What do you understand by the word hair follicle? Is it visible or invisible to the naked eye? Where is it located on the body? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, read on, you are about to learn about this very important part of the skin responsible for hair growth.
What is Hair follicle?
A hair follicle is located in the dermal layer of the skin and is responsible for hair growth and keeping the hair attached to the skin. Think of an hair follicle as a container that contains cells and connecting tissues and surrounds the root of the hair.
Structure of Hair follicle
The hair follicle has different components that work together to contribute to the hair growth process but it has four major components namely Hair Papilla, Germinal matrix, Hair Bulb, Hair, bulge. Each major components with its responsibility.
1. Hair Papilla
This can be found at the base of the hair follicle and it is made of connective tissues and blood vessels that nourish the hair.
2. Germinal matrix
This component of the hair follicle is where cells produce new hairs as older hairs die and fall off. It is located in the lower region of the hair follicle. It is also referred to as “matrix”.
3. Hair Bulge
This can be found in the isthmus (also known as the middle part) of the hair follicle. The hair bulge contains stem cells that regenerate new hair follicles, new sebaceous glands and new epidermis.
4. Hair Bulb
This component is actually bulb-shaped and can be found in the area of the hair follicle that surrounds the germinal matrix and Papilla and is fed by blood vessels in the dermis. The hair bulb contains hormones that affect hair growth and structure during different phases in life such as puberty and pregnancy.
The part of the hair that is below the skin is the living part of the hair as it is been fed by blood vessels, stem cells, etc. The part of the hair that exist above the skin’s surface is actually dead hair.
We know now that hair follicles are responsible for hair growth but the hair follicles grow in different stages and this would lead us to our next sub topic, Hair Growth Cycle.
The part of hair below the skin is the living part. The part of hair that exist above the skin’s surface is actually dead hair.
Hair Growth Cycle
Our hair grows at different rates but on an average, hair grows to about six inches in a year. The hair growth cycle has three phases: Anagen, Catagen and, Telogen. Here is some explanation on the different phases.
This is known as the growth phase for scalp hair follicles. This phase can last for as short as two years or as long as six years. Eyebrow hair follicles last for 70days in the anagen phase. The type of hair grown in this phase varies in sizes and shade, from long thick hairs to short lighter coloured hair. The increase in certain hormones during puberty turn thinner, lighter coloured hair into darker and thicker hair.
In this phase, the growth rate slows down and the hair follicle shrinks. The catagen phase lasts for about two weeks and is also known as the regression phase in the hair growth cycle.
This is also known as the resting phase and it lasts for only three months. After some months, the hair stops growing and detaches itself from the hair follicle. A new hair begins to grow and pushes the old hair out. This is the phase where more hair would fall out, also if a person is stressed, more hair would enter this phase and it would fall out. A person can lose 50-100 scalp hair in one day but stress can lead to a person losing more hair.
That is the growth cycle of the hair follicles and all you need to know about the hair follicles which are responsible for hair growth.
Hair follicles are the foundation of hair growth a healthy hair follicle results in healthy hair
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