Understanding Hair Structure and GrowthHair is predominately made of keratin and dead skin cells that are anchored into the scalp by hair follicles. These hair follicles form a bulb between the scalp and the strand of hair. The hair follicle produces living cells that divide and grow to build the hair shaft. The hair shaft comprises several layers that each have their own role to play. There are three hair texture variations that occur in human hair. Each hair texture needs to be cared for differently to maintain strong and healthy hair structure and growth. In this article, we will explain why and how these hair types need to be looked after.
- What’s the Structure of Human Hair?
- How Can I Improve my Hair Structure?
- How Do I Know What my Hair Structure is?
- How Does Hair Get its Colour?
What’s the Structure of Human Hair?
From the outside of the dermal papilla to the inside of the hair structure, we first have the cuticle layer.
The cuticle layer has scale-like cells which overlap each other on the outer surface of the hair. These cells act as a defence against damage to the inner hair structure.
They also work to control the water content of the hair fibre. The cortex is the middle layer of the hair and is responsible for the strength, colour, and texture of the hair shaft. While the innermost layer, the medulla, is typically only present in thick hair.
Damage occurs to the hair when the cuticle layer experiences excessive manipulation, chemical over-processing and the over-use of styling tools which can affect the growth cycle.
How Can I Improve my Hair Structure?
When individuals are looking to improve their hair structure, they’re referring to the texture of their hair and it’s thickness. Hair texture is improved by taking better care of the hair through:
- A carefully considered diet,
- Reducing the amount of heat used
- Using a mild shampoo
Certain vitamins and oils further improve the texture of hair, including biotin and vitamin C. The hair structure is improved using different methods that depend on the type of hair texture:
Fine hair: Anything that further weakens the fine hair structure needs to be limited, including harsh towel drying.
Medium hair: Medium hair is robust but to maintain its texture it needs to receive adequate moisture.
Thick or coarse hair: Thick hair requires a lot of hydration as it is prone to frizz. Deep conditioning treatments soften the hair and make it more manageable.
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How Do I Know What my Hair Structure is?
Hair texture/hair structure has three main categories: the curl pattern, the volume, and the consistency. The curl pattern is divided into straight, wavy, curly or coiled hair. The shape of the hair follicle directly affects the curl pattern (oval follicles grow curlier hair). Volume and consistency however are more subject to changing.
This is as a result of:
- A loss of collagen: The production of natural oils from the sebaceous gland from a lack of collagen is reduced with age, resulting in a drier texture to the hair.
- Poor diet: A diet that ensures that the hair will receive adequate protein and oil will improve the texture of the hair ensuring the hair grows strong.
- Product build-up: This causes the hair bulbs at the base of the hair to become clogged which changes the texture of the hair as a result.
- Heat damage: The hair becomes brittle and dry from hot styling tools, resulting in an increase in split-ends and a frizzy hair texture.
How Does Hair Get its Colour?
Hair color is caused by melanin in the hair structure. The levels of eumelanin (a type of melanin) are responsible for black or brown hair, while pheomelanin creates red hair.
Blonde hair is a result of low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin and we can see how hair gets its colour through the amount of eumelanin and pheomelanin in the structure.
The role of the MC1R receptor
The best-researched gene that affects the colour of the hair structure is the MC1R gene. This is responsible for sending signals to initiate the tough protein production for the melanocortin 1 receptor. Humans are born with two functioning copies of the MC1R gene, one inherited from each parent.
Fine, medium and coarse hair needs to be carefully looked after to maintain the integral strength of the hair structure. However each have their own needs to promote hair growth and work to fight the signs of hair loss. Dr Balwi recommends hair care with vitamins, amino acids and nutrients that’s tailored towards boosting the health of your hair fibers.
If you’re experiencing hair loss contact your experts at Elithair to learn more about combating this with a permanent hair transplant.