Does black hair really grow slower than other races? We take an in-depth look at the human hair growth cycle…
There are 3 very distinct stages of human hair growth; Anagen stage, Catagen stage and Telogen stage, which collectively for the hair growth cycle. Each of these stages of hair growth vary in duration from individual to individual and in-fact can change within individuals during certain periods of life. These 3 phases, combined play a key role in how long your natural hair has the POTENTIAL to be.
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1. Anagen – The Anagen stage of the human hair growth cycle is the “active” phase of growth. Yep, this is the stage you’re all probably going to be the most interested in. It’s going to be a long one. On average this stage of the human hair growth cycle can last anyway from 2 – 5 years. As hair grows at a rate on average of around 1/2 inch every month, this would mean that human hair has the potential to reach a length anywhere from 12 Inches – 30 Inches.
It is really important to bear in mind that all numerical indications of growth are on average. This means that you could fall within the average growth cycle or either side, below or above . Not every individual will have the capability of achieving growth of 30 Inches as their Anagen stage may not extend 5 years. In the same vain, some individuals may have an Anagen stage which is shorter than 2 years seeing less than 12 inches of growth in their life. Consider the evolutional purposes of hair on our heads and what this may mean for the potential growth of your hair texture.
It is noted by well respected Trichologist Phillip Kingsley that the span of the Anagen stage in Asians is particularly long. The Anagen stage in Asians can be active for as long as 7 years. With this in mind, it could be said that the duration of this stage may be closely linked to race. I observe hair enthusiasts get all up in arms by the mere suggesting that black people’s hair growth may be slower than other races. Yes, black hair can grow and does grow. However, having hair on our heads once served a purpose and wasn’t about vanity. Living on a hot ass continent, Africa, our hair texture helped to cool us down as well as protect our scalps from the scotching rays of the sun. Having long flowing tresses would definitely not have been conducive to the environment. Hence our shrunken texture when in its most natural state. So, is it really that difficult to understand why the duration of Sub-Saharan Africans Anagen stage MAY be at the lesser end of the scope?
2. Catagen – Following the Anagen stage, the hair proceeds in to the Catagen stage a transitional period, where the hair is being prepared for the final stage of. The Catagen stage of the hair growth cycle is a brief stage lasting only around 10 days.
3. Telogen – The Telogen stage is the final sequence in the human hair growth cycle. This is the stage that the hair strand is physically shed from the hair follicle. Around 100 hairs are shed from hair follicles on your scalp during the Telogen stage daily. Once the hair is shed from the scalp the hair follicle become dormant and enters into a resting period for round 3 months. Think of this stage as the hair strand taking a bit of a holiday, after all it has been working non stop for the past 2-5years.
The cycle then begins again from the beginning and continues this way for an individuals line. Each hair follicle goes through the different stages of the cycle at different times and and the hair follicles are independent of each other. If all the hairs on your head were at the same stage of the cycle at the same time, there would be periods that we were complete bald.