To anyone, hair is important. It can physically define you, whatever hairstyle you are sporting. However, it often gets less or more than the treatment it deserves, that it ends up damaged.
However, it may also be due to the lack of knowledge. More often than not, people will just use anything that they think can help deal with their hair. But did you know hair products and treatment will often work with specific hair types only? When you use products that are not suitable for your hair type, they can cause more damage than it shouldn’t have.
Having proper knowledge of your hair from the hair experts or even from the available sources online will give you the know-how to improve and maintain your hair. Here are some of the most vital information you need to give the care it deserves.
Everything About the Hair
The hair is made up of keratin, a type of fibrous protein. Keratin contains these essential elements: sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen.
There are three types of body hairs. These are vellus, which is the colorless hairs forming on the surface of the skin), intermediate hair or (the hair in the pubus and axillary regions that grow largely because of your rising hormone levels and the terminal hair, which is the hair that grows on your scalp.
The terminal hair, which will be mainly discussed in this article has several layers that wrap around the other. The innermost layer is called the medulla. The medulla then is covered by the second layer, which is the cortex. The cortex happens to be the thickest part of the hair. The latter is composed of hard keratin and melanocytes, which determine the color of your hair. The cuticle is the outermost layer, which consists of flattened cells that look like scales. The interrelationship of these parts will be very when it comes to treatment and self-care of your hair.
On a more microscopic level, the hair has more complex structures. A hair strand is being anchored to the scalp by the hair follicle. The hair bulb can be found deeply embedded inside the scalp. When a new hair strand grows, the cells multiply and continuously grow out from the hair shaft – the ones that we can see on the surface of the skin.
Now, one question you probably would ask at least one is why you need hair on the head in the first place. Aside from vanity and confidence, your hair can have multiple other roles. Scientifically, your hair is your body’s natural protection to keep your scalp away from the heat of the sun. Hair is also seen as a status symbol since early civilization. In ancient Egypt, pharaohs and their families prefer a particular hairstyle to show their social status. In both Christian and Sikh religion, the length of your hair was seen as a source of strength and power. Thus, elders and leaders maintain uncut manes for the longest time.
In the present, more and more people are seeing hair as a vital part to their overall aesthetic and fashion. People would color it according to their liking, or trim it according to the latest trend so that they can fit in the current ideals of the society.
Proper care for your hair should go beyond superficial reasons. Sometimes, people experience will experience unique concerns that had caused their hair to fall out, which might eventually lead to a medical disorder. Some of these health disorders include:
- the notorious alopecia areata (patches of hair loss with unknown cause);
- male baldness (on the crown or in the form of a receding hairline);
- folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles), and
- telogen effluvium (a sudden massive hair loss due to traumatic experiences such as childbirth).
Various Types of Head Hair
The kind of care that you do can do to their hair is more than just your hair’s current state and what things have you done. One critical factor to know if you are using the right kind of hair products that one should use according to hair type.
There are various hair types that one can observe based on genetics and ethnicity. Some people have naturally straight hair, which is characterized by smooth hair strands that drop past your hair length. Keeping your straight hair may have an aesthetic appeal, people who opt to have one sometimes tends to get their scalp and hair oilier than the other types of hair as the time passes. This is because the natural oils from the scalp can go the entire length of the shaft.
Moreover, the straight-hair type either has more or less volume. Some Asians prefer to have their hair straight with no curls. To address this issue, some opt to add curls between or and the end to create additional body.
Other people have naturally-wavy hair. The hair is usually shaped in the letter S. The variations of this type are in beachy, wavy strands and frizzy, spiral curls. While this type will rarely make your hair oily because of how the hair strands are formed, your does not get dry easily either. The curls also give the hair a certain bounce, making it fuller.
Some people have curly hair that’s naturally tighter. They are characterized by ringlets of hair strands all over. This hair type is extremely frizzy, tightly drawn, and are shaped in loose coils when compared to the other types of hair.
The last type of hair is characterized by super tight cylindrical curls. A key difference from the former is that the hair maintains its tight curly shape even when wet. It also has a frizzy texture since the natural oil of the scalp reaches only an inch or two of the hair strands from the scalp.
To better determine your hair type, keep your hair free from any hair products first. Wash your hair with a mild, cleansing shampoo and let it air-dry. Once it dried, you can observe what hair type you have by simply taking a strand from your scalp for close examination.
Different Stages of Hair Growth in Human
An essential part of knowing how to take better care of your hair is by knowing your hair’s several stages of growth. This way, you’ll have an understanding of your hair’s health in case decide to take on a drastic haircut or hair treatment.
The hair undergoes three main stages of growth. The first one is called the Anagen phase. The Anagen phase is the primary growth period of the hair where it produces about 1.25 centimeter per month of growth for about 1.5 to 7 years. When it reaches 25 to 30 centimeters, however, it slows down to about half of its average growth rate. It then slows drastically when it reached 100 centimeters. Asians tend to have a 7-year Anagen phase, where by then they will already grow hair of up to a meter.
The Catagen phase immediately follows. It is when the hair stops its active growth. It also happens when the hair becomes detached with the skin from the base of the follicle. When it happens, the bulb begins to break down, which will result in the shortening of the follicle itself. However, a small section of the root remains in contact with the papilla, which will still provide hope for future hair to grow. This phase lasts about 10-14 days.
The final phase is the Telogen phase when the hair finally falls out of its place. It happens due to the follicles taking a rest for about 3 to 4 months following the active catagen phase. Each strand of hair has its own pace and rate of Telogen, which is why the hair does not fall out all at once. About 13% of the hair falls out at any given time. After this phase, a new active growth phase will occur.
Note that the rate of growth of each phase depends on several factors such as nutrition, metabolism, and illness. When someone has a metabolic imbalance, hair loss and hair thinning usually occurs due to lack of supply of proper nutrients. Understanding the phases being undergone by the hair helps one determine possible interventions they might do when dealing with problems, and whether you need to consult a specialist if all else fails.
Not everyone has the same type of hair. As such, your hair may have its peculiarities, as well as needs and demands to make sure that it is in tip-top shape. For example, some people who have naturally straight may require more hair washing or will need to use cleansing products to oily and sticky. Those who have curly hair may require less washing and would have to use products that would moisturize the hair, particularly at the ends.
If your hair grows slower than usual, your understanding of the phases of growth. –Knowing the amount of time your hair undergoes from Anagen to Telogen can help you determine certain products that you can add in stimulate hair growth.
At the end of the day, you need to pay attention to your overall health. Your body reacts when it does not have the enough nutrition that it deserves. Not only does it prevent the growth of hair, but it also disrupts the hair cycle, which could slow down hair growth or disrupt the hair cycle. If that would be the case, it is always necessary to consult hair experts about it.