Can Hair Follicles Grow Back?

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Hair follicles play a key role in the cycles of hair growth. They are very simple in structure, but actually they are the key to anchor each hair — healthy follicles healthy hairs. Normally, at any given time, they shrink to trigger new hair shaft to grow. How about dead follicles? Can they grow back?

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 you 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 and promote hair growth.

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

On average, the head of adults (men and women) have about 100,000 – 150,000 hairs. And it’s normal to lose about 100 of them a day.

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

Hair follicles

*Image credit to WebMD

Each follicle is naturally designed with its own life cycle. Several factors affect this cycle, such as age, certain diseases, hormonal fluctuation, or something else.

Although some hair follicles are going to ‘dormant’, resting phase – thankfully 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.

Telogen phase usually lasts for a couple of months, about 2-3 months. In the end of this phase, the hair shaft is shed and replaced by new hair growth.

Anagen phase will usually lasts in years, about 2-6 years or probably longer. Between telogen and anagen phase, there is a transition phase called ‘catagen’.

During catagen phase, the growth of hair goes slower than usual  followed with the shrinkage of the follicle. This phase is a short transition, typically lasts for 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 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, the risk of exposing to poor hair style /treatments or other trigger factors increases!

And 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.

If a genetic trait affects the problem, it’s more difficult to be treated. Hair loss problem with a genetic trait might require hair transplantation.

However, there are some medicines with the FDA approval, such as Finasteride and Minoxidil. Even Finasteride is 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 points to the normal life cycle of follicles, the answer is relatively easier. As noted before, in telogen phase, the hair growth stops and old hair fall out which then will be replaced with new hair. This phase can take for about 2 to 3 months.

But if hair follicle is damaged or dead, the underlying cause and the kind of treatment that you take would play a role in the prognosis and outlook.

What’s more?

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