Hair is something we take for granted…until it becomes something that bothers us. When you start losing your hair – or it changes color or texture – it makes you more curious about what’s happening beneath the surface of your scalp.
Here are a few interesting facts:
1. Hair Has a Tree-Like Composition
There are more than a dozen different structures making up each hair fiber on your scalp. However, when you simplify the anatomy of hair down to the basics, there are two structures: the cuticle (outside) and the cortex (inside).
Hair is constructed much like a tree. The cortex is a fibrous and sensitive inside, while the cuticle features a strong, layered outside that protects the cortex from the harshness of the environment. (Most of a hair’s strength and rigidity comes from the cuticle).
2. Hair is Primarily Keratin
Hair is made from a variety of proteins, but is predominantly keratin. (This is the same protein that’s found in your fingernails and the outer layer of skin.)
“Keratin has different functions in different parts of your body; Keratin is a mixture of amino acids linked by a long thread of cysteine disulfide. The main source of these amino acids in the food you eat. That is why your dermatologist emphasizes increasing intake of protein as one of the many ways you can help improve the health of your hair,”Kiierr points out.
And while a balanced diet and proper nutrition certainly increases your chances of having healthy hair, there are also plenty of genetic factors in play. If hair loss is commonplace in your family, you’ll likely deal with this issue as well.
3. Hair is Anything But Static
We often see hair as this static part of the body that lies dormant for most of our lives. But if you were to study your hair up close, you’d find that it’s capable of much more than you realize. Here are a few interesting findings on the dynamic nature of hair:
- Every strand of hair can support as much as 100 grams of weight. That means if you were to add up each strand of your hair and combine the total strength, the hair on your head would have the ability to support the equivalent of two large elephants!
- It might not seem like your hair is growing, but it is! The average scalp has 100,000 hairs – each of which grows at an average pace of 1cm per month. The result? All of your hairs added together grow a total of 100 feet per day.
- A wet strand of hair can stretch as much as 30 percent of its normal length. This is why your hair appears so much longer when you get out of the shower (compared to after it’s been blow-dried).
- While it’s a myth that cutting your hair more frequently accelerates the rate of growth, it’s possible that hair grows quicker in warmer climates. That’s because heat simulates your body’s circulation and encourages new hair growth.
4. Prehistoric Hair Findings
Researchers believe that early humans had fur at one point, but eventually shed these full body suits after they became frequently infested with disease-carrying lice, fleas, mites, and parasites. However, once this fur was lost, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays damaged our sensitive and newly exposed skin. Our skin likely reacted by producing melanin (which absorbs solar radiation). So while hair is often seen as a referendum on beauty, the reality is that it serves very practical health functions.
5. The Mystery of Grey Hair
Did you know that grey hair is not, in fact, grey? It appears grey because it’s surrounded by other strands of hair that still have some pigment left. “Grey” hair changes color when it no longer contains melanin.
It’s also worth pointing out that, despite appearances, grey hair isn’t any more wiry nor coarse than standard pigmented hair. Once again, this is a visual trick on the eyes.
Adding it All Up
As you can see, there’s a lot more to your hair than meets the eye. From the compositional makeup and growth cycle to the nuances of styling and cutting, your hair is arguably one of the most interesting components of your body. Treat it kindly and you’ll increase your chances of having lush, healthy hair for years to come.
Article Submitted By Community Writer