called anagen. It is defined as the active phase of the hair growth cycle. It precedes the other two growth cycles, catagen, and telogen. Anagen is marked by rapid division and differentiation of cells in the lower portion of the hair follicle. During this phase, the hair shaft is lengthened. Anagen typically lasts between two to six years. Due to the length of this stage, it is critical that your hair is kept as healthy as possible. Keeping hair healthy depends on so many factors that we will discuss further. Fortunately, each hair follicle experiences the growth cycle at different times. If it didn’t, all of our hair would fall out at the same time.

The second phase is called catagen. This is a short transitional phase of the hair growth cycle between anagen and telogen. It usually lasts between 10 to 20 days. During this phase, the lower portion of the hair follicle regresses and hair growth ends. Your hair requires proper nourishment in order to promote blood flow to the scalp at this time. This is a great time to get special hair treatments and possibly take supplements to keep your hair healthy.

The third, and final phase, is called telogen. It is known as the resting phase of the hair follicle. Your hair is very vulnerable during this phase. In fact, if you are experiencing stress, your hair may enter the telogen phase prematurely. This may cause noticeable hair loss. The name for this condition is telogen effluvium.

The Hair Follicle
The Hair Follicle

The average woman loses somewhere between 50-100 hairs per day. There are many factors that may contribute to thinning hair and hair loss, such as aging and hormonal changes. Women often notice thicker and fuller hair when they are going through pregnancy. This is due to the increased production of hormones. Once they have given birth, they may experience hair loss or thinning due to their hormone levels becoming normal again. During menopause, hormones are reduced dramatically. This causes ongoing hair thinning and loss in many women. 

Did you know that the appearance of hair provides a sneak-peek into a person’s general health and wellbeing? Diet, medications, sleep patterns, environment, heat and chemical exposure can impact your hair’s natural cycles. We will dive into those things in a separate article. 

How will you help your clients have and maintain healthier hair? Hair may be made healthier by getting special treatments or taking supplements. Creating and maintaining healthy hair is not a simple process. It is made up of many different factors that we take for granted every day. Healthy hair doesn’t happen by accident. We must be intentional and knowledgeable to ensure the healthiest hair possible. 

Lisa Marie Stewart
Lisa Marie Stewart

Contributing Editor, Lisa Marie Stewart, has 40 plus years of writing, marketing, creative development, Editor-in-Chief, and Creative Director experience. Initially studying journalism and English, and ultimately received a Business Administration and Management B.S. degree with honors.

Ms. Stewart has authored, managed and directed teams at Fortune 500 companies to create corporate policies and procedures, human resource guides, emergency preparedness manuals, technical instructions, articles, newsletters, internal company magazines, retail store transition instruction guides, change orders, year-end financial brochures, website content, social media blogs, and posts.

Additionally, Lisa hosts her own YouTube channel entitled: Living My Best Life

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