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Overview of Hair

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Hair Structure

The keratin structure growing out of the layer of fat underneath the scalp and from the subcutis or hypodermis layer of the skin system is called ‘Hair’. It is made up of protein that is more resistant to wear and tear in comparison to other amino acid structures that are normally found in living organisms.

Structure of Hair

Hair, as it appears to us, is a cylindrical structure that is not more than 0.05 t0 0.09 millimeters in diameter. The structure of hair can be divided into two major parts. They are:

  • Hair Follicle
  • Hair shaft.)
Hair follicle

This part of the hair that remains buried under the hypodermis or the layer of the fat in case of hair of the scalp. It is also called the root of the hair.

The structure of the follicle is more or less like of a cup that holds the hair bulb and the dermal papilla. And it is the cells of the hair bulb that are responsible for the growth of hair fibers.

Hair Shaft

The fibrous structure or the strand of hair that we are more familiar with is the shaft of the hair. In simpler words, the part of the hair visible to us is the hair shaft. Dead cells that have changed into keratin, water produced by the body and chemicals to gel keratin structures are the constituent of the hair shaft.

Role/Importance of Hair

The aforementioned description of the hair is what would interest a student of biology. It says about hair, its structure and even about its constituent elements, but describes nothing about its importance, both, biological and cosmetic.

Hair is an important part of the skin system of the human body. On the scalp it protects head from direct exposure to harsh weather and on skin system it acts as the first line of defence against allergens and foreign particles that are present in the environment.

Apart from having biological importance, hair is also an important part of cosmetic and aesthetic appearance of the human beings. It is quite impossible to describe a pleasing appearance without a mention of hair. A person without proper hair or who is suffering from baldness or hair loss is considered to be aesthetically handicap. And therefore, it has been noted that people suffering from hair loss reels under severe psychological and emotional stress.

It is normal to lose some strands of hair on any given day. Normally people lose around 50 and above strands of hair each day. So how could anyone distinguish between normal hair fall and the problem of hair loss? It requires expertise, skills, experience and a deep understanding about hair and problems related to it. However, a common man understanding about types of hair, its life cycle and nature of loss could come handy in early identification of the hair loss.