What Is a Hair Follicle?


Hair looks simple enough, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. In your research about hair, chances are you have come across hair follicles and wondered what exactly they are. In this article, we will help you with that. By the end, you’ll know what a hair follicle is, why it’s important to hair growth, and what you can do to promote hair follicle health. 

Hair Follicle Definition

Hair follicles are little tunnel-shaped structures in your scalp. They are where your hair grows from. Everyone has hair follicles on their head - hundreds of thousands of them. And there are millions of them on a single human body. 

The main purpose of hair follicles is to grow hair. But they also have a couple of other purposes, including healing your skin after you injure it and producing new blood vessels. 

Is a Hair Follicle a Hair Root? 

A hair follicle is not a hair root, though both structures are situated very close to one another. The hair root is the portion of the hair that goes deep into the skin, and the hair follicle is the skin and tissue surrounding the hair root. As you can see, hair roots and hair follicles are not one and the same.

Hair Follicles Don’t Grow Hair All the Time

In case you didn’t know, hair follicles don’t grow hair all the time. Hair grows according to a defined process consisting of 4 main phases (only one of which is an active growing phase). Here are the stages of hair growth in short: 

  1. Anagen phase - The growth phase, where your hair grows about ½ inch per month. The phase lasts for several years. 

  2. Catagen phase - The transition phase, where hair growth slows down. This stage lasts for a few weeks. 

  3. Telogen phase - The resting phase, where the hair neither grows nor sheds. This stage lasts for several months. 

  4. Exogen phase  - The shedding phase, where the hair detaches from the follicle and falls out. At the same time, new hair begins to grow in the hair follicle to replace the one that just fell out. 

Note: Not all of your hair strands will be in the same phase at the same time. 

Hair Follicle Health Tips 

Many have no idea that there are things that can damage your hair follicles, but it’s true. Failing to give your hair follicles what they need can result in a situation where they are unable to function optimally. So, it’s essential to take care of your hair follicles to the best of your ability; here are some tips to make it happen: 

  1. Drink enough water on a regular basis. For most adults, 8 cups is sufficient. 

  2. Eat a well-balanced diet to ensure that your hair follicles have the nutrients they need to function. Vitamins A, C, D, and E are essential to hair follicle health.

  3. Massage your scalp now and then to encourage blood flow to your follicles. 

  4. Stay away from chemicals and heat, as they have both been shown to cause hair follicle damage.

  5. Choose hairstyles that don’t require a lot of tension or yanking at your follicles. 

So, there you have it - everything you need to know about hair follicles as a beginner. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best in your hair! 




Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.


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