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sycamoreboutiqu
February 26th, 2011, 12:17 AM
I have searched the threads several times now but can't find one on this subject.

Is there really a "terminal" length beyond which one cannot go ?

I understand the concept that this will be different for everyone, but I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that there really could be a "terminal" length since hair never stops growing - until you are dead.

Does terminal refer more to a length beyond which you can't maintain length due to breakage ?

Details please.

strigiformes
February 26th, 2011, 12:22 AM
I think terminal may refer to the length to which each hair will grow before shedding, which would be different for everyone. If you have a shorter terminal length, even if you do everything correctly, your hair wouldn't grow past that point.

teela1978
February 26th, 2011, 12:25 AM
You know how you get hairs falling out every day? That's because every hair on your body has a cycle of growth. They grow for some period of time, fall out, and start over again. Some hairs grow for days to weeks (like eyebrows and arm or leg hair), some grow for years (head hair). Even on your head there's a range of cycle times, some people will have hair cycles that are very long, allowing them to grow extraordinarily long hair. Most people will have cycles around 6 years or so I think, long enough to grow to hip length or so.

Spidermom often refers to it as a "terminal time" rather than "terminal length" because its more about how long each hair has to grow rather than some magical length when your hair stops growing. Your hair always grows, but since each hair is replaced after a certain amount of time it can only ever get to be as long as that cycle (and nutrition) will allow.

Does that make any sense?

sycamoreboutiqu
February 26th, 2011, 01:07 AM
Oh, it is all crystal clear now.

Yes, that makes total sense. I guess I wasn't thinking in terms of the lifespan of individual hairs, but rather the whole head. But the whole head is dependent on the lifespan of the individuals.

Hmmm, how fascinating.

So the people who have grown the floor length hair have either done it in a span of about 6 years - by growing super fast - or their terminal "time" is much longer than the average.

I never knew that 6 years was an average growth cycle.

So the goal then for achieving exceptional length would be to try and increase your terminal time for each strand by whatever means possible ( like eating Fullers Earth and such things).

Has anyone quantitatively extended their terminal time - ie: in a way that is measurable ?

xoxophelia
February 26th, 2011, 01:15 AM
I have read before that there is a theory that people with unusually long hair (well below knees) have scalps that respond ineffectively to testosterone which is one hormone that regulates the hair cycle.

As far as extending your terminal length.. the best you can do is to extend where you think your terminal is. There is an absolute natural limit determined genetically but if you take better care of your hair, less will break off. You may think your terminal length is tailbone length only to find out that damage caused a false terminal. Your real one could be classic length.

teela1978
February 26th, 2011, 01:55 AM
The 6 year thing is a guess, don't quote me :)

I think the published "terminal time" is like 3-4 years but that seems rather unlikely. Most everyone on this site can make it well past 24 inches which would be 4 years of 1/2 inch per month so either people who can't grow hair past their armpits never join LHC (certainly a possibility) or the number was an extremely conservative guess by the writers.

Twarg
February 26th, 2011, 01:59 AM
Teela, you have a great way of explaining things.

teela1978
February 26th, 2011, 02:07 AM
Teela, you have a great way of explaining things.
Thanks, I'm sure its all been borrowed from other LHCers though :)

enfys
February 26th, 2011, 06:11 AM
Not much is known about terminal length I think because it doesn't affect enough people. It's not a study worth funding. There are ways it could be measured, but a decade long study in which people probably can't cut their hair? Not many people would even be willing to participate. I wouldn't!

Rather than changing your terminal, I recommend you just get the most out of your growth. I don't think there is a natural, healthy way to keep a hair on your scalp longer than your body wants to, but trimming will bring down what your terminal appears to be as well as damage/breakage.

Math:
Say I trim 1/2" four times a year. I'm trimming 2" a year. Over the seven year cycle that gets bandied about, that's 14". So if I grow to knee and that's where terminal looks to be...I could have got to mid calf. Big difference!

Too much affects terminal length to really quantify it. Igor did a couple of articles about it that are interesting, but even thosearen't absolute.

The way you could measure your cycle? Here's what I can think. Dye all your hair in a way that won't fade, and see how many years it takes for all the dyed strands to all have fallen out. While hoping some of the hairs you dyed were at the start of growing. And not trimming.

Panth
February 26th, 2011, 07:03 AM
Not much is known about terminal length I think because it doesn't affect enough people. It's not a study worth funding. There are ways it could be measured, but a decade long study in which people probably can't cut their hair? Not many people would even be willing to participate. I wouldn't!

This!

Most of the study of hair growth has been done in (I believe) mice. Now, they are quite different from humans, as you can tell! ;) Their terminal length (although, yes, "terminal time" is a much better way of putting it) is a lot shorter than ours - you don't see mice, even the strains of mice which randomly develop extra-long hair, that have hairs of several feet in length!

When I started a placement at a dermatology research lab, I got some questions from my boss:
- had I ever reached terminal?
- did my growth rate or shed rate alter with the seasons?
Unfortunately, that was pre-LHC and so I didn't have any decent answers for him, other than I didn't think I was at terminal yet. Now, I know I had a shed last Nov and will be looking out for another this year. I don't measure my hair so I still can't say anything definite about seasonal variations in my growth rate, though I know others have noticed this.

If he'd been a nicer boss, I might have considered telling him about LHC since there's lots of potential for gathering useful data on human hair growth rates here.


Rather than changing your terminal, I recommend you just get the most out of your growth. I don't think there is a natural, healthy way to keep a hair on your scalp longer than your body wants to, but trimming will bring down what your terminal appears to be as well as damage/breakage.

Math:
Say I trim 1/2" four times a year. I'm trimming 2" a year. Over the seven year cycle that gets bandied about, that's 14". So if I grow to knee and that's where terminal looks to be...I could have got to mid calf. Big difference!

Too much affects terminal length to really quantify it. Igor did a couple of articles about it that are interesting, but even thosearen't absolute.

The way you could measure your cycle? Here's what I can think. Dye all your hair in a way that won't fade, and see how many years it takes for all the dyed strands to all have fallen out. While hoping some of the hairs you dyed were at the start of growing. And not trimming.

The dye method is the only way I could figure to measure your growth and shed rate 100% accurately. To ensure all the hairs were at the start of their anagen phase, you could use the standard method for mice: pluck every hair (usually they use something a bit like a waxing strip). This will simultaneously induce anagen in all the follicles.

But, for someone who's just trying for super-long hair ... basically, you want to baby your hair to reduce false terminals. The most common false terminals are due to mechanically induced damage from damaging combs/brushes, teasing/backcombing and rubbing against clothes/seats/etc. You can also get false terminals from heat damage. So, for super-long hair, try to eliminate as much heat and mechanical damage as is possible.

Nae
February 26th, 2011, 07:13 AM
This!

To ensure all the hairs were at the start of their anagen phase, you could use the standard method for mice: pluck every hair (usually they use something a bit like a waxing strip). This will simultaneously induce anagen in all the follicles.


Oh my goodness, I am just getting this visual of a bunch of tender-skinned, grouchy, nekkid mice running around, plotting revenge against the poor lab assistant who had to "pluck" them. (I think I have watched too much Pinky and The Brain.)

Panth
February 26th, 2011, 07:23 AM
Oh my goodness, I am just getting this visual of a bunch of tender-skinned, grouchy, nekkid mice running around, plotting revenge against the poor lab assistant who had to "pluck" them. (I think I have watched too much Pinky and The Brain.)

That's not the worst of it. :P

The PhD student in the lab was trying to develop a cream. Whenever they test topically applied drugs, they have to test how well the drug penetrates the skin. The standard model for this is pigs, seeing as their skin is about the same thickness as ours ... and the easiest bit of pig skin to get is the ears, since they're waste products at the abbatoir/butcher's. So, she spent a lot of her PhD collecting bags of pig ears and then hand shaving each and every one of them so that she could use them to test her cream.

Nae
February 26th, 2011, 07:35 AM
That's not the worst of it. :P

The PhD student in the lab was trying to develop a cream. Whenever they test topically applied drugs, they have to test how well the drug penetrates the skin. The standard model for this is pigs, seeing as their skin is about the same thickness as ours ... and the easiest bit of pig skin to get is the ears, since they're waste products at the abbatoir/butcher's. So, she spent a lot of her PhD collecting bags of pig ears and then hand shaving each and every one of them so that she could use them to test her cream.

Oh my goodness, what an ick job!! Note to self; Science is messy!!

I bet she got pretty good at it after a while lol.

sycamoreboutiqu
February 26th, 2011, 11:07 AM
>>If he'd been a nicer boss, I might have considered telling him about LHC<<<

Too funny - keep it a secret from the meanies out there ... lol.

Glad I asked this question - learned a lot in a short time.