Do you know whether your hair is just a bunch of dead cells put together? Or what your hair really is all about? Let’s find it out together from this article.
People are concerned about the way their hair looks. It is very important to have it properly cut, and done. In the pursuit of looking stylish and being in trend, all people, but mostly women do all kinds of procedures that might be dangerous to their hair health condition.
They justify all the bleaching and hot steam women use for the sets by claiming that our hair is dead anyway. We have decided to explore this issue too see whether they are right or not. So, let’s start.
Before we jump to the question of what your hair really consists of and whether it is just a group of dead cells put together, let’s first see how your hair grows.
What your hair consists of?
There are two parts of your hair. The first part is the root or the follicle. The second one is what we actually see growing from the scalp. If talking about hair follicle, you should be aware that it has a shape of a tunnel. Here is what trusted sources say about it. The follicle is a segment that “extends down into the dermis. The structure contains several layers that all have separate functions. At the base of the follicle is the papilla, which contains capillaries, or tiny blood vessels that nourish the cells. The living part of the hair is the very bottom part surrounding the papilla, called the bulb.”
This very bulb mentioned above is always dividing. If you think about it, this is a cell that undergoes the process of the division every one to three days. It is amazing, as no other cell in our body divides this frequently.
Another important part of our hair follicle is called sheath. There are two of them, and they ensure the safe growth and development of the hair we see. Actually, this part answers the question of whether our hair is dead. It shows that no proper healthy growth of hair is possible without getting vitamins, minerals and other vital things. So, the inner part of your hair under the scalp is alive.
Scientifically speaking, resources like WebMD state that “The inner sheath follows the hair shaft and ends below the opening of a sebaceous (oil) gland, and sometimes an apocrine (scent) gland. The outer sheath continues all the way up to the gland. A muscle called an erector pili muscle attaches below the gland to a fibrous layer around the outer sheath. When this muscle contracts, it causes the hair to stand up which also causes the sebaceous gland to secrete oil.”
The latter part is paramount for your hair. It defines how healthy your hair will be by making an element called “sebum.” Female individuals usually have less of this element in their bodies as they get older.
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Hair shaft structure
Now let’s move on to the hair shaft. This is a part of your hair above the scalp. It has a complicated structure and consists of several layers. The shaft is made of the hard protein called keratin. By the way, this protein is dead, so your hair shaft is not an alive structure.
The first layer is called cuticle, then goes cortex, and the inner one is known as medulla. Most of your hair consists of cortex, while medulla and cuticle are fragile. Your hair color is determined by the inner and middle layers of the hair shaft. They hold the pigments that define what color your hair is going to be.
Despite the fact that hair is dead, it is still growing pretty well. On average, your hair grows one-third a millimeter a day, which makes it approximately a centimeter a month. Of course, there are a lot of other factors that define its growth, but this is general statistics we are aware of.
Stages of hair growth
Interestingly enough is that we lose around thirty to sixty hairs a day. They are falling out not due to the seasonal change. It is a myth a lot of people believe. The growth of your hair has three stages and depending on which stage each hair is at, your hair might fall out or grow again.
These three stages are called anagen, catagen, and telogen. There is no scientific explanation how these stages change each other; this is rather hard to predict.
The first stage, anagen, lasts for two to six years. During this time your hair cells are dividing very fast, so the new hair pushes the old ones out. The old ones are considered to be the ones that no longer grow or are at a different stage at the time being.
Thanks to this stage your hair can grow as long as a centimeter a month. However, as you know, some people cannot grow their hair longer than certain length because this stage was too short for them. Their hair has reached the certain length and won’t be able to grow longer afterward. On the contrary, there are people who have long hair despite their age. This means that anagen stage was longer for them than for other people.
You might wonder why the hair on our arms and legs is always short. It can also be explained with the length of the anagen stage. The scientific research shows that this stage for hair on our arms and legs usually lasts for approximately a month or a month and a half. That is why it never gets longer.
The second stage is known catagen. All the hair goes through this stage at some point. It doesn’t last for tool long, though. As the professionals explain it at this point, “Growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the source of the hair.” During this stage, your club hair is formed.
Finally, the last stage is telogen. Less than ten percent of your hair is in this stage at the moment of speaking. The hair on your head goes through this stage for around a hundred days, while the hair on your eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, and legs remain in this stage for much longer than that. Basically, nothing is really happening at this stage. Your hair is at rest, and no additional hair is growing. It is the hairs that were in this stage that you could find on your comb every day. Scholars say that about twenty-five to one hundred hairs is being lost every day. This is absolutely normal, so don’t worry if you think that you are going to be bold soon.
So, to sum it all up, your hair shaft (or the hair above the scalp you see every day) is dead. It is made of keratin which is a dead protein. However, you still need to get enough vitamins and minerals that will form your hair before they go above the scalp. This is vital. When you are bleaching your hair is using steam to make a hairstyle you are changing the structure of your hair but not killing it unlike what hair gurus tend t say about it.
We hope that information helped you and now you understand how your hair grows and functions a little bit more. Take good care of it and be careful with what you eat. But since it is an entirely different topic, we will talk about it in a different article. Stay healthy and be brandy!
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