What is our hair made up of?


Hair consists of 80 percent of protein, 10 to 15 percent of water and 5 to 10 percent of pigments, lipids and minerals. Each hair consists of a part that is above the surface of the body which is known as the hair shaft and a part which is embedded in the thickness of the skin, which is known as the hair root.

The hair root expands to form the root bulb. The root is surrounded by a tubular sheet that is known as the hair follicle. The only live element of the hair is the root, which is nourished by the blood vessels in the papilla and project in to the root bulb. The root bulb contains matrix cells which by constant cell division produce new hair. When these grow out towards the surface they die and harden to produce the hair shaft.

Hair is composed of cells that contain a protein known as keratin. It is made of three concentric layers. The first of the layer is called the medulla. This is not affected by hair treatment or processes. The next layer, the middle one is called the cortex. This layer makes up the bulk of the hair and it is made up of chains of amino acids and gives the hair its texture, elasticity, suppleness and strength. It can be altered by certain techniques such as bleaching, coloring, straightening and so on. The cortex also contains color producing cells known as melanocytes that produce melanin and give color to the hair.

The inner layer of the hair is called the cuticle is composed of tiny overlapping scales which protects the cortex. The conditions of these cuticles determine the health of the hair. If the hair cuticles are smooth and flat, the hair looks shinny and sleek, but if there are broken ends this is a sign of cortex damage. This make the hair dry, brittle and frizzle.

Hair follicles develop before birth. There are approximately 5 million hair follicles on the entire body out of which only 80-120 thousands are on the scalp. This number is genetically determined and may vary quite a lot from person to person. There are no hair follicles that are formed after birth. However, there are quite a few factors that affect hair growth rate and the general health of your hair and scalp. I am sure many of you are concerned about your hair health and would like to know how to make your hair grow faster, right? Well, there are quite a few things you can make to influence your hair growth rate in a good or bad way.

I hope this has been informative. Many thanks for reading.

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