Can Hair Follicles Grow Back?

Hair follicles can play a key role in the cycles of hair growth. They are very simple in structure, but actually they are important to anchor each hair that you have. In other words, healthy follicles mean healthy hairs. Normally, at any given time, they can shrink to trigger to new hair shaft to grow. How about with dead follicles? Can they grow back naturally?

Hair follicles – how do they affect the cycle of your hair growth?

The soles of feet and the palms of hands may be the areas of the body where hair cannot grow. Most sites of your skin have follicles, but most hair shaft (the hair that you can see) on each follicle are virtually invisible.

The hair is made by protein called keratin. Even experts say that most of hair is protein. And keratin is made in the follicles to produce new cells.

As the new cells are being produced in the follicles, the old cells are being driven out through the skin’s surface which then can make new growth of hair – the rate of this growth can be about 6 inches per year [1]. So, the hair that you see is actually derived from the string of dead keratin cells.

On average, the head of adults (men and women) can have about 100,000 – 150,000 hairs. And we can lose about 100 of them per 24 hours.

In other words, losing some hair for about less than 100 per day is still categorized normal. The reason is due to there is not only about the phase of growing. Naturally, your follicles also need to perform a phase called telogen or ‘resting phase’ for the new regeneration of hair.

Hair follicles

*Image credit to WebMD

Each follicle is naturally designed to get its own life cycle. This cycle can be closely associated with age – even it also can be influenced by certain diseases or other factors.

When few follicles are going to the resting phase – most of follicles go with anagen phase (the active growth phase). So normally, you will not notice that you lose your hairs, because you still have most of them on your scalp or skin.

The telogen phase can last about 2-3 months. In the end of this phase, the hair shaft is shed and then will be replaced by new growth.

And for anagen phase, it usually lasts about 2-6 years. Between telogen and anagen phase, there is a transition phase medically called as catagen.

During catagen phase, the growth of hair goes slow than usual and will be followed with the shrinkage of the follicle. This transition can last about 2-3 weeks.

Can dead hair follicles grow back naturally?

The answer is dependent on the cause of the problem. Furthermore, this issue is also still debatable. While some experts say that the dead hair follicle can not be revived, others say that there is a chance to revive it.

Your risk of having some dead hair follicles may increases as you age.  Because as you get older, your risk of getting poor hair style /treatments or other trigger factors increase!

image_illustration98And this may get worse when you have a family history of hair loss problem [2]. In fact, hereditary hair loss and scarring are two common factors that can cause dead follicles.

When a genetic trait affects the problem, it’s more difficult to be treated. Many times, hair loss problem with a genetic trait ends with a hair transplant for the treatment.

However, there are some medicines with the FDA approval, such as Finasteride and Minoxidil. Even Finasteride is often recommended for the first line treatment when the onset symptom of baldness (such as receding hairline) occurs [3].

How long does it take for a hair follicle to regrow?

When this question is referred to the normal life cycle of follicles, the answer points to the duration of resting phase (telogen)! As noted before, in telogen phase, the hair growth stops and old hair fall out which then will be replaced with new hair – and this phase can take about 2 to 3 months.

But in the case for follicle damaged /dead, the cause of the problem and the kind of treatment that you take can play a key role in the prognosis.