At Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, we’re all about getting rid of your unwanted hair permanently. But that doesn’t mean we don’t like hair; just not in the wrong places!
Let’s spend this last month of summer in this (still!) weirdest of years getting into the ins and outs of human hair.
Call it Hair 101 for September, and, hey, just like actual school around most of the nation, you can get all the info right here online.
The parts of your hair
All human hairs, whether wanted or unwanted, have the same makeup. They are made of two parts: the hair follicle and the hair shaft.
- The hair follicle is the part of the hair below the skin. It anchors the hair and is made up of the papilla and the bulb. The bulb can be found at the bottom of each strand of hair, and it contains the active cells that grow the hair around the papilla. The papilla provides the blood supply to the hair follicle to encourage hair growth. The follicle is what we seek to destroy with laser hair removal.
- The hair shaft is what you see above the skin. Each hair is made up of a hard protein known as keratin and a protective layer called the cuticle. The hair shaft is all you do anything about when you shave or apply depilatory creams. Waxing and plucking pull the shaft out of the follicle, but they don’t damage the follicle’s function.
The cycle of life
OK, so the Lion King is shuttered for now on Broadway, which is even more reason to hate this ridiculous virus, but the 5 million or so hairs on your body (men have a few hundred thousand more, women a few hundred thousand less) all still sing a version of the show’s famous Circle of Life song, only they sing Cycle of Life. The cycle of life for human hair has three stages: the anagen phase, the catagen phase, and the telogen phase.
- The anagen phase is the growth phase. When a hair enters this phase, it’s go time. Cells in the hair bulb divide rapidly, creating new hair growth. Hair actively grows from the roots for an average of 2-7 years before the individual follicle becomes dormant. In this time, if left to its own ways, hair can grow anywhere from 18 to 30 inches. This, of course, depends on factors such as genetics, age, location, health, and the like.
- The catagen phase is the transitional phase. This period is quite short, lasting only 2-3 weeks on average. In the catagen phase, the hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply. The hair is no longer anchored in the follicle and is known now as a “club hair.”
- The telogen phase is the final stage. The follicle now enters a resting period. The hair has now been shed from the follicle as the follicle takes a nap. If you have male or female pattern baldness, more and more of your hair follicles spend more and more time off the clock. Some go into full retirement, dormancy. That’s why hair thins.
OK, you’ve passed the first section of your Hair 101 course. In September’s second blog we’ll get into even more hair science. Until then, if you want to get rid of some unwanted hair, give us a call at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal (212) 750-2000 to set up a free consultation.