Why Don’t Eyebrows And Eyelashes Grow As Long As Head Hair?

The reason that eyebrows and eyelashes don’t grow as long as head hair is because they don’t spend as much time in the anagen (active growth) phase. Head hair can spend up to 7 years in the anagen phase, while eyebrows and eyelashes only spend about 30 days in that phase.

A good number of people, especially folks living in urban settings, spend a considerable amount of time and money keeping their hair in check. And why not? A full head of hair adds some serious ‘weight’ to one’s overall physical personality. Hair on one’s head continues to grow and must be cut/trimmed roughly once every 2-3 months.

Woman brown eye with extremely long eyelashes

Photo Credit : Inga Ivanova / Shutterstock

However, what about the hair on our eyebrows and eyelashes? Do you remember the last time you trimmed your eyelashes? Probably not. How is it that the hair on our eyelashes and eyebrows doesn’t grow as fast as the hair on other parts of the body?

Before we get to the bottom of this ‘hairy’ mystery, it’s important to know a thing or two about hair growth in general.


Recommended Video for you:

If you wish to buy/license this video, please write to us at admin@scienceabc.com.

Hair growth in humans

Aside from a few parts of the body, hair is present all over human beings. That’s very good news for us, because depending on the location on the body, hair plays a vital role in thermoregulation, i.e. maintaining the core temperature by keeping us cool during the summers through perspiration and warms us through insulation in colder weather.

neanderthal

The hairy bodies of prehistoric humans kept them safe from harsh weather conditions

In ancient times, when woolen clothing and blankets were not common commodities, it was body hair that kept our pre-historic ancestors warm/cool in the face of an unforgiving climate.

Hair follicle growth cycle

Hair follicles are mammalian organs present in the skin that are responsible for the production and growth of hair. The production of hair occurs in three main stages, excluding the formation of the specific hair follicle (called follicular morphogenesis). These stages are as follows:

Hair growth cycle

Phases of hair growth in humans (Photo Credit : Alila Medical Media / Shutterstock)

Anagen phase

This is the active growth phase of hair follicles. During the anagen phase, the root of the hair divides rapidly and the length of the strand grows at the rate of about 1 cm every 28 days. This is the most important stage, as far as hair growth is concerned. Towards the end of this stage, hair follicles automatically enter the next phase…

Catagen phase

This is a transition stage that marks the end of hair growth and the cutting off of the blood supply to the hair strand. This phase lasts for 2-3 weeks and converts the hair into a club hair.

Telogen phase

After moving through two eventful phases, this is the phase where hair finally gets some rest from all that internal activity. It is in this phase that hair begins to fall, which occurs for every strand of hair on your body. In other words, don’t panic if you see a few strands of hair in your shower after washing your head; they were just finishing their run!

Why do eyelashes and eyebrows stop growing?

eyebrows and eyelashes

What keeps the growth of eyebrows and eyelashes in check? (Photo Credit : Serg Zastavkin / Shutterstock)

Many people think that the hair found in eyebrows and eyelashes doesn’t grow at all, that they stay the same from birth to death. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hair in those areas does grow, but not as fast as hair on the scalp.

Since we’re specifically talking about ‘growing’ hair in eyebrows and eyelashes, the anagen phase provides the best explanation. Although every strand of hair on your body goes through the anagen phase, the duration for which the strand stays in the anagen phase varies hugely according to the location of the strand.

While hair on the scalp usually stays in the anagen phase for 2 to 7 years (depending on various genetic factors), the hair of your eyebrows and eyelashes stay in that phase for a meager 30 days. Therefore, they don’t get as much time to grow and become as long as the hair on your head.

Scalp eyebrow eyelash anagen phase

If the hair of our eyebrows also experienced a longer anagen phase, our eyebrows and eyelashes would be much longer than they are now, but that would probably get very annoying, very quickly, don’t you think?

Suggested Reading

Was this article helpful?
YesNo
Help us make this article better
Scientific discovery can be unexpected and full of chance surprises. Take your own here and learn something new and perhaps surprising!

Follow ScienceABC on Social Media:

About the Author

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spearheads the content and editorial wing of ScienceABC and manages its official Youtube channel. He’s a Harry Potter fan and tries, in vain, to use spells and charms (Accio! [insert object name]) in real life to get things done. He totally gets why JRR Tolkien would create, from scratch, a language spoken by elves, and tries to bring the same passion in everything he does. A big admirer of Richard Feynman and Nikola Tesla, he obsesses over how thoroughly science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

.
Science ABC YouTube Videos

  1. Neutron Stars Explained in Simple Words for LaymenNeutron Stars Explained in Simple Words for Laymen
  2. How Robert J. Oppenheimer became the ‘Father of the Atomic Bomb’How Robert J. Oppenheimer became the ‘Father of the Atomic Bomb’
  3. Higgs Boson (The God Particle) and Higgs Field Explained in Simple WordsHiggs Boson (The God Particle) and Higgs Field Explained in Simple Words
  4. Slowing or Reversing Aging: Can We Live for 180 years?Slowing or Reversing Aging: Can We Live for 180 years?
  5. Detectives Use this Simple Technique to Find Your Fingerprints (Even AFTER You Have Wiped Them Off)!Detectives Use this Simple Technique to Find Your Fingerprints (Even AFTER You Have Wiped Them Off)!
  6. Why is a Circle 360 Degrees, Why Not a Simpler Number, like 100?Why is a Circle 360 Degrees, Why Not a Simpler Number, like 100?
  7. Quantum Mechanics Explained in Ridiculously Simple WordsQuantum Mechanics Explained in Ridiculously Simple Words
  8. Do Fish Get Thirsty and Do They Need to Drink Water?Do Fish Get Thirsty and Do They Need to Drink Water?