Anagen Phase

Pro-Anagen, Mes-Anagen & Met-Anagen


The anagen phase of the hair growth cycle is the 2-6 years when the hair actually grows by means of production of hair fibre inside the follicle that later keratinizes. The anagen phase is the first of three phases during the human hair growth cycle.

What happens during the anagen phase?

This is the first phase of a hair’s growth cycle. It is also known as the active growing stage.

The second phase is catagen and the third and last phase is telogen.

The anagen growth phase is sub-divided into pro-anagen, mes-anagen and met-anagen.

During this phase the hair follicle reaches its maximum depth in the skin.

During this phase active growth takes place inside the root or hair follicle.

The first phase is also the longest of the three phases.

About 85-90% of hair on the whole body will be in this phase at any given time. The length of the phase is genetically determined, but is about 2-6 years for scalp hair, before it falls out.

During the anagen phase hair grows about 5-6″ (12,5-15cm) per year. Only in very rare individuals will hair ever grow longer than 1 yard (1m) during its entire lifetime.





Please have a look at the table about follicle density to see how the length of this phase differs on the various body areas.

The dermal papilla supplies blood to the follicle to keep it alive and to support its growth.

During the anagen phase hair growth cells in the follicle focus on multiplying and proliferating rapidly to produce more cells.

The average life of scalp hair is 3 years, with rare exceptions reaching about 10 years.

Production of hair fibre takes place, the hair shaft lengthens and the hair is pushed upwards and out of the natural pore in the skin.

The dermal papilla protrudes into the hair follicle and is responsible for instigating and directing hair growth.


Which Is The Most Import Sub-Phase?
Pro-Anagen, Mes-Anagen, Met-Anagen?

Of the three sub-phases pro-anagen is without a doubt the most important phase for hair removal purposes. During this sub-phase the dermal papilla is at its closest to the skin surface.

Because it is so near to the surface of the skin, it is very vulnerable to hair removal methods and can very easily be damaged or killed.

I say that because I perform hair removal treatments with intense pulsed light or IPL device. The same goes for any and laser device.

During the mes-anagen phase the follicle lengthens and moves downwards. The follicle reaches its maximum depth inside the skin during the met-anagen phase.


Role Of The Dermal Papilla

It is the dermal papilla, and not the follicle, that must be destroyed, or at the very least harmed, to cause permanent damage in order to delay or prevent future hair re-growth.

In pro-anagen the dermal papilla is at its closest to the skin surface that it will ever be. Because the papilla is so near to the skin’s surface, it is possible to deposit sufficient energy and fluence with the above mentioned light induced photo epilation hair removal equipment to cause serious damage to it.

This fact is especially important for male hair removal, because men have much thicker skin than females. The damaging heat energy will be absorbed by the dermal papilla.

During mes-anagen the follicle starts to grow downwards and it reaches its maximum depth in the skin during the met-anagen phase.


What Happens During This Phase?

During anagen hair growth the cells in the follicle focus on multiplying and proliferating rapidly to produce more cells. This is called hair growth.

Production of hair fibre takes place, the hair shaft lengthens and the hair is pushed upwards through the follicular canal and out of the pore in the skin.

The dermal papilla protrudes into the bottom of the hair follicle. It provides nourishment through blood to the follicle.


Factors That Influence Hair Growth

Various factors (childbirth, illness, trauma, stress, anticancer drugs or chemotherapy, social drugs, etc) can significantly alter the rate of active anagen hair growth.

Everything that happens to a person, while the hair is being built during the anagen phase, will eventually show up in the condition of the hair shaft during its 2-6 years life.

The hair follicle consists of eight concentric cell layers. Some one layer and others several layers thick.

Once the cortex cells are above the follicle they become keratinized and harden. Because the cells are hard they can’t function properly and die.

An unknown signal causes the follicle to go into the next phase, which is catagen phase.


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