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What Are Hair Follicles?

Hair follicles are the little sacs in which your hair begins to grow. They are made up of cells and connective tissue.

Hair Follicle Structure

Hair follicles have 4 main parts. These are:

  1. Papilla: This is made of an egg-shaped abundance of cells. The role of the papilla is to initiate and direct the growth of your hair.
  2. Matrix: This is the actively growing part of your follicles. It is made of cells that rapidly multiply, move up and push your hair up as your old hairs die and fall off. Pigmented cells are located in the matrix and are responsible for the colour of your hair.
  3. Bulb: This is the bottom of the follicle. It is called a bulb because it looks like the bulb of an onion or a tulip. In this layer, pigmented cells are dispersed. Also, it contains blood vessels which deliver nutrients to the cells in the hair bulb.
  4. Bulge: The bulge is made up of stem cells that divide and regrow new hair follicles.

Hair Growth Cycle

Everyone’s hair grows at different rates; however the average rate of hair growth is about half an inch a month which works out to six inches a year. As mentioned above, the colour of your hair is determined by pigmented cells. As you age, these pigmented cells die, causing your hair to turn gray.

The life cycle of your hair follicles are divided into 3 main phases: anagen, catagen and telogen.

Here are further details about each cycle:

Anagen Phase

This is the period when your hair grows. This period lasts about 3 to 4 years. About 84% of the hair on your scalp is in this phase.

Catagen Phase

This is the period when hair growth slows down. It is a transitional phase where not only does hair growth slow down, but the hair follicles shrink as well. This period lasts about 2 to 3 weeks. About 1 to 2% of the hair on your scalp is in this phase.

Telogen Phase

This is a resting period and lasts about 3 months. About 10 to 15% of the hair on your scalp is in this phase. During this phase, your hair stops growing and your old hair falls from the hair follicle. Also, new hair starts growing, pushing your old hair out. When you are under a lot of stress, there is more hair in the telogen phase and your hair falls out more.

hair_follicles.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/08 15:01 (external edit)