Hair Cycle

Though different parts of the body begin to grow (or lose) hair at varying ages, a developing fetus has all of it’s hair follicles formed by the 22nd week – about 5 million follicles in all.  One million of those are on the head, and anywhere from 100,000-150,000 are on the scalp.  No new hair follicles are formed after birth, although its cyclic behavior and color change throughout life.  As the size of the body increases as we grow older, the density of the hair follicles on the skin decreases.

Hair growth is cyclic with alternating periods of growth:

1.  The anagen phase, or growth phase, can last anywhere from two to eight years, and varies in different parts of the body.  This phase also varies for different parts of the body in terms of the percentage of hair in anagen phase at any given time.  For example, 90% of the hair on your scalp is in anagen phase at any given time, compared to only 20% of the hair on your legs.  Hair must be in the growth phase for hair removal methods to work effectively.

Hair growth cells lie in the dermal papilla, which is located at the base of the follicle.  During anagen phase these cells rapidly divide to produce the hair shaft, which extends up through the dermal and epidermal layers before finally protruding out of the skin.  The length of each hair is proportionate to the duration of its anagen cycle, not the rate of cell division, which is why hair on the scalp is much longer than on other parts of the body.

2. The catagen phase, or transitional phase, lasts from two to four weeks.  During this phase, hair growth stops as the hair follicle shrinks to about 1/6th of the normal length, the lower part is destroyed, and the dermal papilla breaks away to rest below.  Hair does not fall out during this phase unless it is pulled, plucked, or lasered.

3.  The telogen phase, or resting phase, lasts about 5-6 weeks.  Hair still does not fall out during telogen phase, but remains attached to the follicle while the dermal papilla rests below.

After the telogen phase is complete, the old hair shaft pushes out as the anagen phase begins again, over and over for years and years until you literally feel like pulling your hair out.  Unfortunately, it’ll still grow back if you pluck it, so even that doesn’t help!

Thankfully, technology has brought us laser hair removal with elos technology.  Unlike IPL systems that don’t actually use lasers, elos tackles follicles with optical and electrical energies (in the form of laser and radio frequency, respectively) to destroy follicles far more efficiently than any other method currently available.  To find out more about laser hair removal with elos technology, please click here, or call White Tea Med Spa today at 212-647-8919 to find out how our expertly trained and experienced therapists can help you end the cycle.

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