All hair grows following a set cycle. This is true no matter where on the body the hair is growing, it might be the head, the eyebrows or elsewhere. Healthy hair is dependent on a range of components that all work together to keep it growing and looking healthy. If the growing conditions are right you will have every chance of never having to worry about thinning hair around the eyes.
But it pays to understand how hair grows and what to expect in terms of the time it might take to replace a strand of hair. The hair cycle runs in three phases and these phases differ only in the length of time each phase takes.
The Anagen Phase
Hair is produced by each follicle numerous times throughout its life. The growth stage of the hair is referred to as the anagen phase. Follicles that are located next to each other will have a staggered anagen phase so that hair is constantly being produced in the same local area.
The anagen phase of a hair’s growth can last from two to six years. During this period the hair will grow at a steady rate while the follicle remains healthy.
Toward the end of the anagen stage the amount of pigment decreases at the base of follicle. This is the first sign that the hair is entering the next phase of its life.
The Catagen Phase
There is a short resting period following the anagen phase and this is called the catagen phase. It lasts between two and four weeks and the follicle doesn’t produce new hair during this period.
During this time the base of the follicle moves upward towards the surface of the skin pushing the hair shaft upward.
The Telogen Phase
This may also be referred to as the shedding phase. This is a natural part of hair growth and we are always losing hair in a natural process as it reaches the end of the cycle.
The Telogen phase can last for three or four months and involves the process of the hair growing out of the follicle while the old hair falls from the same place.
The new hair emerges from the same opening at the surface of the skin as the old hair to renew the growth cycle.
The length of the growth cycle shortens as we get older. Also, the follicles don’t produce hair of the same quality as they did when they were younger. The result is hair that is thinner, shorter and more brittle. This is true no matter what type of hair it is. Interestingly, hair growth rate changes with the seasons where our hair grows more rapidly in the spring and slows down in the fall.
At any given time 90 per cent of our hair is in the growing phase and 10 per cent is in the resting phase.
The Role of the Hair Follicle
So the role of the follicle is to produce individual hairs and they are formed inside a hair bulb with the follicle. Although the follicle is a relatively strong center of growth there are a number of factors that can affect it’s ability to produce hair.
We can see to the right all of the vital parts of a healthy strand of hair.
It relies on a nutrient source that is supplied through the hair roots. While the roots are undamaged the hair will continue to grow strongly but there are several factors that can damage or destroy the roots.
There are instances of diseases which can affect the skin deeply within several layers which can cause damage to the hair root resulting in hair loss.
Conditions such as hypothyroidism can have an effect on the work done by the follicle with one reaction resulting in pronounced thinning at the outer edges of the eyebrows. Certain types of chemotherapy may also result in the loss of eyebrows and this is caused by the follicle being mistaken for cancerous cells. This is processed is discussed in more detail here.
Hair follicles can be deprived of nourishment through crash diets which may trigger a bout of telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium simply means the shedding of hair that is in the resting phase.
Drugs such as anticoagulants, beta blockers and antidepressants can also cause this type of hair loss.
There is no cure for telogen effluvium, as such, but the condition is a short-term one that will fix itself when the conditions that caused it change. In other words, you improve your diet or stop taking the drugs that brought it on. In effect, you are able to reverse the effect on the follicles by undergoing a type of home remedy option.
Can Eyebrow Follicles Be Repaired
There are a number of ideas proposed in which eyebrow regrowth might be stimulated. In many cases eyebrow follicles that have stopped producing new hair can be prompted into growing hair again by changing the conditions that they are subjected to. Unless the follicles have been completely destroyed through deep tissue scarring or burning it is possible that they may be repaired to the point of new production.
What you may have to be prepared for is the need to display a good level of patience.
Depending on the point in the growth cycle that the hair was initially lost it can be a good 4 months or more before the anagen phase is started again. During this resting period it may not matter how many different products you apply or how much healthy food you eat, the hair will only appear when it is ready to start growing.
The good news is that in the intervening period, if you are taking measures to create the best possible growing conditions when the growing phase begins the hair is going to be far more healthy. This gives it a better chance of having a longer growing period and a greater life cycle.
Too many people give up after only a few weeks of treatment and then become convinced that the product they have been using or the healthy diet is a waste of time.
Understanding the life cycle of hair and the way in which follicles work should help with our expectations on when we should see new hair growth.