Human hair has long been seen as a symbolic part of the individual identity. It serves as a biological advertisement, a way to communicate who we are. It can also indicate our health and genetics. It is so important that it can even be reflected in ancient myths. Rapunzel’s tale, for example, can be read as a story about the power of hair to attract and connect. Samson’s tale, on the other hand, portrays hair as the source of mystical strength. Whatever your hair color or style, it has a meaning.
The shape of your hair determines its texture and appearance. A round cell produces wavy, curly hair, while an oval-shaped cell produces straighter hair. Hair shape and texture are highly determined by genetics, and they can change over your lifetime. You can check this by letting your hair air-dry for a day or two. If you’re not sure, you can always use a hair dryer to get a better idea of your hair texture.
Human hair is composed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur. The first layer is made of living cells, and the rest is dead. The outer layers are covered with dead cells. It is also made up of a protective barrier to keep us warm and dry. The outer layer of hair protects our eyes from dust and other particles, which can damage them. Depending on where it grows, human hair can have a range of functions. Hair on the head acts as a cushion for the skull, keeps us warm, and protects our eyes from sweat and particles.
Under a microscope, hair appears to be a tube-shaped structure. Hair shafts are made up of cells called follicles. Blood flow to these cells delivers essential elements necessary for healthy hair. One of the most important glands in the scalp produces sebum, which acts as a natural lubricant for the hair. The hair follicle is a complex network of vessels. It also contains pores, which are responsible for the evacuation of sweat.
When holding a single long hair in your fingers, the cuticle is surrounded by a thin layer of mesenchymal cells. The follicles are flexible and elastic, which makes hair growth possible. Stretching the hair causes it to “stand up” and trap air, which serves as insulation. Goose bumps are a manifestation of this muscle. When a frightened animal raises its fur, the hair will raise as well. It’s easy to identify goose bumps in heavy coats.
Each hair has three layers: a cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair shaft, and consists of flat cells that overlap. This layer protects the hair shaft and gives it shine. A medullary layer is not found in all hair, but it is present in most of them. The cuticle is a protective barrier, preventing water from penetrating the follicle.