How Long Is the Telogen Phase of Hair Growth? A Deep Dive into Hair Cycles

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Hair goes through a repetitive growth cycle of three main phases - anagen, catagen and telogen. The telogen phase, also called the “resting phase”, is important for allowing hair follicles to renew themselves between active growth periods. But what is the normal length of the telogen phase?

How Long is the Telogen Phase of Hair Growth?

The telogen phase typically lasts between 2-4 months as part of the overall hair growth cycle. This provides an adequate rest period before new hair begins emerging again in the anagen phase.

Length of Telogen Phase

On average, the telogen phase represents about 13-15% of the total growth cycle length. So for the normal 4-6 year hair cycle duration, the telogen resting period is around 2-4 months long.

Variation Across Follicles

The telogen duration can vary slightly between individual follicles. Some may rest closer to 6-8 weeks, while others remain in telogen for up to 5 months.

Range Throughout Lifetime

As we age, the telogen phase may lengthen slightly. Telogen lasts between 50-100 days on average in youth, extending to 70-120 days for middle-aged adults.

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What Happens During the Telogen Phase?

Here’s a look at key events during the telogen resting period:

No Active Hair Growth

The follicle remains dormant and does not produce new hair during telogen. The club hair formed in catagen persists.

Hair Detachment

The non-growing club hair partially detaches as the follicle prepares to shed it.

New Hair Germination

Toward the end of telogen, a new hair bulb and dermal papilla start forming beneath the old club hair.

Shedding of Club Hair

The inactive hair fully disconnects and sheds from the scalp as the new hair starts emerging.

Triggers for Telogen Entry and Exit

Certain factors help regulate the hair cycle phases, including:

Molecular Clocks

Signaling pathways in the follicle keep time, triggering entry into and exit from telogen on schedule.

Systemic Factors

Nutrient status, hormones, and inflammation influence hair cycle pacing.

Local Factors

Growth stimulators and inhibitors produced in the skin and follicles modulate cycling.

Environmental Stress

Extreme stressors can prematurely shift hair into telogen before it’s ready.

Abnormal Telogen Duration

Problems like hair loss can occur if telogen length deviates significantly from the normal 2-4 months, including:

Delayed Anagen Re-entry

Excessively long telogen prevents new hair from promptly regrowing.

Premature Telogen Entry

Overly short anagen cut offs growth as hairs enter telogen too soon.

Poor Telogen Retention

When telogen shedding happens too fast, it speeds up hair loss.

The Bottom Line

Understanding the typical 2-4 month duration of the telogen resting phase provides insight into the hair regrowth timeline. Allowing each follicle an adequate telogen period supports healthy cycling and optimal new hair formation over one’s lifetime.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.