Jan 3, 2012

All About Hair

All About Hair.
Article first published as All About Hair on Technorati.

Hair, a part of our body, has a lot of amazing facts to tell. Want to hear its tale? Read on.

What Hair is made of? 
Hair is made of keratin a kind of protein that also makes up our nails.

What Hair Does for Us
  • Our body is covered all over in hair (all 5 millions of them!) except the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet, the mucous membranes (which cover the insides of our body organs), and lips. Good thing only the hair on top of our head can grow long. Imagine if every hair on our body were as long as our head hair!
  • Hair's most important function is for show, of course. We color it, perm it, trim, style it, adorn it with pins and ribbons-whatever it takes to make us look good. But hair in general is more than just an accessory. Take eyebrows and eyelashes for instance. They help filter dust so that our eyes can see better. Nose hair, besides to filter dust from the air we breathe, is also needed to warm the air before entering our body.
Hair Grows
  • Hair is physically dead; what we see as a strand of hair is actually a chain of dead keratin cells. Keratin is produced inside the hair follicles-mini sacs under the outer layer of our skin (epidermis). When new keratin cells are produced, the old ones are pushed out and through the skin, causing the hair to “grow” longer.
  • Hair (or rather, the follicles) is the second fastest growing organ in human body after the bone marrow. The hair on our head can grow at a rate of 1.25 cm per month.
  • Ever wonder why your hair can't get longer after reaching a certain length although you never cut it? It's because a single strand of hair usually grows up to a maximum of 70 to 90 cm stays on our head for two to seven years before it falls out.
Why Hair Colors and Textures Differ
  • The natural color and type of our hair depend on our genes. The percentage of natural coloring (pigments) determines whether we have blond, red, brown, or black hair.
  • The coloring also determines hew much hair we have on our head. Blond has the most hair: 120.000. Brown and black have about 100.000, while red has 80,000.
  • As a person gets old, the pigments in his/her hair follicles die, resulting in white or grey hair.
  • Why do some people have kinky hair, some others wavy, still others straight? Apparently this depends on the shape of the follicles, which is also ethnic-gene-related. People with round follicles have straight hair, while those with oval follicles have wavy hair. Africans, with almost flat follicles, have kinky hair.
  • Sometimes the shape of follicles changes because of growth or illnesses. That's why sometimes people who had straight hair as i child have kinky hair as adults.
  • What Our Hair Says About Us
  • Hair can tell a lot of things the person. It can tell us what the person eats, what ethnic group he/she belongs to, even-to a certain extent-his/her lifestyles. A person’s hair can tell if he/she smokes, takes drugs, or drinks.
  • The one thing hair can’t tell is whether the owner is male of female.
Fact or fiction?
Hair and nails keep growing for some time after a person dies, Fiction. When a person-dies, the flesh shrinks because of dehydration. This gives the appearance of longer hair and nails (Now that's rather gruesome, don't you think?)

We lose about 100 hairs every day. Fact. Hair goes through a cycle where it must die and fall. But don't worry; you won't go bald like Homer here because new hair will replace it. In fact, you would have to lose 50% of your hair before people notice it.

Hair is very strong. Fact. Healthy hair is as strong as aluminum. Woven into a rope, it supposedly can support a suspended weight of about 2000 pounds, as often featured in circuses (But boy, would it hurt!)
The more often you trim your hair, the faster it will grow. Fiction. Hair grows according to a more or less fixed pace, 1.25 cm a month. So trimming it more often won't make it grow 4 cm in a month. This also applies to the myth that hair grows faster in warm weather.
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