The Hair Shedding Cycle: What You Need to Know

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Most people believe that hair continues to grow indefinitely and that it won’t fall out on its own. In fact, shedding is a normal part of the hair growth process.
If you’re experiencing severe hair loss, you’ve likely noticed a surprising amount of hair strands on your pillow, in your shower drain, or on your hairbrush. Even people with completely healthy hair typically lose between 50 and 100 strands per day through normal grooming and styling activities. The natural life cycle of hair sheds old strands in order to make way for new growth.
Not sure what the life cycle of hair looks like? Hair growth and shedding patterns are categorized into three phases:  Anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Anagen Phase

Anagen is described as the hair’s active phase. During this phase, the cells of your hair’s roots divide at a rapid rate to form more new hair cells. This eventually causes new hairs to push out the resting hair shafts that have stopped growing so that they can take the place of the old hairs. The old hairs that have stopped growing are referred to as club hairs.
During the anagen phase, people usually see an increase in hair length of about 1 centimeter each month. Most people remain in anagen phase for several years. The length of the anagen phase — as well as its productivity — varies from person to person. Typically, if someone has very long hair, their growth cycle tends to remain in the anagen phase for a longer period of time.
Catagen Phase

Catagen is known as the transitional phase between growth and shedding. Around 3% of the hairs on your head are currently in this phase at any given time and it usually lasts for a few weeks at a time. During the catagen phase, hair growth is halted and club hairs are formed.
Telogen Phase

Telogen is usually characterized as the hair’s resting phase, but can also be described as the shedding phase. Between 6% and 8% of your hair shafts are in this phase at any time and it typically lasts for about 100 days.
During the telogen phase, no hair growth occurs and the club hairs are formed completely. The normal hair shedding of between 50 and 100 hairs per day is mostly made up of the hair shafts that are currently in this phase.

What Happens When Your Hair Gets Stuck in the Shedding Phase?

Though there are multiple types of hair loss — with some being more permanent than others — nearly all types of hair loss can be traced back to an interruption in the natural hair growth cycle. The part of the growth cycle that’s been changed or interrupted depends on the type of hair loss.
Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness caused by genetics, is caused by a shortened anagen phase. This is due to the hormone DHT attacking the hair follicles.

Alopecia areata, or full-body hair loss caused by the immune system, is caused by the telogen phase being entered too soon, causing hair to become weak and fall out easily.

Telogen effluvium, or temporary hair loss usually caused by stress, is caused by more hair than usual entering the telogen phase at the same time, causing abnormal shedding.
As you can see, all of the main types of hair loss are caused by some sort of change to the hair growth and shedding cycle. Though DHT is the primary reason for the change in the hair growth cycle in genetic hair loss, it also plays a role in other types of hair loss, as well.

How Can I Stop DHT?

DHT is a byproduct of testosterone that is found in both men and women. It’s present in larger amounts in people with a genetic predisposition to baldness. Luckily, you can help to reduce DHT and improve the quality and thickness of your hair with DHT-blocking vitamins and shampoo.
These products work to block the production of DHT at the source, so that your hair can remain in its natural growth and shedding cycle without remaining in any one phase for too long. That way, you can stop hair loss in its tracks and return your hair to its former thickness and health.


All of the main types of hair loss are caused by some sort of change to the hair growth and shedding cycle. DHT is the primary reason for the change in the hair growth cycle; it’s important to use products to stop the production of DHT so you can keep your hair.


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