To begin with, understand what is a hair follicle. The hair follicle is a minute but complex structure on the skin that produces and nurtures hair growth. From texture to the color of your hair is regulated by hair follicles. The hair follicles go through stages of growth and shedding after a short pause, which is important for hair growth.
These processes are impacted by follicle food for hair growth and hormonal balance. The thickness and length of the hair strands depend on these processes.
Different Hair Growth Cycle
The hair growth through hair follicles undergoes 3 phases –
Anagen Phase (the growth phase)
Telogen Phase( the rest phase)
Catagen Phase( the transition phase)
An interesting fact is that all the hair follicles do not go through the same phase. Each hair follicle is going through a different stage. When one hair follicle is going through the growth phase, there may be one going through the rest phase and another going through the catagen phase.
This is the reason that when some hair is falling, others are growing. Another important fact is that the hair follicle is not actually resting during the resting phase. A lot of cellular activity will be going on in the hair follicle for the tissues to regenerate and facilitate new hair growth. The telogen phase is thus essential for healthy hair growth.
Properties of Hair Follicles
The hair growth rate depends on your age, health condition, and type of hair and is typically half an inch every month. Hair follicles not only support hair growth, but they influence the appearance and color of your hair.
Whether you have curly hair or straight hair depends on the shape of the hair follicle. Circular hair follicles yield straight hair, whereas oval hair follicles yield curly hair. Similarly, the color of your hair is defined by the pigment melanin. Two types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin, impart different colors and their proportion determines the color of your hair.
Damaged hair follicles can stunt hair growth or stop hair growth altogether, as seen in pattern baldness.
Hair Follicles-Related Issues
Issues with hair follicles can result in different hair conditions. If you have issues like hair fall it is better to get it evaluated before it is too late. The different hair follicles-related issues are:
1. Alopecia Areata
Alopecia Areata is an autoimmune condition where hair follicles are mistaken for foreign bodies, which causes hair loss. In extreme cases, it can turn out to be alopecia universalis that causes hair loss in the whole body. This condition cannot be cured. However, several treatment choices are available depending on the extent and location of hair loss as well as age.
2. Androgenetic Alopecia
Androgenetic Alopecia, also referred to as male pattern baldness when it affects men, is a condition when the growth cycle of hair follicles is affected. The hair follicles tend to weaken, resulting in hair loss, which eventually stops entirely. The hair follicles stop producing new hair at this stage.
Folliculitis is inflammation in all the regions where hair grows, i.e., legs, armpits, scalp, arms, and face. It manifests in the form of a small bump that may contain pus. It often causes itching and discomfort. Staph infections trigger folliculitis, which subsides gradually. However, with an evaluation, medicine will be prescribed for faster recovery.
4. Telogen Effluvium
This is a temporary hair loss condition often triggered by stress, life changes, or surgery. Acute telogen effluvium lasts for less than 6 months, whereas chronic condition lasts for over 6 months. Hair may get thinner or shred in patches on the scalp and sometimes shred in other areas like eyebrows, legs, and pubic regions. Since acute telogen effluvium is a temporary phase, it generally requires no treatment.
Hair follicles influence hair growth, which happens in three phases. The hair follicles also define your hair type. Damaged hair follicles stop producing hair, and the hair growth can slow down. Proper care and follicle food for hair growth is crucial for hair follicle health and in turn overall hair health.