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Have you ever wondered why the hair on your arms stays a particular length no matter what? Why is it so short and why doesn’t it grow as long as it can like on our head? Knowing why it stays short or knowing if it grows at the same rate, as the hair on our head is intriguing. Hair grows in tiny pockets called follicles and grows from the bottom or root, which is made of keratin or cell proteins. The proteins are fed by blood vessels, and as those cells feed hair, hair starts to grow through the skin by passing an old gland (sebum”> and by the time it pokes out of the scalp hair is already dead. 

Hair grows in cycles

You will be interested to know that we are born with all the hair follicles we will ever have and that’s around 5 million. 100,000 follicles are on our scalp. Men grow hair faster than women. The only part of our bodies that grow faster than hair is bone marrow, but our hair grows on average about 6 in. per year depending on the person’s genetics, age, and health.

There is the anagen phase that is active and growing and can last anywhere from 2-6 years. The second phase is the catagen phase or transitional phase that lasts about 2-3 weeks and growth has stopped. The last phase is the telogen phase or resting phase where the follicle remains dormant anywhere from 1-4 months and eventually falls out. The process starts all over again and we lose around 50-100 hairs a day.

Does body hair grow as the same rate as the hair on our head?

Body hair and the hair on our head do go through the same process. The difference is cycles are less intense. They last only a month or so and that’s why hair body does not grow very long as the hairs on our head. The hair on our arms, legs, armpits, and pubic areas grow around 30-45 days in comparison to 2-6 years for the hair on our heads. So, while hair on our bodies outside of our heads go through the same cycle, their lengths are vastly different and the reason they at a relatively shorter length.

Why body hair has a shorter cycle

Researchers are not exactly certain why body hair growth has a shorter cycle but the general consensus is that hair gets its instructions from stem cells, which activate the hair growth. Despite that theory every person’s hair is different and the texture, color, or density is determined by genetics which influence follicle shape. As we grow older our hairs will grow with less melanin, appear gray, and those follicles stop growing hair, hence why older persons suffer from thinning hair or balding.

So, if you ever wondered why body hair stops at a shorter length it is because it has shorter growth cycle. For many of us that is good to know, because while we hunger for longer strands from our scalp, no one wants to have to shave their entire body or wants body hair that is long enough to braid or style.

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