To be better informed on hair loss, it is necessary to consider hair growth and what constitutes a normal process. In our latest article we will explore this further. 
Hair growth follows a genetically determined cycle of growth, rest and ultimately shedding. Most of us will probably only start to consider hair growth when this cycle begins to alter, when the growth stage slows, and our hair begins to thin. Beyond the initial genetics, lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking and stress can affect this hair growth cycle. Although the hair strands we see and cut are not living structures, blood capillaries feed the living element of the follicles called the bulb and provide the all-important nourishment for the cells. 
 
It is the cells of the bulb that divide at a rate much faster than other cells within the body, allowing for the ongoing process of hair loss and replacement. The average person sheds up to one hundred hairs a day as part of this cycle, with the growth stage of the process slowing over time. Prior to this slow down hair can grow up to half an inch a month, and as with other parts of the body understanding how it works can inform you on the best ways to help look after your hair growth. 
 
There are three main stages of the hair cycle: 
 
1. The anagen or growing stage is when the cells in the root of the hair divide to form new hair. Generally this stage can last between 3 to 5 years and determines the length of someone's hair. This growth period accounts for 90% of the hair cycle phase and having a shorter anagen stage will be why some people have trouble growing their hair long. The hairs that grow on other parts of the body such as arms and legs have a growing stage of just 30 to 45 days, explaining the differences in the length they grow. 
 
2. Next up in the cycle is a transitional section known as the catagen phase. This only lasts between a week or two and affects around 3% of hair at any given point of time. Hair growth will stop and the base areas of the hair follicle collapse and are cut off from the blood supply plus the cells that generate new hair growth. What remains is called a club hair and is now in preparation for the final stage. 
 
3. This final stage is known as the telogen phase and lasts between 3 and 4 months. The follicle is inactive as the hair rests before shredding and when pulled by hand will show as a strand of hair with a solid, dry white material at the root. This phase accounts for approximately 6 to 8% of our hair. 
 
Every strand of hair goes through this process independently to ensure they are not all shed at the same point. Although a natural cycle, good lifestyle factors can aid the health of our hair and the growing phase. Diet provides important proteins and iron, while exercise promotes the blood circulation to the scalp nourishing hair follicles, all attributes in aiding the stages of hair growth. 
 
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