Universally, the subject of average hair growth has fascinated many. In most cultures, there is an extreme amount of attention that is given to the hair on our heads, and it usually has a social significance which is attached to different hair styles. Something that is generally very interesting is very long hair, as it takes so long to achieve these lengths, plus not all people can grow their hair so long. No matter the products or shampoos people use on their heads, hair growth is in the end limited greatly by biological factors.
Understanding Hair Growth Phases
To understand average hair growth better, you need to realize that each hair on your body has its own cycle of growth, which has three separate phases. The anagen period is when the cells are deposited on the shaft of hair in the hair follicle, which lengthens the hair. In the catagen phase, the follicle retracts and the hair ceases growing. In the third stage called telogen, the follicle takes a rest. During this phase, the hair might shed or it could be pushed out of the follicle by a new hair when the anagen phase starts up again.
Time Length of Growth Phases
In each individual, the time frame of these three hair growth phases can vary greatly. It can also depend upon where the hair is located on the body and what type of hair it is. For hairs on your head, a regular anagen phase can last from two to six years, while the catagen phase can last just one to two weeks, and the telogen phase will last around five or six weeks. On average, the hair on your head will grow around six inches a year during the anagen stage.
Importance of the Anagen Phase to Your Hair Length
As you can probably figure out, the length of the anagen phase limits the maximum length of your hair. Around eighty-five percent of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase, and the rate at which this hair grows will dictate what your hair length is. Hair which is waist-length on average will require an anagen phase that is six years long.
Other Factors Affecting Hair Growth
Other factors which affect average hair growth are medical treatments and health conditions, which can have quite a dramatic effect. When there is malnutrition present, it can cause some of the hair follicles to completely stop growing anymore hair, and the follicles that remain wind up making very fine and fragile hair. Hair growth commonly stops completely during chemotherapy treatments. In both of these cases, the hair will regrow when your diet improves or you stop your chemotherapy treatments. Other conditions, like alopecia areata are capable of causing total baldness which is at times irreversible. It is not yet fully understood what causes alopecia.
As you might guess, there are some people who have anagen phases which are longer than the normal time frame. These are the people who may be able to grow hair which is floor length, or even longer. On the other hand, individuals with unusually shorter anagen phases will have difficult growing their hair even to the length of their shoulders. Another thing that can have adverse effects on hair length is using chemicals on the hair, or putting it through heat processing which makes it quite fragile. However, these processes do not affect hair growth.
Male Pattern Baldness and Hair Health
Contrary to some misconceptions, male pattern baldness is the result of genetic predisposition and normal male hormones, and is not at all related to scalp or hair health This is why remedies for baldness which claim they can reverse or reduce hair loss from giving vitamins to the scalp or moisturizing it are not effective. However, there are some hair creams that counteract male hormones right at the scalp which have been known to help reduce some hair loss in men.
As you can see, average hair growth has a lot to do with the three phases involved, and not everyone can grow their hair down to their waist, or even the floor. Keeping your scalp and hair health can help you to achieve your maximum length, but keep in mind you won’t likely be able to make your hair grow longer than is natural for it.