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La Moda

Hair & Beauty Salon

 You are here: Hair Structure

Image of Hair Structure
PLEASE NOTE: The information given on this site is for general information only. It should not be considered as medical advice. As with all physical and medical conditions you should always consult your doctor or health care professional.

This is where it gets really technical!

Hair consists of three layers:

1. The Cuticle - the outside protective layer of the hair shaft. When the hair shaft becomes damaged the scales no longer lie flat. Instead they protrude at acute angles. The hair then becomes porous, brittle and loses its shine.
2. The Cortex - composed mainly of the protein Keratin providing strength and elasticity to the hair shaft. It is also responsible for the colour (pigmentation), shape and texture of hair.
3. The Medulla - the innermost core of each hair. It is formed of round cells in a honeycomb formation, which gives the hair its structure.


The hair structure - there are two main divisions of the hair system,,the root and the hair shaft.

The Root - Every single hair has its own Follicle and Papilla. The hair follicle is in a tiny tubular indentation in the skin, which holds the bulb.

The Papilla - is a small clump of tissues at the base of the follicle. It is the entry point for micro blood vessels, which provide nutrients for the growth of hair.

The Hair Bulb - lies just above the Papilla. The Papilla signals the hair bulb to migrate cells downward into the Papilla, promoting cell division and is responsible for hair growth (cell reproduction).

The Sebaceous Gland ­ is attached to each hair follicle and produces an oily substance called Sebum, the hairs essential lubricant. It is also a waste product containing fatty acids and other chemicals that can be damaging to the hair and scalp, if a clean healthy scalp is not maintained.

Image of Hair Structure

Hair growth is at its most productive cycle between puberty and the mid-twenties. As we grow more mature the growth cycle gradually slows down. The cycle passes through 3 distinctive phases and then, in normal circumstances after a short unproductive period repeats over again.

The three phases of the hair growth life cycle are as follows:
1. Anagen or growth phase
2. Catogen or intermediate phase
3. Telogen or resting phase

Hair Fallout - is perfectly normal. The typical adult loses about 70­100 hairs a day. These usually grow back unless certain factors conspire to shut down the hair follicle thus severely affecting healthy hair regeneration.


Hair thinning and hair loss are related conditions. However the two are different even if hair does not fall out. After our mid-twenties our hair follicles and scalp receive less nourishment. A gradual decline begins as the hair becomes weaker, thinner, duller and more prone to damage. In fact, normally both men and women's hair loses about 5% of its thickness from age 20­50 and another 15% from 50­80.

THE COMPLEX PROBLEM - Causes of Hair Loss

The most common form or hair loss in men is Male Pattern Baldness (M P B) or Androgenic Alopecia. This condition is aggravated by and dependant on age, hereditary and hormone levels. In addition there are several factors that can cause hair thinning and hair loss among men and women, many of which are related to living in today's modern world.

1. Diet deficiencies - The general health, vigor and strength of hair is diminished if an unbalanced nutritional intake is maintained.
2. Stress - The emotional strains of living in today's complex world. Such conditions affect the vascular system thus reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the hair cells.
3. Physical and Chemical Trauma - Aggressive cleansing agents, mechanical damage (blow drying, perming), excessive use of colouring agents, sprays and styling aids.
4. Pollutants and Environmental factors - Pollutants and chemicals found in our air, water and even foods could cause problems. One major culprit is the sun. Prolonged exposure dries out the hair and disrupts the cells of the cuticle causing the hair, if untreated, to become brittle and prone to breakage.
5. Drugs and Certain Medications - Anti­depressants, Amphetamines, Hormones, anti­coagulants and drug prescriptions for heart disease and high blood pressure can affect the hair's growth cycle.
6. Sebum ­ A Common Problem for Men and Women. Sebum is an oily waste by­product that consists of fatty acids that are potentially damaging to the hair and scalp because of is acidic nature. Dandruff, scalp irritations and poor hair condition can be the result of sebum problems. When sebum is discharged in above normal quantities, it tends to accumulate in the hair follicles where it attracts bacteria and fungus. If this condition is not rectified it may cause detrimental effects such as the weakening of hair shafts and irritation of particular scalp areas.

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