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THE HAIRY APE: FACTS ABOUT OUR HAIR


Almost everyone has hair of some type and in some quantity on their body. There are medical and anthropological exceptions, such as albinos, those experiencing disease symptoms, injury, genetic anomalies, etc. So man and woman practically since the beginning of time have diligently pursued the arranging, coiffing, shaping, enhancing, and removing of hair. What is it and why are we so involved with this seeming appendage that the majority of us spend some time attending to it’s appearance on a weekly or daily basis?

In addition to our human hair physiology, there are a few different basic hair types. These have changed over thousands of years due to the movement and gradual blending of populations and more recently to our ever-increasing devotion to fashion for straightening, coloring, curling or otherwise altering our hair.

Parts Is Parts
The first step is to understand the components of human hair. Hair has two separate parts: the follicle and the hair shaft. The follicle lies below the scalp and it produces the hair shaft (strand) that you notice growing from your skin’s epidermis layer. The hair shaft is not alive – it’s made of delicate and dead cells that have no regenerative properties.



The sac of skin tissue, which has a bulb at the bottom and lies buried somewhat deeply in the skin is the hair follicle. The sebaceous gland, gives hair its shine by producing a natural lubricant called sebum, is attached to the follicle. The hair follicle is where the personal characteristics and thickness of the hair are decided: whether curly or straight, dry or oily, coarse or fine.

Hair comprises three basic layers: the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle. The medulla, the innermost core of the hair, is where the body and strength is determined. The cortex, being the largest, is the middle layer. It offers strength to the hair shaft, and determines the color, texture and elasticity. The cuticle protects hair from the environment by forming a tightly packed layer of protective scales that overlap each other.

Hair: A Growth Industry
The hairs on the head grow by about one centimeter per month and reach a length of around 70 centimeters if they are not cut. Each hair grows for four to seven years, after which it enters a “resting phase,” and then falls out. A new hair begins growing in its place between three weeks and three months later. At any one time, 85 percent of hair is growing and 15 percent is resting. Hair grows at a faster rate in the spring and summer than in autumn and winter.



Other hair on the body grows at different rates. Here’s some average hair length and growth rates per day on different body areas:

  • Hairs on the head - 70cm / 0.35mm
  • Eyebrows - 22cm / 0.15mm
  • Mustaches, beards or whiskers - 28cm / 0.4mm
  • Armpit hairs - 30cm / 0.3mm
  • Pubic hairs -35cm / 0.2mm
Whatever our hair length, type, or location is, we all strive to become as well-groomed as possible. Unfortunately for some of us, the location, color and density of our hair draw unwanted attention and this makes us uncomfortable. Armed with a knowledgeable approach and using professional treatment, targeted results can significantly improve our complexion, smooth appearance of arms and legs, and raise our personal comfort level for being in the public eye.
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