I sometimes get correspondence from people who have been affected by thinning hair or hair loss and who want to know what miniaturized hair looks like. Many people imagine that miniaturized hair is short hair that has just started to grow in. So when they see hair that is long in length but appears to be very thin, they wonder if it’s possible that hair that long is miniaturized as well.
I might hear from someone who says: “I am starting to suspect that what I thought was telogen effluvium is actually androgenetic alopecia. Because as I’ve been examining my regrowth and I notice that some of it, particularly on top, is thinner than the rest. I know that this is probably miniaturization. But then I was looking on the sides of my hair and I saw very thin, fly away hairs that are also quite long. I didn’t think that it was possible for long hair to be miniaturized. Isn’t it just short hair?”
In my experience, this type of hair can be any length, although short hair in this condition is more common. Let’s think about this for a second. Hair tends to fully miniaturize over time and over the course of several hair cycles. Now, many people believe that hair affected by androgens has a shorter life cycle that hair that has not been affected. Even so, if you don’t ever cut the hair and you leave it alone, it would probably get some length on it before it fell out. And it would be thinner than the rest of the hair on your head.
Many people notice this type of hair when they are inspecting their regrowth, just as described above and that is yet another reason that you are more likely to see those thin and short hairs. You’re more likely to be looking in areas with high levels of androgens. But let’s say you weren’t so vigilant about this type of examination and you didn’t check until six months from now. Assuming that the hair cycle wasn’t significantly shortened, you can expect that the same hair would have grown in length. And so you would see a longer hair that was probably the same diameter. It would just be longer because it would have grown.
So my answer to this question is that no, it’s not at all impossible to see longer hair that is miniaturized, especially if it has been some time since you’ve gotten a hair cut. It’s just more likely to see shorter hair because most people notice this when they are looking at their scalp after they have noticed a change like shedding or hair loss. And so what they see growing in is more likely to be shorter since it is just starting to grow back.