Hello Dr. Rassman
This man who died last year had hair 20 feet long. How did it ever reach this length, i thought anagen phase was only 7 years. Or is it just fallen hair dreadlocked to attached hair. here is the link — OddityCentral.com
Indeed, that is odd. One explanation is that Tran Van Hay (the man with the longest hair) was stuck in a castle waiting for a prince to rescue him.
Another explanation is that while the anagen phase may last as long as 7 years (rate of hair growth at 1/2 inch/month) and produce approximately 4 feet of hair length, if the hair at the catagen/telogen phase (when the hair disconnects from the scalp) was intertwined with the hairs that remain in anagen (growth phase) the hairs will add length. This would create a dreadlock of sorts, but each strand will stay intertwined with the growing hairs. Note that in the photo at the right, that isn’t a hat he’s wearing.
My 114 year old grandmother (she actually lived to 114) had hair that was many feet longer than the 4 feet limit discussed above. I wasn’t yet a doctor when I saw her hair taken out of the bun she had it in. As a hair specialist today, I know that 6-8 feet hair length is not possible. Her hair was washed on rare occasions. When it was washed, it was a festive event when granddaughters worked to unravel her bun and let the hair fall to the floor. The hair was washed with soap and water (not shampoo or conditioner) and rung out by hand, but it was never brushed or combed. In hindsight, I believe I witnessed the hair “dreads” that formed from the failure to brush or comb the hair, where the hair that was growing had meshed with the disconnected loose hair. I remember that her hair was never aggressively combed or brushed, just washed and rung out and then allowed to dry on its own. Those were the days before hair dryers were common in the home (I remember this was in the 1960s, when she was already in her hundreds).