In order to embark on a healthy hair journey, you should understand the hair structure and growth cycles of your hair. Gaining a better understanding of hair will help you to take better care of it. It’s the first step to having long lustrous hair. Genetics play a large role in both the structure and the growth cycles of hair, but so does the care it gets and your diet. When you understanding your hair structure and how it grows, you can see why eating a well-balanced diet and giving it proper care is essential to maintaining it’s health.
How Your Hair Is Structured
Hair is composed mostly of keratin and keratin is structural protein. It grows out of a cup shaped hair follicle that is embedded in the fat layer of the scalp. The body of each individual hair strand is composed of three parts. From to outermost layer to the most internal, is the cuticle, the medulla, and the cortex. The cuticle layer is a clear thin covering of the hair shaft. It consists of layers of scales that point from the root to the tip of the hair shaft. The next layer is the cortex layer. It is composed of keratin fibers. Lastly, the innermost layer of hair strands is called the medulla.
How Your Hair Grows
Everyone’s hair growth follows three distinct patterns. Although the length of these patterns are genetically programmed, things like stress, diet, and exercise can affect the length of your hair cycle as well. The three growth patterns are called the anagen, catagen, and telogen phase. At any given point, you have all three of those phases occurring with your hair at the same time. They occur simultaneously.
The anagen phase usually lasts about 3 to 5 years. It is considered the growing phase of the growth cycle. On average, hair grows about 0.5 inches per month however it can grow up to 1.0 inches a month with the help of a vitamin for hair growth.
When the anagen phase is complete, the catagen phase begins. The catagen phase is the transition period between the growth phase and the resting phase. It usually lasts about 1 to 2 weeks.
The last phase of the growth cycle is called the telogen phase. This is known as the resting or shedding phase. It usually lasts about 3 to 4 months. The hair that falls out is replaced by new hairs as the growth cycle restarts. Usually, about 10% of the hairs on everyone’s head is in this stage. These hairs are scattered throughout the scalp, so you won’t have to worry about bald spots.
Now that you have a better understanding of how hair grows and how hair is structured and how it grows, you can take better care of it. Hair structure is affected by chemicals like dyes, relaxers, and perms. When you damage its structure, you end up with hair that’s more prone to breakage and split ends. On the other hand, the growth cycle consists of a long growth period and a short rest period. If you want beautiful healthier hair, make sure to take great care of it.