Does Pulling Hair Damage It? The Science

Pulling hair can cause your hair strands to fall or break out. In most cases it affects only the hair strand and hair will again grow back from the hair follicle. However, if the follicle gets damaged due to pulling, hair won’t grow back.  

What is Hair’s Follicle & Bulb?

Keratin, the protein that makes up hair, is produced by keratinocyte cells in the scalp and then dies there. While the scalp’s follicles are still active, the bulb serves as the hair’s root’s foundation. Life cycle renewal is the process through which dead cells produce strands that regenerate. The follicles, not the hair, are what need to be intact and functional for new hair to regrow after thinning or losing it due.

Anagen, catagen, and telogen are all phases in the life cycle of hair follicles. Hair strands undergo structural changes during each cycle, but when hair follicles are healthy, they regenerate. In order to prevent a significant portion of hair from remaining in the resting phase and entering the anagen cycle, proactive measures must be taken to guarantee that hair follicles have time to rest.

Hair Growth PhaseHair GrowthDuration
Anagen PhaseHair Grows One Centimeter A Month6 Years
Catagen PhaseThe Keratin-producing cells in the hair follicles die.10 Days
Telogen PhaseFollicles and hair follicles rest in preparation for regrowth.100 Days

Does Pulling Hair Damage It?

Scenario 1 (Undamaged Follicle)

When you remove a hair by the root, you are not removing the follicle. In other words, what you can see at the end of each hair strand is the bulb of your hair.

Hair follicles house your hair bulb and the hair that grows out of it. It’s a part of your body that will always be there.

On your skin’s epidermis, a hair follicle looks like a tube.

Your hair bulb is made up of nerve fibers and is found at the base of each of the follicles. They are the nerves that enable you to feel the movement of your hair or the contact of another person with your hair.

In addition to the hair follicle, each has a sebaceous gland that secretes sebum, an oleaginous material. Hair and adjacent skin benefit from sebum’s hydrating and conditioning properties.

Every hair strand originates from your skin’s surface after passing through your sebaceous gland.

A new bulb will develop and fresh hair will sprout via the same follicle after you pull out your hair by the roots. It might take a couple of months or even over a year depending on the circumstances.

Although plucked hair first seems as if it won’t regrow, it generally does and looks exactly as it did before.

Scenario 2 (Damaged Follicle)

Hair follicles might become permanently damaged from excessive hair pulling. Pulling on one’s hair too much might harm the follicles. It’s possible that damaged hair follicles have an impact on hair development. Damage to hair follicles slows hair growth, and hair that has been lost will never regrow.

The follicles of the hair will gradually shrink and become more vulnerable once they have been injured, and this leads to permanent hair loss and bald patches.

Hair follicles will regrow in 1 to 2 months if your scalp is healthy and unharmed. There is a four-year recovery time if your hair follicles have been destroyed; but, if the damage is irreversible, no new hairs will develop.

Does pulling hair weaken it?

If pulled mildly, it doesn’t weaken the hair. To increase hair development, it is beneficial to pull your hair during a scalp massage. In contrast, tugging or yanking at your hair may cause a variety of issues, including hair thinning and even loss.

According to research, hair follicles might become permanently damaged if pulled out too often.

It might permanently destroy a hair follicle if left untreated for a long period of time. Damage to the follicle may be so severe that future hair development from a damaged follicle may be difficult, if not impossible.

Because of this, someone may be left with bald patches on their scalp, or their eyelashes and eyebrows may be missing, depending on what was being pulled.

How long does hair take to grow back after being pulled out?

While pulling, if only the root of the hair is taken from the follicle under the skin’s surface, it may take up to two weeks before you see any changes. After that, you may expect your hair to grow at a rate of half an inch each month on average. At that point, you should be able to see stubble on that spot.

If the hair does not recover after a few months, it is possible that the hair follicles have been destroyed.

In the event of a damaged follicle, fresh hair growth might take anywhere from 2 to 4 years.

If you fully destroy your hair follicles, you will never be able to grow your hair from that follicle again.


If you accidentally yank a hair out at the root, don’t worry; it will usually regrow.

Your hair will grow back, although slowly at first.

You may have to wait a little longer if your follicle has been damaged by hair pulling.

Maintaining healthy hair requires consuming enough amounts of protein and iron, both of which are necessary for hair development. Leafy greens, nuts, meat, brown rice, and beans are all good sources of iron.

In the event that you are unable to stop pulling out your hair and feel self-conscious about the way, you look as a consequence, speak with your doctor about your options. If you have trichotillomania, you have a mental health issue that is unlikely to improve on its own.

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