Defining Hair Structure: How Does Hair Grow?

People suffer from hair loss for a lot of reasons. You could lose your hair due to a genetic disorder, hormonal issues, or just plain stress. When you start losing your hair, the first thing you want to know is how to make it grow back. So, how fast does hair grow and how can you work with your hair structure to make it grow faster?

An overview of hair structure, including hair follicle, hair shaft, and the hair growth cycle, can help you understand hair loss a bit better. Plus, check out some ways to help get your hair to grow at home and with professional help.

1. The Basics of Hair Follicle Structure

  • Papilla
  • Germinal Matrix
  • Bulb
  • Bulge

2. What Is Hair Structure?

3. How Does Hair Grow and How Long Does It Take to Grow Back?

  • Anagen Phase
  • Catagen Phase
  • Telogen Phase

4. How Fast Does Hair Grow With Remedies at Home?

5. What If at Home Remedies for Hair Growth Don’t Work?

6. Can You Improve Your Hair Structure?

The Basics of Hair Follicle Structure

You are born with all the hair follicles you’ll ever have, and 100,000 of them are on your scalp. Hair follicles are tube-shaped structures located in the dermis and epidermis of your skin. 

There are four main components to the structure of a hair follicle

1. Papilla

The papilla are located at the bottom of the hair follicle. Made up of blood vessels and connective tissues, papilla cells have a major role in how your hair forms, grows, and dies. 

2. Germinal Matrix

Also referred to as your hair matrix, the germinal matrix is responsible for producing new hair as your old hair dies and falls out. It is also located at around the bottom of the hair follicle.

3. Bulb

The bulb surrounds your papilla and your germinal matrix, and is nourished by blood vessels. The hair bulb is the actual living part of your hair, and contains several types of stem cells and hormones. The hormones in your hair bulb have a dramatic effect in how your hair grows in certain stages of your life, like puberty and pregnancy.

4. Bulge

The hair follicle bulge cells are located in the middle of your hair follicle. The bulge cells contain vital stem cells that regenerate new hair and sebaceous glands to keep your scalp and hair healthy. The hair bulge is also responsible for giving you goosebumps.

Your hair follicle also plays an important role in determining the color of your hair because it stores melanin. As you grow older, your hair follicle loses the ability to store melanin, and your hair begins to turn white or grey.

What Is Hair Structure?

Your hair is made of two structures: the first is your hair follicle and the second is your hair shaft. The hair shaft is the hair we can actually see, touch, and feel. The hair shaft is made of three parts: the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle. The cortex of your hair makes the largest portion of your hair shaft structure, and stores the melanin provided by your hair follicle. This is what gives your hair it’s color. The cuticle layer is on the outermost part of your hair shaft and contains tight, overlapping scales.

How Does Hair Grow and How Long Does It Take to Grow Back?

On average, the hair on your head only grows about a half millimeter per day, which means you only get about six inches of growth in an entire year. Unfortunately, humans aren’t like other mammals and you don’t shed your hair predictably by season. Instead, human hair grows in three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen.

1. The Anagen Phase

Your hair grows relatively fast in the anagen phase. During this phase, the cells in your hair follicle are rapidly reproducing. In fact, up to 90% of your hair is in the anagen phase anywhere from two to six years. How long your hair remains in the anagen phase depends entirely on your genetics. This is why some people can easily grow long hair, and others can’t.

2. The Catagen Phase

This is a very short phase that follows the anagen phase. During this phase, your hair shaft detaches from the papilla in order to stop receiving blood supply. This phase only lasts about two to three weeks.

3. The Telogen Phase

After your hair falls out, your hair follicle needs to rest for around three months. This is called the telogen phase. After your hair follicle has fully rested, it re-enters the anagen phase, and your hair starts to grow back.

How Fast Does Hair Grow With Remedies at Home?

Due to genetics, it’s actually very difficult, if not impossible, to make your anagen phase last longer. However, several things can shorten the life of your hair shaft or slow its growth speed. So, it’s important to develop daily habits that positively affect your hair. Take a look at what you can do to keep a healthy scalp in order to help stop your hair from falling out.

Eat a Healthy Diet for Healthy Hair Structure

It’s no secret that a healthy diet is everything you need to keep all parts of your body in top condition, and this includes your scalp and hair. When you eat foods that are good for hair growth, your hair grows stronger and is less likely to break. Foods with nutrients like folate, iron, vitamin A, and fatty acids are best to help your hair grow faster. These nutrients also keep your hair follicle strong and healthy, too. 

Get Your Hormones Under Control

Hormones have a dramatic effect on your hair. Menopause, thyroid disorders, and other hormonal disorders can cause your hair to fall out. It’s critical you find a specialist that can address these issues. Often, you can take supplements or a prescription to help get your hormones under control, so you can grow your hair back.

Use Quality Hair Care Products and Come Up With a Routine

While it is easy to grab whatever shampoo and conditioner is closest to the shower, you need to find products that suit your individual hair needs. Find products that work with your hair structure, and nourish your scalp. Learn how to massage your hair to stimulate growth, and find a hair doctor that can prescribe you a non-surgical hair replacement solution that you can apply at home.

What If at Home Remedies for Hair Growth Don’t Work?

Fortunately, we live in an age of cutting-edge techniques to surgically and non-surgically regrow hair. If you want professional help to help your hair grow back, it’s always best to find a hair doctor like Dr. Feinberg that offers several options to customize treatment for your hair loss. 

Depending on your stage of hair loss, you might find you only need treatments like laser therapy or PRP therapy. If you’re experiencing extreme hair loss, surgeries like FUT and ARTAS Robotic FUE Hair Transplants performed by a highly trained hair doctor could be the perfect solution. The best hair loss doctor knows how to combine treatment to provide you with maximum results.

Can You Improve Your Hair Structure?

There isn’t a quick-fix to getting your hair to grow faster due to your genetic hair structure, but there are several things you can do to help maintain healthy hair growth. If you’re still having trouble getting your hair to grow and are suffering from hair loss, don’t waste your money on hair growth gimmicks, and head to the professionals for help.

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