Hair Structure

The management of hair is far more complex than it may appear. You will feel it all the way down at the root when it is moved or pulled. Body hair will prevent skin damage and particles such as dust from getting into your ears and eyes.

Even if it is severely damaged, your hair can regrow without being scarred. The human body is covered in hair on practically all its surfaces. This article offers a general introduction to the composition of hair structure. It describes how it evolves, the components that it is composed of, and the way it increases.

How The Hair Grows

There are around five million follicles in the human body, with roughly one million located on the head and another hundred thousand on the scalp. Follicles do not keep growing throughout a person’s lifetime. The number of hairs in a specific area diminishes with age because our bodies continue to extend and expand.

The Organization of Hair

Although a single hair may appear uncomplicated at first glance, it is actually among the most complex structures found within the body. Experts break down the structure of hair into two distinct parts. The section of the hair located below the skin is called the hair follicle, and the part visible above the skin is called the hair shaft.

Hair Follicle

The hair starts to grow from the hair follicle. It has the appearance of a stocking and originates in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. It goes as deep as the dermis, the second skin layer on the body. The papilla is a patch of tissue found at the follicle’s base and contains a system of tiny blood veins (capillaries). These provide nourishment to the hair root, which encourages continued growth.

The bulb is a spherical structure found deep within the skin at the hair’s root. It encompasses the papilla in addition to the germinal matrix. The bulb contains numerous distinct kinds of stem cells, all of which have the potential to differentiate into other cell forms and regenerate themselves over an extended period. Additionally, the bulb includes hormones that affect the structure and growth of hair during various phases of life, such as puberty.

An outer and an inner sheath surround the follicle. These sheaths serve to shield and shape the developing hair within the follicle. The inner sheath travels with the hair and terminates before the opening of its oil gland, also known as the sebaceous gland.

The sebaceous gland is responsible for producing sebum, often known as oil, which serves as the natural moisturizer for the body. Sebum production slows down with age, contributing to drier skin. Because of the increased production of sebum that occurs throughout puberty, acne is quite common among adolescents.

One of the muscles linked to the outer sheath is the arrector pili muscle, a tiny muscle bundle. When it contracts, it triggers the hair on the body to stand on end, often referred to as having goosebumps.

Hair Shaft

The section of the human hair visible to the naked eye is called the hair shaft. Keratin, a protein that can harden and layer, makes up all three layers of this structure. These layers are as follows:

  • The Medulla: This is the term used to describe the innermost layer. The Medulla may or may not be contained in the hair, based on the kind of hair.
  • The cortex: The bulk of the shaft is made up of the cortex, located in the hair’s middle layer. Pigment-producing cells, which give hair its color, can be found in the hair follicle’s cortex and the Medulla.
  • The cuticle: This is the outermost layer of the skin, and it is produced by closely packed scales arranged in an overlapping arrangement.

The Growth Cycle

The scalp hair grows at an average rate of less than a half millimeter per day.  Each strand is always in a particular hair growth cycle.

  • Stage 1: The hair cycle stage during which growth occurs is called the anagen phase. Most of a person’s hair will remain in this stage for several years. The old strand that has finished growing is expelled from the follicle as new hair grows in its place.
  • Stage 2: The catagen stage is a transitional period that lasts for a few weeks; at any given moment, just 2% of all scalp hairs are in this phase. The growth rate decelerates during this period, and the outer sheath contracts and becomes attached to the root of the hair.
  • Stage 3: The follicles are in a dormant state at this phase, and the club hair has reached its final stage of development. The telogen phase, also known as the resting phase, can span anywhere from three months to a year. It makes up between 10 and 15 percent of all hair.

How It Comes to Take Its Form

Many have thick, straight, and lustrous hair, while others have wavy hair in the shape of a corkscrew. This appearance is because of the way the hair is shaped. The circumference of straight hair is, for the most part, round. The individual strands of wavy hair are smooth. When the hair shaft is more circular, the hair is more likely to be straight. When the shaft is more flattened, the hair becomes curlier.

The shape of its cross-section determines the degree of hair shine—shinier hair results from the sebum produced by the sebaceous gland. Because the sebum has difficulty moving down the hair of someone with curly hair, it gives the appearance of being drier and duller.

Your hair texture, color, texture, and thickness may alter as you get older. These changes may occur naturally. It can even shift some of its position, leaving excessive amounts in specific regions and inadequate amounts in others.


If you take care of your general health, it will show in your hair and help it to stay healthy. Consuming foods rich in nutrients is one strategy to improve the health of your hair from within. If you have concerns about how your health state might affect your hair growth, you should discuss them with your primary care physician.

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