beardyIn spite of the best advice and information from their doctors at the time of the hair or beard transplant, people routinely freak out because they paid all this money and two or three months in there’s still no growth.

The whole life cycle of the hair will almost certainly have been explained to them before the procedure, but often clients aren’t listening to the boring stuff they need to know after the transplant. They’re too busy thinking, is it going to hurt, how much is it costing me, and how good am I going to look?

So a brief explanation of the life cycle of the hair that you can read at your leisure after the money’s gone and the discomfort has subsided, should go a long way to providing reassurance.

The life cycle of the hair

There are four distinct phases in the life of a hair, and every single one of your hairs, everywhere on your body, goes through these phases at different rates and at different times.

ANAGEN: hair grows

The hair grows from the root at an extremely high rate of cell division. This speed at which a hair grows requires lots of energy and healthy blood supply – iron and B vitamins are vital in the process.
Hair on the head will grow for between three to five years. On other parts of the body hair may grow more slowly or for a much shorter period.

CATAGEN: hair stops growing

Messages tell cells in the bulb to stop growing.
It takes up to three weeks for growth to cease entirely.
The bulb becomes smaller and detaches from the dermal papilla and the channel of communication required to tell cells to multiply is broken.
The hair is now ‘dead’.

TELOGEN: hair falls out – shedding

An end to cellular activity means that ‘dead’ hair can now fall out. With the degeneration of the bulb, hair is forced out of the skin and is shed.
Telogen phase lasts two to three months.
Dermal papilla reconnects with the remains of the bulb and regenerates.

LATENT: resting

This phase lasts for two to five months.
During this period, nothing happens – the hair follicle recovers from a high energy and lengthy period of growth.
An unknown stimulus will trigger communication between the bulb and dermal papilla. The cycle continues with the resumption of the anagen phase.

It takes up to nine months from the start of the catagen phase and the end of the latent phase. If your beard transplant is not growing, it is likely that the hair follicles were harvested during one of these phases, and while some of the hairs may start growing soon, others may take longer, depending on the phase they were in.

Be reassured, however, that your beard will start to grow eventually and when it does, it is there for life.

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By Ian Watson

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