My hair is literally falling out in handfuls. WHY?
On average we lose up to 80-100 hairs a day – so don’t panic. But let’s talk hair growth cycles – this may help explain those months of hair loss, as it happens to us all.
We have 4 different stages of hair growth. Let me explain the cycle, which repeats over and over.
1. Anagen Phase - active growth
Your hair grows around half an inch a month – about 6 inches a year. The growth phase, or anagen phase, lasts an average of 3-5 years. Over this period a full-length of hair averages 18 to 30 inches.
You know sometimes you see little girls with super long hair, well that was me, I could sit on my hair at age 5.
The anagen phase is generally longer in people of Asian descent and can last as much as 7 years, meaning your hair may be able to grow up to 3 feet long!
2. Catagen Phase - stops growing
At the end of the anagen phase, your hair enters the catagen phase. This is short a transitional phase, which lasts approximately 2-4 weeks.
3. Telogen Phase - resting
The telogen phase is a resting period of around 3 months, when strands remain in their follicles but are not actively growing. During this time, the hair is getting no nourishment so it dies, strands are released from their follicles and fall out.
4. New growth phase
Now the whole process can begin again, starting with new hair formation!
When lots of hair falls out at once
Each hair follicle is independent and goes through the growth cycle at different times — otherwise all your hair would fall out at once! Instead, you only shed a certain number of hairs a day – 80 to 100 hairs on a healthy head of hair.
Hair loss, hair thinning and problems with hair growth may occur when your growth cycle is disrupted. This can be triggered by conditions such as metabolic imbalances, illness or improper nutrition, stress levels and sudden shocks.
For instance, around 12 weeks after restrictive dieting or a high fever, you may experience telogen (sudden diffuse hair fall). This occurs when your anagen (growth) phase is cut short, and many hairs enter the telogen (resting) phase at the same time – resulting in increased hair fall 3 months later during your shedding phase.
If your hair growth cycle is constantly disrupted (for example, not supported with good nutrition), you may find that your hair will not grow as long as it used to. This is because your hairs are never allowed to stay in the anagen phase long enough to reach the desired length.
I hope this helps