How Hair Follicles Work

Hair Follicles 1 - How Hair Follicles Work

The follicle is defined as the structure in which hair grows from the inside. The porous structure inside the hair produces fat molecules and allows the hair and skin to be lubricated. These structures are located outside the porous structure of the special muscle structures. Hair roots are small, pocket-like holes in our skin. As the name suggests, the hair grows. According to the Dermatology Academy, there are approximately 100,000 hair follicles on the scalp.

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Follicle Anatomy

A hair follicle is a tunnel-shaped structure in the epidermis (outer layer) of the skin. Hair begins to grow at the bottom of the hair follicle. The root of the hair consists of protein cells and is supplied with blood from nearby blood vessels. As more cells are formed, the hair grows from the skin and reaches the surface. The sebaceous glands near the hair follicles produce oil that feeds the hair and skin.

Hair Growth Cycle

Hair grows in loops from follicles. There are three different stages of this cycle: 
Anagen (growth) stage: The hair begins to grow from the root. This stage usually lasts three to seven years. 
Catagenous phase:  Growth slows down and the follicle becomes smaller at this stage. This takes two to four months. 
Telogen (rest) phase: The old hair is shed and the new hair grows from the same hair follicle. It takes three to four months.
According to a 2015 article, recent research suggested that hair follicles were not only in the “resting” period during telogen period. A large number of cellular activities occur at this stage, so that the tissues can be renewed and take up more hair. In other words, telogen phase is very important for healthy hair formation. Different follicles pass through different stages of the cycle at the same time. Some follicles are in growth stage, while others are in resting stage. This means that some hair is prolonged, some hair is shed. According to the Osteopathic Academy of Dermatology, an individual loses about 100 strands of hair on average per day. Approximately 90 percent of the hair follicles are in the anagen stage at any time.

14905 images 300x146 - How Hair Follicles WorkThe Life of a Follicle

On average, the hair grows by half a inch each year. Personal hair growth rate can be affected by age, hair type and general health. Hair roots; it is not only responsible for the growth of hair, but it also affects how the hair looks. The shape of the follicle determines how curly the hair is, and the circular follicles produce smooth hair, while the oval follicles produce wavy hair. Hair roots also play a role in determining the hair color. As in the skin, it takes the hair pigment from the melanin material. There are two types of melanin: the ovalanin and the feomelanin.
It determines whether the genes, emelanin or feomelan are present and how much each pigment is present. The presence of abundant amounts of estradiol makes the hair black, while the average amount of emagalanin makes the hair brown and very little emagaline hair makes yellow. On the other hand, feomelanin hair makes red. This melanin is stored in hair follicle cells and then determines the color of the hair. As the follicles age, they can lose their ability to produce melanin, resulting in prolonged gray or white hairs. The hair can grow again if it is pulled out of the hair follicle. A damaged follicle is likely to stop producing hair. Some conditions, such as alopecia, can cause follicles to completely stop producing hair.

Problems Related to Hair Roots

Some hair conditions can cause problems with hair follicles. It is best to discuss with a dermatologist if there is a problem with hair follicles or if there is no hair loss.

Androgenetic Alopecia

Androgenetic alopecia, which occurs in men and is known as male pattern baldness, is a condition that affects the growth cycle of hair follicles in the scalp. The hair cycle slows down and weakens, eventually stopping completely. This causes follicles not to produce new hair.

Alopecia Areata For Foreign Cell Attacks

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. The immune system sees the hair follicles as foreign cells and attacks. It usually causes hairs to spill into clusters. Alopecia, which has total hair loss all over the body, can lead to universalis. Yet there is no known treatment for alopecia areata, but steroidal injections or topical treatments may slow hair loss.


Folliculitis is inflammation of the hair follicles. It can occur wherever the hair is extended, including: 
• Scalp 
• Legs 
• Armpit 
• Face 
• Limbs 
Folliculitis often appears to be a small rash on your skin. The bumps can be red, white or yellow and may contain pus. Generally, folliculitis is itchy and painful. Folliculitis is usually caused by a staph infection. Folliculitis can pass without treatment, but a doctor may diagnose you and may require medication to help treat it. This may include topical treatments or oral medications to treat the cause of the infection and soothe symptoms.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a transient but common form of hair loss. A stressful event causes the hair follicles to enter the telogen phase in the early period and the thinning or hair loss of these hairs. Hair is often spilled on the scalp , but in extreme cases it may fall in other parts of the body, including legs, eyebrows and groin. 
Causes of stress caused by telogen effluvium; 
• Physically traumatic event 
• Childbirth 
• New drug 
• Surgery 
• Disease 
• Stressful life change
The shock of an event triggers the change in the hair growth cycle. Telogen effluvium is usually temporary and does not require treatment. However, if telogen effluvium is considered, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist to rule out other causes.

Hair Remove?

You may wonder if it is possible to stimulate hair follicles to enlarge the hair if there are conditions such as alopecia or hairlessness. If a follicle is damaged, it is impossible to stimulate it. There is no information on how to adapt it today. However, some new stem cell research gives hope. A 2017 article found a new method to re-activate dead or damaged hair follicles. However, this treatment has not yet been tested on humans and has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
Hair follicles are responsible for the growth of hair consisting of three separate stages. These follicles also determine the hair type. When the follicles are damaged, the hair growth can stop and the hair growth cycle may slow down. If there are concerns about hair growth, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist.

Hair follicle Infection (Folliculitis) and treatment

Alopecia areata update. 
Androgenetic alopecia.
Flores A, et al.

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