Hair is an outgrowth found on mammals, including humans. It’s an important part of the human body and is deeply connected to a person psychologically too. Its functions range from:
● Protecting the skin from external factors like dust and UV rays.
● Production of sebum to moisturise itself.
● Impacts social interactions.
● Regulating the body’s temperature.
It’s a derivative of the uppermost layer of the skin (epidermis) and consists of three distinct parts, namely the bulb, follicle and shaft. Each hair strand is made up of proteins (keratin), calcium, zinc and iron, while it firmly anchors itself into the skin. At the base of each strand is the hair bulb which consists of living cells which keep multiplying for the growth of the hair shaft. Blood vessels deliver nutrients and hormones to cells enclosed in the hair bulb, which bring changes in the growth and structure of the shaft throughout a person’s life cycle. A hair follicle has an intermittent cycle of growth and rest period called the hair cycle. This cycle depends on various factors like age and nutritional habits. This cycle has three stages, explained as follows:
1. Anagen: This is the phase of growth. Most of our hair strands are in this phase of continuous growth and continue to be in it for several years.
2. Catagen: It’s the phase which changes the structure of the hair. Over a couple of weeks, hair growth slows and the follicles shrink.
3. Telogen: During this phase, the hair follicles enter a resting phase. The old strands get detached from the roots and fall. Then, after months, new strands emerge out which mark the beginning of a new growth phase.
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