The growth of human hair occurs everywhere on the body except for the soles of the feet, the lips, palms of the hands, some external genital areas, the navel, scar tissue, and, apart from eyelashes, the eyelids. Hair is a stratified squamous keratinized epithelium made of multi-layered flat cells whose rope-like filaments provide structure and strength to the hair shaft.The protein called keratin makes up hair and stimulates hair growth.
The body has different types of hair, including vellus hair and androgenic hair, each with its own type of cellular construction. This varied construction gives the hair unique characteristics, serving specific purposes, mainly warmth (redundant in modern humans) and physical protection. Most humans develop the longest thickest hair on their scalps and (mostly observed in males) faces. This hair will usually grow to several feet before terminating, but many humans develop much longer hair.
The three stages of hair growth are the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each strand of hair on the human body is at its own stage of development. Once the cycle is complete, it restarts and a new strand of hair begins to form. The rate or speed of hair growth is about 1.25 centimetres or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimetres or 6 inches per year
The anagen phase is known as the growth phase. This is the phase where the hair physically grows approximately 1 cm per month.It begins in the papilla and can last from three to five years. The span at which the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow. During this phase, cells neighboring the papilla in a germinative layer divide to produce new hair fibers, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. About 85% – 90% of the hairs on one’s head are in the anagen phase at any given time.
The catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase, allows the follicle to, in a sense, renew itself. During this time, which lasts about two weeks, the hair follicle shrinks due to disintegration and the papilla detaches and “rests,” cutting the hair strand off from its nourishing blood supply. Signals sent out by the body (that only selectively affect 1 percent of all hair of one’s body at any given time) determine when the anagen phase ends and the catagen phase begins. The first sign of catagen is the cessation of melanin production in the hair bulb and apoptosis of follicular melanocytes.