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.
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.
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:
Signaling pathways in the follicle keep time, triggering entry into and exit from telogen on schedule.
Nutrient status, hormones, and inflammation influence hair cycle pacing.
Growth stimulators and inhibitors produced in the skin and follicles modulate cycling.
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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