Isn’t hair simply amazing stuff? But have you ever wondered what it is and how it grows? Or why we lose hair?
Let’s break it down to make it simple.
What exactly is hair?
A hair follicle or individual hair begins under the skin with a base called a bulb. Also under the skin is the hair’s root and sebaceous gland.
It’s at the hair bulb that nutrients and food are drawn in to feed the hair. The sebaceous gland is responsible for making hair look shiny and luscious by keeping it lubricated with a tiny amount of oil.
The hair shaft is the bit above the skin and grows out of the root. Inside the shaft is the medulla, a core composed of a honeycomb of loose cells.
Surrounding the core is a hard keratin layer called the cortex and the layer covering the cortex is the cuticle that gives hair its shine. Within the cortex and cuticle you’ll find melanin, which determines hair colour.
Hair is made up of 91% protein and is created by long strings of amino acids which group together. These amino acids are composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulphur, joined together by peptide bonds. In fact, hair’s make up is similar to our fingernails.
So how does it grow?
Hair grows in a cycle of three phases.
Anagen is the growth phase that lasts between 2 and 5 years. Growth cells rapidly divide to produce the hair shaft that is keratinized as it pushes up and out of the follicle.
Catagen is the brief 2 to 4 week phase following anagen. Part of the renewal process, the follicle literally shrinks, the lower part is destroyed and hair stops growing but does not fall out.
Telogen is the resting phase that lasts between 2 and 6 months, during which time the hair does not grow but remains attached to the follicle. The anagen phase begins again and a new hair shaft forms, pushing the old hair up and out of the follicle.
For advice on hair loss or a hair loss treatment that really works, talk to an SRS Hair Clinic specialist about our Healthy Hair Tonic.