What Is Hair Made Of?

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The best kind of questions are often the ones you didn’t even know you wanted to ask. One of those questions is certainly – what is hair made of? Have you ever thought about it? Hair plays such an important role in our life and yet most of us don’t even know what it’s made of. So, in order to rectify this injustice, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to research the subject and bring you a definitive answer you never knew you needed. So, let’s get right into it and learn more about hair, its structure, role, types, and so on. Let’s start.

What Is Hair Made Of?

Hair is made of a strong protein called keratin. You’ve probably heard that name in one of the million shampoo commercials going around. The three main parts of a hair are the bulb, root, and shaft. The bulb is located deep inside the hair follicle (that tiny cavity from where hair emerges) and is responsible for the creation of new hair cells. It extends into the root, which is a part of the hair located under the skin. The part that emerges eventually is called the shaft and constitutes what we generally call hair. Another important part that is connected to the root is the oil gland, which protects both the skin and the hair. One quite interesting thing you probably didn’t know is that every hair on your body is connected to a tiny muscle called arrector pili. It is responsible for goosebumps.

Hair Structure

We’ve already mentioned that the hair itself is made up of keratin. Hair cells are created in the bulb thanks to the nutrients that come through the dermal papilla. This is where the blood connects to the bulb. These newly-formed cells then travel through the root, change, grow and ultimately lose their nucleus once they reach the surface. At this point, the cells are dead and exist merely as hair proteins. It’s interesting to note that most hair shafts consist of three layers. The blonde and fine hairs usually don’t have this central part called medulla. It consists of some round cells and most scientists still don’t know if it has a specific function.

Role of Hair

Hair has numerous important roles and here are just some of them. First of all, there’s the heat regulation. Although the human species has evolved and outgrown the use of full body hair, we still kept a thick layer of it on our heads and other important parts of the body. The muscle we’ve mentioned earlier called arrector pili also protects from called by creating tiny, heat preserving pockets under the hair. On the other hand, when the body overheats, the hair follicles release sweat and cool the body down. Besides this, hair also improves the sense of touch as all hairs are connected to sensory receptors on the skin. Of course, hair also has a protective function, though it is less evident. Eyebrows, eyelashes, nostril, and ear hairs all protect our organs from the outside debris while facial hair generally protects the skin and prevents irritation.

Common Hair Problems

Now that you know a little bit more about hair, it’s time to analyze some of the most common hair problems and check out causes. Dandruff is certainly the number one problem people have. It’s generally harmless but often annoying and embarrassing. One of the main causes is dry skin and pretty much any commercial shampoo can cure this. Another common problem that people (mostly men) encounter at a certain point in their lives is the problem of hair loss. The causes for this can be genetics, lifestyle, diet, and sometimes simply old age. On the other hand, women often have to deal with split hairs, which happen because of excessive brushing, ironing, perming, etc. Generally, though, your hair tends to reflect your lifestyle and its health mostly depends on your own health.

The next time your friends ask you – what is hair made of? – make sure you refer them to this article.