Our hair has a fascinating structure. Hair is made of a protein called keratin. An individual hair has two parts: the strand visible on the head is called the “shaft” and the area beneath the surface is called the “root”. The root of a hair is situated in an epidermal tube known as the hair follicle, embedded in either the dermis or the subcutaneous tissue. The hair bulb (matrix) forms the base of the hair follicle. In the hair bulb, living cells divide and grow to build the hair shaft. Blood vessels nourish the cells in the hair bulb and deliver hormones that modify hair growth and structure at different times of life. The number of follicles you have doesn’t change. People are born with about 100,000 to 150,000 scalp hair follicles, and this varies with natural hair colour. Due to the hair growth cycle, it is normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs per day, even up to 150 in some cases. If you have any concerns regarding your hair and scalp condition, consult your health professional.
Healthy hair is easy to spot as it has distinct characteristics. Healthy hair grows steadily, shows no signs of split ends, has a natural shine and strength, feels soft, and should be easy to brush. It is very strong and stretchy, allowing the hair to stretch approximately 5% of its length when dry and as much as 25 % when wet, while retaining the ability to return to its original length. Healthy hair does not require a daily conditioning treatment after shampooing. The scalp should be free of dandruff. Scalp health conditions may prevent healthy hair growth and cause abnormal hair loss. ecoNativa Intensive Hair & Scalp Care and NATIVA Hair Management are designed to activate and maintain natural physiological hair growth and restoration processes. The blends of natural ingredients have been developed as a natural hair treatment, aiming not just to maintain hair hygiene, but – more importantly – to restore the structure of the hair to its original healthy state using the power of nature.
Shaft – the part of the hair that we see. Each shaft (hair) strand is comprised of three layers:
- Cuticle (outer layer) – is a thin colourless layer composed of a protein called keratin. The layer plays a major role as a shield protecting the inner and middle layers of the hair strand. Cuticle composed of overlapping cells, like fish scales or roof tiles. It is healthy outer cuticle gives your hair shine, smooth and intact looking healthy hair. It critically important to keep away this layer from damaged by pollution, chemical processes and weathering as sun exposure, hairdressing treatments and inappropriate hair care products.
- Cortex (middle layer) – gives our hair its texture, colour and strength. The cortex is composed of twisted cable bundles of hard keratin which merge into one another. These keratin bundles are strong and stretchy which give an elasticity to the hair. Melanin, which gives the hair its colour, is found in this layer. The health of your cortex depends largely on the integrity of the cuticle protecting it.
- Medulla (inner layer) – is the innermost layer of the hair strand. It is made of spongy cellular tissue and in very fine hair might be absent altogether.
HAIR FOLLICLE STRUCTURE (simplified)
- The main function of the hair follicle is to produce the hair fiber which determines the form, shape and colour the hair takes. The fibers are coarse when they form the body hair or scalp hair. Hairs on our head are known as terminal hairs. The diameter of individual hair fibre varies from 0.05 to 0.09 millimetres.
- The dermal papilla is a mesenchymal condensation composed of specialised fibroblasts. The fibroblasts control the matrix cells and in this way determine the size of the hair. The Dermal papilla is responsible for hair re-growth. It divides and differentiates to give rise to a new hair. The health and well-being of dermal papilla one of the key factors to quality and appearance of the hair.
- Inner root sheath is the cell of the inner root sheath are interlocked with those of the cuticle of the hair, firmly anchoring the hair in the follicle. The inner root sheath must grow at the same rate as the hair, or faster as it moulds and guides the shaft in its passage outward. Consists of three concentric layers.
- Outer root sheath (ORS) surrounds the hair fiber and inner root sheath like a glove. The outer root sheath of the hair follicle is a reservoir of sebaceous glands. The cells of the outer root sheath also secrete keratins, adhesion molecule, cytokines and other growth factor receptors that help to regenerate and repair the epidermal layer after injury. The epithelial cells in the upper outer root sheath can restore ulcerated wounds.
- Sebaceous glands are microscopic exocrine glands in the skin that secrete an oily or waxy matter (a mixture of fats: triglycerides, wax esters, squalene, and cholesterol), called sebum. The sebum through the sebaceous duct connecting the gland to the hair follicle and lubricate and waterproof the skin and hair. Sebum is a natural hair conditioner. If you need extra conditioning after shampooing – it is a sign something is wrong with the hair.
- The bulge region a contiguous part of outer root sheath that provides the insertion point for arrector pili muscle and marks the bottom of the permanent portion of hair follicles. Hair follicle bulge region is a fascinating reservoir of epithelial stem cells. Hair follicles reconstitute themselves through the hair growth cycle, suggesting the presence of intrinsic stem cells. The stem cell properties regenerate not only hair follicles but also sebaceous glands and epidermis.
- The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
- The dermis is beneath the epidermis. The dermis contains blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, and glands that produce sweat, which helps regulate body temperature, and sebum, an oily substance that helps keep the skin from drying out. Sweat and sebum reach the skin’s surface through tiny openings in the skin that act as pores.
- The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of subcutaneous fat and connective tissue. The subcutaneous tissue layer acts as a passageway for the nerves and blood vessels from the dermis to the muscles and helps to protect the bones and muscles from damage. Also, it functions to help keep the body’s temperature stable.
HAIR GROWS CYCLE
Hair growth cycle is consisting of three phases:
- Anagen (growth phase): Most hair is growing at any given time. The anagen phase is the phase of active growth. Each hair spends 2–8 years (occasionally much longer) in this phase.
- Catagen (transitional phase): Over 2–3 weeks, hair growth slows and the hair follicle shrinks. The catagen phase marks follicular regression.
- Telogen (resting phase): Over around 3 months, hair growth stops and the old hair detaches from the hair follicle. A new hair begins the growth phase, pushing the old hair out.
Approximately 84% of scalp hairs are in the anagen phase, 1-2% are in the catagen phase, and 10-15% are in the telogen phase.
It is normal to lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day, even up to 150 in some cases. It is simply because of telogen phase.
Healthy cuticles lay flat and overlap each other densely like fish scales. Damaged cuticles lift away from the centre of the shaft exposing the cortex and the medulla to numerous harmful factors including heat, pollution, chemicals and friction. An exposed cortex and a medulla suffer from a rapid and continuous loss of moisture.
The signs of damaged cuticles manifest themselves through dry, brittle, dull, prone to breakage hair, which is difficult to comb without prior conditioning or even after it. Split ends are the last and the worst stage of the structural hair damage, where there are no healthy cuticles left to protect the delicate cortex. Cortex cannot heal itself resulting in hair breakage and subsequent loss if such damage is left untreated for a prolonged period.
A cuticle damage can occur: when care products unsuitable to a hair type are used; through exposure to chemical and heat treatments ranging from permanent wave solutions, bleaching and dyeing to regular heated styling with blow-dryers and straightening irons; through extensive use of hair styling products and incorrect brushing; through daily environmental pollution, weather conditions, UV rays, air conditioning/central heating; through poor diet and unbalanced pH.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HAIR & SCALP?
Incorporate into your daily routine a healthy dose of nourishment which helps maintain a health of your hair from roots to tips. ecoNativa Intensive Hair & Scalp Care and NATIVA Hair Management are hair and scalp external supplements that provide nutrition, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and act as a detox and a UV protection. Such hair nourishment is delivered in a form of 100% natural hair shampoo, tonic, conditioner, revitalising hair mask and styling gels, which may make a vivid difference to the look and feel of your hair.
MALE PATTERN BALDNESS
How common is male androgenic alopecia (male baldness)? Although most men rarely discuss the topic, those who suffer from hair loss are in general very unhappy with their situation. Hair loss can affect every aspect of their life. Some men began to experience the signs of androgenic alopecia before the age of 21. By the age of 35, 30-40% of men will experience thinning and notice a receding hairline. By age 50 nearly 85% of men experience some thinning or recessions, some to complete baldness.
The Norwood Male Pattern Baldness Classification System has become the professional standard used by most doctors to classify male pattern baldness. This method of classification includes seven categories of baldness with numerous sub-categories.
Type 1: Minimal hairline recession.
Type 2: Noticeable, typically symmetrical recessions of the hairline on both sides of the temples.
Type 3: Hair loss characterised by a deeply receding hairline near the temples.
Type 4: Hairline recession near the temples is significantly more pronounced than with Type 3, and the thinning or bald spot at the top of the head is also more pronounced. These areas are typically separated by a tract of normal-density hair running across the head and along both sides of the scalp.
Type 5: Hair on the front of the head is receding, and the distinction between the temples is less apparent. The circular patch of baldness on the top of the head is still separated by a strip of normal dense hair that runs from the front of the head to the temples, but it’s not as distinct.
Type 6: The band of hair stretching across the top front of the head has dwindled down to sparse, thin growth. A greater amount of hair loss connects the hair at the front temple region and the top of the head.
Type 7: This represents the highest degree of hair loss and is characterised by a thin, sparse strip of hair on the sides and back of the head. The nape of the neck presents some hair growth that forms a half-circle around the ears.
FEMALE PATTERN BALDNESS
Female baldness is more acceptable in men than woman in our society. Every woman becomes terrified facing any type of hair loss. Most of the woman are affected hair loss if there is a family history on the genes level. The hair loss may also cause by skin diseases that attack the hair follicles; hormonal changes such (high on testosterone or low on thyroid hormone), some medication like chemotherapy; extensive hair loss after a major surgery or pregnancy.
The Ludwig Scale classification (Savin Scale) separates female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia) into 3 unique stages.
Type I: hair loss is considered to be mild. Most women may have difficulty noticing that hair loss has occurred, as the frontal hairline remains relatively unaffected. Pic. I-1: the central parting of a woman with no hair loss is shown. However, hair loss may occur on the top and front of the scalp. Such hair loss may be noticeable when the hair is parted down the centre of the scalp, as more and more scalp will become visible over time as on Pic. I-2, I-3, I-4.
Type II: hair loss is considered moderate (Pic. II-1 and II-2). Women may notice each of the following: a general decrease in hair volume and a diffuse thinning of the hair over the top centre part of the scalp that continues to widen over time.
Type III: is the final and most extreme classification of female hair loss. This stage represents a woman with extensive diffuse hair loss on top of the scalp, but some hair does survive.
Advanced: represents a woman with extensive hair loss. Very few women ever reach this stage and if they do it is usually because they have a condition that causes significant, abnormally excessive androgen hormone production.This may be worsened by a number of factors, including hair miniaturisation.
Frontal: shows a pattern of hair loss that is described as “frontally accentuated”. That means there is more hair loss at the front and centre of the hair parting instead of just in the top middle of the scalp.
The scalp consists of five layers. The first three layers are tightly bound together and move as a unit.
- The Skin has three layers: the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin; the dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands. The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.
- Dense Connective tissue – connects the skin to the epicranial aponeurosis. It is richly vascularised and innervated. The blood vessels within the layer are highly adherent to the connective tissue. This renders them unable to constrict fully if lacerated – and so the scalp can be a site of profuse bleeding.
- Epicranial Aponeurosis – a thin, tendon-like structure that connects the occipitalis and frontalis muscles.
- Loose Areolar Connective Tissue – a thin connective tissue layer that separates the periosteum of the skull from the epicranial aponeurosis. It contains numerous blood vessels, including emissary veins which connect the veins of the scalp to the diploic veins and intracranial venous sinuses.
- Periosteum – the outer layer of the skull bones. It becomes continuous with the endosteum at the suture lines.