Hair Loss/will hair regrow if pulled out by roots?
Dear Dr Panagotacos, Would you please explain the ability of hair follicles to "heal" or generate new hair after being subjected to trauma, including hair being pulled out by roots? My hairdresser did a "tapering" technique with her scissors on a lot of my hair--and I don't know if she pulled too hard or the scissors were catching in the hair or why, but as she pulled the scissors down the length of my hair I felt very significant pain. Enough to make my eyes water. I should have asked her to stop, but just put up with it. Now I am worried, because my hair looks a lot thinner, and my head still hurts! Would the injured follicles normally heal and regrow hair? Anything I could do to help healing? Thank you for any information you can provide.
Hair grows in a follicle which produces 1/2 inch of hair per month for four to five years in what is called the Anagen Phase. At the end of the active growth phase the hairs change their growth cycle by stopping active growth and over a period of about a month the hair migrates up and out during the Catagen and Telogen phases, Then a new hair begins from the same bulb forming a new follicle and a new hair which shows up three months later.
When a hair is plucked out the follicle is not really damaged enough to prevent the hair from going into the next phase. This is why even when you keep plucking your eyebrows they end up growing back. Think of it as a tulip flower that you plucked. When the bulb is left intact you have to wait for the next season to see the flower growing. In the case of scalp hairs they are fairly resistant to damage from plucking and they will grow back but it will take about 4 months before you can see the new small hairs coming out.
Do not worry about an injured hair follicle which has to heal. The hair roots are not really injured,just changing growth cycles. Admittedly the change was force upon the hairs but they have many more lives and I doubt you will notice any difference in density in time. Since they only grow 1/2 inch per month you will have to wait over a year to feel the increased density.