Joy Ross

Picture this: Your alarm rings in the morning, and after hitting snooze the maximum number of times, you drag yourself out of the bed and head to the bathroom to get ready for your day.

While brushing your teeth, you look in the mirror and notice your hair isn’t as dense as it used to be. Can you see your scalp through your hair?

When you get in the shower, you dread scrubbing your head because you fear that more hair will be in your fingers and in the drain.

Unfortunately, this is happening to a lot of us. Let me try to explain why and some things to do about it.

First, try not to stress. Stressing is the first reason you lose hair. And scrubbing will actually help your hair to stay where it is.

I am going to attempt to give you an elementary explanation of the complex growth cycle of each hair on our head. (Now, pay attention because there will be a test!)

At any given time, each of the 100,000 to 150,000 hairs that we have on our scalp is in one of three stages of growth.

Each hair follicle has its own lifecycle that can be influenced by our age, illness, stress and a wide variety of other factors. The lifecycle is divided into three phases.

The anagen phase is when hair is actually growing; this can last from two to eight years. The hair that is in this phase will continue to grow.

Therefore, the longer it stays in this stage, the longer our hair can grow. This is the very reason why someone can grow their hair especially long and someone else can go years without cutting and it won’t get any longer.

The catagen phase is the transitional stage, in which the hair moves from dormancy to actively growing. It only lasts from two to three weeks.

Lastly, the telogen phase is the resting phase, which can last up to three months

At the end of this cycle the hair falls out and the growth cycle begins again. (I told you it was complex!)

The hair follicle is below your scalp and stays alive by the food that’s carried to the follicle by our blood. This keeps each hair strong and healthy.

This is why giving your scalp a good scrub is so beneficial. The stimulation helps the blood flow, therefore keeps your hair in place and rids the scalp of any old hair that is ready to fall out.

It also helps loosen the oils and any build-up, which can also choke the follicle, resulting in its death. Once the follicle dies, no more hair will grow.

Our diet, hormones, medication, thyroid and stress are the factors that govern the growth. Basic things like not wearing the hair pulled tightly, especially to bed, using good products to avoid build-up, eating a protein-rich diet (hair is made of protein), and taking B-12 (a great vitamin for stress) help keep the hair in the anagen phase.

The longer each hair stays in the anagen phase the longer your hair will grow and stay on the head.

I hope this helps you keep your hair in place.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton.