Hair and Scalp – What is the structure of hair?

Hair and Scalp – What is the structure of hair?

Hair and Scalp  The Original function of hair was to keep the animal warm and afford protection. In certain animals it was also concerned with sexual and social communication(such as the mane of the lion).In humans however, hair tends to be primarily associated with the appearance we present to the world –it is a very convenient and yet a dramatic erotic signal : for a woman, beautiful hair is one of the most powerful weapons in her sexual armoury and for a man, it is the most visible sign of his virility.

Good looking hair is essentially healthy, shiny and clean.But our hair is constantly exposed to the aggression of the environment and age and these tend to have a negative influence on its appearance-so most of the hair –care products we use ,aim at reducing these effects, thereby making the hair look attractive as our crowning glory.

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Hair and Scalp Structure  of hair -Hair is all protein 

The Part of the hair we see is dead; the actual living part is very small and is at the root in a part known as the papilla. In the papilla, cells multiply and produce a protein called hard keratin – this is responsible for the hardness of the hair.

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The part of the hair which is within the skin, is enclosed by a sleeve of tissue called the follicle. Next to each follicle is a sebaceous gland, the oil producing factory of the skin. This oil forms a natural protective film over the length of hair, keeping it soft, shiny and supple.

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What are the different layers of hair?

Each hair is made up of three layers: the cuticle or the outermost layer, which has tiny overlapping transparent scales. When the scales lie flat against each other ,the hair appears shiny, but when the scales are lifted, hair seems rough and dull. Conditioning rinses help to keep the scales positioned correctly, giving it a smooth and shiny appearance.

The cuticle of the hair is selectively porous. This porosity varies along the length of the hair, the youngest bit near the scalp being the least porous. Also oily hair is less porous than dry hair. The porous nature of hair allows for the penetration of chemicals. The agents used in bleaches, tints and perms capitalise on this nature of the hair – the chemicals used are quickly absorbed and bring about the necessary changes in colour and curliness.

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The cortex or middle layer of hair contains the colour pigments granules. The colour off hair depends on the number, size and distribution of the pigment granules in the cortex and also on the nature of pigment present. Colourants and bleaches work by penetrating the cuticle so that the colour is added to or subtracted from the cortex. The innermost layer is the medulla; it is absent in very fine hair.

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