PHYSIOLOGY OF HAIR

The hair shaft has three layers: cuticle, medulla and cortex. Cuticle is an outer layer, protecting the inner layers. It is transparent. The secret of shiny and glistening hair is buried in a cuticle. Hair's good appearance depends on a healthy cuticle, and an unhealthy cuticle spells a lifeless look. Being the outermost part of the hair shaft, the cuticle is formed from dead cells, overlapping in layers, which form scales that give the hair shaft strength and protect it.

physiology-of-hair

HAIR FOLLICLE PHASES

There are several phases of hair follicle growth.

  • Anagen Phase - active phase
  • Catagen Phase - apoptosis-driven involution, end of the active growing phase of the life cycle of the hair, between growing phase (anagen) and resting stage (telogen).
  • Telogen Phase - hair follicle resting phase of the hair growth cycle

NORMAL HAIR GROWTH CYCLE

Hair follows a specific growth cycle in three distinct and concurrent phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the length of the hair. All three phases occur simultaneously; one strand of hair may be in the anagen phase, while another is in the telogen phase.

Generally known as the anagen phase, the hair growth phase begins in the papilla and lasts from two to six years. Genetical factors play a major role in deciding the span of hair in this phase. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the longer it grows. During this phase, cells in the papilla get divided to produce new hair fibres, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. About 85% of the hairs on one's head are in the anagen phase at any given time.

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