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Unlike most mammals, which grow and shed hair in a seasonal cycle, humans keep their hair for years at a time. An understanding of the hair growth cycle is an important part of managing healthy hair.
Anagen is the phase of active hair growth. Cells grow rapidly, and hair grows at a rate of about half an inch per month. Growth cycles are different for everyone, but hair generally stays in the anagen phase for two to six years. People who have shorter growth cycles often have trouble growing their hair past a certain point.
At any given time, roughly three percent of a person’s hairs are in the catagen phase, which lasts for two or three weeks. During this time hair growth stops, and the outer root sheath begins to seal around the hair’s root.
The telogen, or resting, phase comes next. For three months or more, follicles remain dormant while hair sheds naturally. Most people shed between 25 and 100 telogen hairs daily. After a hair falls out, new hair can grow in again.