Unlike other parts of our body, hair grows from the root of a hair follicle, a tiny, sac-like hole in our skin. Hair follicles contain special cells that divide non-stop and produce new strands of hair. Hair grows from this root, which is surrounded by a layered cuticle and bulb at the bottom. Genetics plays a significant role in determining your hair type and thickness.
While your hair contains many different components, its main ingredient is the protein keratin. Keratin is extremely strong and flexible, thanks to its unique helical structure. The molecules form lock-tight bonds, giving your hair a high level of strength and durability. Keratin is also water-insoluble, meaning that it is not easily damaged when wet. For this reason, it is important to wash your hair regularly and use a quality shampoo.
Curly and straight hair follicles are quite similar. In a cross-section, straight hair follicles are oval-shaped and curly follicles are curved with a secondary c-shaped curve at the bottom. While both types are derived from the same gene, there are also a variety of genetic variations associated with each of these types. Scientists continue to research the mechanisms that determine hair shape and length.
Humans have three different types of hair. First, there are terminal hairs and vellus hairs. The latter are darker and coarser. They occur on the head, armpits, and genital region. The lanugo hairs are only found on the head of a newborn baby. These hairs grow out in utero and shed between 36 and 40 weeks. As the vellus hairs develop, the latter will replace lanugo hairs.
Human hair is very important. It serves many purposes. It keeps the body warm, keeps the skin clean, protects our ears, and gives us a sense of touch that extends beyond our skin. Eyelashes and eyebrows serve a sensory function and help us to communicate non-verbally. They also protect our eyes from sweat and dust. Hair is very sensitive to movement. Its sensitive root plexus also gives us tactile feedback and alerts.
Ancient hairstyles have an important place in human history. The early manchus of central Manchuria wore a hairstyle known as the queue. Han Chinese men wore a similar style in the Qing dynasty. In early modern China, hair on the front of the head was shaved every ten days to mimic male-pattern baldness. Afterwards, they braided the hair into a long pigtail.
The body has many subcultures and each has its own hairstyle. Long hair is common among hippies, metalheads, Indian sadhus, and older indie kids. Punks, on the other hand, usually wear spiked or mohawk hair. Skinheads, meanwhile, have short-cropped heads or shaved heads. Younger indie kids commonly sport long, stylized bangs. For more information about the origins of these hairstyles, read on!