Find out what hair actually is, the three phases of hair growth, two very important structural hair proteins and some fun "Did you know?" facts!
What is hair?
A hair is a specialised outgrowth on the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). It has two distinct parts:
The hair follicle: Is buried deep in the fat of the scalp and is the point from which hair grows. As it is well supplied with blood vessels, the blood passing through them nourishes the growing region.
The hair shaft: Is the part of the hair that can be seen above the scalp.
How does hair grow?
The hair growth cycle is made up of three phases:
Anagen is the growth phase. It usually lasts between 2 and 6 years but the longer this phase, the longer the hair shaft. As we age, the anagen phase shortens and the body sends signals that determine when the anagen phase is ready to end and the next phase begins.
Catagen is the involuting or regressing phase. This cycle usually lasts about 3 weeks. This transitional period allows the hair to renew itself. The nourishing blood supply is cut off and the hair bulb shrinks, migrating towards the scalp surface.
Telogen is the resting or quiescent phase. No new cell division occurs meaning the hair follicle remains inactive. During this period new cells are “reloaded” in preparation for the anagen phase where new hair begins to form. This cycle usually lasts 2-4 months.
Normally up to 90% of the hair follicles are in the anagen phase. 10–14% are in the telogen phase and 1–2% are in the catagen phase. The cycle length varies on different parts of the body but you now have an understanding of the hair growth cycle.
Two very important structural proteins for hair are collagen and keratin.
- Collagen is essential as it forms the collagen structure in our hair. Hydrolysed collagen is a rich source of amino acids. Collagen peptides are easily absorbed via the intestinal barrier meaning it can reach the deepest layer of skin, scalp and hair activating the cells in these tissues. When we replenish our body’s own natural collagen we maintain our skin and hairs healthy appearance.
- 90% of hair is made up on keratin! The major function of keratin is to protect your hair from damage and maintain your hairs elasticity. Keratin is a protein that is also present in skin and nails. Hydrolysed Keratin is clinically proven to reduce hair loss and strengthen hair
Did you know?
- We lose up to 100-150 hairs per day
- Hair is made up of mainly dead cells that have turned into keratin and binding material, with the help of small amounts of water.
- We are born with roughly 100,000 to 150,000 scalp hair follicles.
- Hair is the second-fastest growing tissue in the human body (after bone marrow).
Dr Sara Sibilla