Each hair grows from its own hair follicle. Inside the follicle, new hair cells form at the root of the hair shaft. As the cells form, they push older cells out of the follicle. As they are pushed out, the cells die and become the hair we see.
There are three stages of hair growth: catagen, telogen, and anagen.
The catagen phase is a transitional stage and 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time. This phase lasts for about 2-3 weeks. During this time growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the formation of what is known as a club hair.
Telogen is the resting phase and accounts for 10-15% of all hairs. This phase lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the scalp. During this phase the hair follicle is completely at rest and the club hair is completely formed. Pulling out a hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root. About 25 to 100 hairs are shed normally every day in this phase.
Anagen is the active phase of the hair. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair up the follicle and eventually out. During this phase the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for 2-6 years. Some people have difficulty growing their hair beyond a certain length because they have a short active phase of growth. On the other hand, people with very long hair have a long active phase of growth.
When the hair follicle enters the rest phase, the hair shaft breaks, so the existing hair falls out and a new hair takes its place. Therefore, the length of time that the hair is able to spend growing during the growth phase controls the maximum length of the hair. Hair loss is random and not seasonal or cyclic. At any given time, a random number of hairs will be in various stages of growth and shedding.
The hair follicles on your head, on the other hand, are programmed to let hair grow for years at a time, so the hair can grow very long.
Hair grows at a consistent rate of about half an inch every month. It may grow faster or slower depending on your age, your genetics and your hormonal state. This means that the maximum growth rate for hair is about 6 inches per year.
Hair growth is a reflection of a healthy body. To enhance growth you need to take care of yourself by drinking lots of water, taking vitamins, reducing stress and eating the right foods. Stay away from sugar and chocolate.
If you are experiencing hair loss there is no "cure" but here are some suggestions to help regenerate hair follicles.
Blend and drink bananas with honey, yogurt and low-fat milk. This drink is rich in biotin.
Take dietary supplements of vitamin B6, zinc & saw palmetto.
Give your scalp daily massages to promote healthy blood circulation. Remember to invert your hair grows at a rate that is in accordance with your body's chemistry, balance and well-being. It is a misnomer that after a certain point hair growth is slower. Patience and proper maintenance is the key, when growing you hair long. It is VERY important to trim split ends as the need arises.