Hair develops from the hair follicle and adds o the protective function of the body. Hair is present on the body prior to the birth developing soft, fine hair as ‘lanugo hair’. This hair is lost just before or shortly after birth and is replaced with ‘vellus hair’ and ‘Terminal hair’. The ‘Terminal hair. Is the coarse hair of the scalp, inside the ears, the eyebrows and eyelashes, underarm and pubic regions. Hormonal changes are responsible for the development of terminal hair from vellus hair, initiating stronger, coarser hair growth in certain areas of the body. Puberty changes hair growth in teenagers. Pregnancy can activate hair growth making it thicker in certain areas of the body i.e. abdomen. Menopause can activate male characteristic hair growth in women. Other factors which affect hair growth may include excessive stress levels, heredity and illness. Hairs on the head may last up to six years before falling out yet individual eyelashes fall out after only six months. The follicle produce one hair each, which is made up of three layers-the medulla (innermost layer), the cortex (keratinocytes and melanocytes) found in this layer determining the strength and colour of the hair, and the cuticle (outermost layer). Individual hair can grow upto half an inch a month. They have a growth cycle, which take them through three stages- A nagen the first stage of hair growth, Catagen the second stage of growth and Talogen the third stage of growth and the final phase of the cycle. The hair dries up and eventually falls out where fresh hair grows. The hair is made of a protein-base substance called Keratin. The chemical composition of hair is Carbon 50.56%, Hydrogen 6.38%, Nitrogen 17.14%, Sulphur 5.00% and Oxygen 20.85%. The rate of hair growth varies between ¼ to ½ inch per month and is always greater between the age of 20 and 30. It is faster in summer than in winter.
Problems of Hair: Severe hair problems may cause anguish. With increasing pollution and stress levels in lives, use of sub-standard cosmetics, incorrect methods of perming, straightening, hair dyeing and bleaching, combing, using heated rollers, dandruff etc. inevitable damage the hair. Dry brittle hair with split ends, thinning the hair, tight braiding and pony tails tend to pull out the hir roots. Badly damaged hair oftenly lead to hair diseases. One in every two women is affected by hair loss in varying degrees at some point or the other in human life, but it really shatter a woman’s confidence and self-esteem because her hair charm is linked to her femininity. Most women tend to think of hair loss as something which affects only men or perhaps post-menopausal women. It is untrue, severe hair loss is a problem that is striking more and more younger generation today. A certain amount of hair is shed daily. The average daily shedding is estimated 60 to 80 hair. The hair loss beyond this estimation indicates some scalp or hair problem. Scalp hair grows faster in women than in men. The average life of the hair ranges from two to four years or even more depending on the conditions. On the head of an adult woman with area about 420 square inches about 100,000 to 120,000 hairs exist. The colour of hairs on head whether it is fair, brown or black depends on the natural pigment of its cortical cells the melanin. An described above, the hair goes though three different phases in life-the Anagen phase, the Catagen phase and the Telogen phase. The growth of hair during Anagen phase upto six to seven years age has been observed at the rate of about one centimeter a month. Wide spread hair loss generally occurs during telogen phase oftenly due to prolonged illness and hormonal changes. The main factors which influence female baldness and thinning hair or age, genes and hormones. Heredity plays an important part affecting the growth, colour and texture of hair. The most common type of hair loss among males is andorgenetic hair loss which affects over 80 per cant of male as they get older. Baldness among women has been estimated in about 50 percent cases. Androgens or male hormones which usually shrink the hair follicle and shorten the hair growth cycle. The side effects of excessive Androgens in women include acne, excessive growth of hair on body (hirsutism) and thinning of hair on the scalp. There areseveral medical conditions, too, that can cause hair loss in men and women which include disorders of the thyroid or liver, anorexia, iron deficiency or diabetes, medicines for arthritis, hypertension, birth control pills, antibiotics, cholesterol lowering agents and steroids. The severe side effect during chemotherapy has been recorded causing upto 90 per cent hair loss. The acute falling of hair is generally caused by the high temperature fever. Effect of childbirth, cessation of breast feeding due to hormonal changes and delivery (caesarean section), serious operations or severe traumatism, exposure to x-rays, brain tumour/cancer and hormonal disorders. The chronic falling of hair is generally caused by the following reasons: Seborrhiec alopecia, pulling the hair tightly around hard curls during night, technical error in perming, serious illness, the effect of slimming diet and the medicines, deficiency of vitamins especially vitamin E, anemia conditions, shortage of iron in human body, mental tension, psychological stress and deficiency of nutrients in the diet. Premature graying of hair signifies some deficiency in the body such as polluted atmosphere, scorching heat, sultry climate, tension, enxiety, grief, disease, worry and frustration.
Condition affection the Hair:
Alopecia: baldness in circular patches on the scalp known as Alopecia Areata, or a total hair loss on the scalp is known as alopecia totalis. Total hair loss from the whole body is called Alopecia Universalis. Daily massage for 15 to 30 minutes. Apply carbonic snow (dry ice) which given an alternate cold and hot feeling. Dissolve few grains of potassium permanganate in water (or three cloves of garlic together with a pinch of collyrium) and apply on bald patches. If there is any irritation, smear butter over the patch.
Canities: grey or white hair due to lack of colour pigment with ageing.
Dandruff (Pityriasis Capitis): describes dry flakey scalp. Excessive secretion of the sebaceous glands. Massage scalp with pure apple juice (one part) mixed to warm water (three parts) three times a week. Rosemary infusion (5 tablespoon) and borax (a pinch) cure dandruff when massaged into the scalp daily. Dab with diluted cosmetic vinegar into the scalp, parting the hair at bed time.