The knowledge of hair structure is the most important thing to understand in order to take care of it. The two main parts that form hair are the : Root and Stem.
The root is hidden in the scalp, then it widens up, forming the bulb and ends in the papilla, which is in charge of nurturing the hair fiber.
The stem (also called shaft), the visible part of the hair, is composed by the cuticle (keratin flakes), the peel (hard protein) where the pigment is located that provides color to hair, and the marrow, the part that gives texture to hair. Though it is dead cells that essentially form the stem, it still needs the care of shampoo, conditioners and repairing treatments.
Elasticity: When hair is wet, it stretches more than a half of its length.
Growth: Hair has the most prolific growth of any other body cell. As heat stimulates growth, hair grows faster in summer than in winter, around 5 inches per year. There are three steps in the growing process of each hair fiber and it has a limited life cycle. After six years hair falls out.
Quantity: Red headed people have less hair, around 90.000 but it is thick. Blonds have more quantity, around 150.000, but the hair is thinner. People with brown and brunette color are in the middle. Asians have more hair than any other ethnic group; Africans have a little less and Caucasians less than all of them. Blond people tend to have oily hair due to the most dense follicle pattern which secrets sebum. It is normal to lose between 50 to 100 hairs per day.
Color: Hair color depends on the pigment color (melanin), found in each hair fiber. There are four basic colors: Red, yellow, brown and black, human beings have a combination of them. Grey hair is really white hair, without melanin mixed with the original color.
Type:If the hair follicle is vertically implanted into the scalp, hair will grow straight. If it is implanted tilted hair will grow wavy or curly.
Diet: Hair and nails due to their fast growth rate indicate health changes. Hair growth starts in the hair papilla; it is a highly sensitive mechanism and one of the areas affected first by illnesses. A well-balanced nutritious diet is most important for good hair treatment. In many cases amino acid complements are beneficial.
Fashion: Hair deterioration is a result of following fashion trends. All chemical treatments harm hair more or less; avoiding them is the best advice.
Tight pulled hair: When hair is pulled tightly on a daily basis the roots are weakened and this causes hair loss in specific zones.
Environmental factors: UV rays, wind, chlorinated or salt water and smog may cause hair fiber deterioration, allowing weakening and hair breaking . That is why hair needs extra protection when it exposed to these types of aggressions, especially dark hair, which absorbs more UV rays than fair hair.
Whatever the nature of your hair may be, straight, curly, thick, fine, etc., it is always possible to improve its health giving shine and beauty to it.
The scalp is just as important as the hair. In fact, the health of the hair as a whole depends on its functional balance. If hair is kept clean, the sebaceous glands are normal and there is no flaking, the scalps' internal blood circulation will provide the sufficient substances for its´ nutrition. However even if hair is healthy, it needs special personalized regular care.
When hair is washed, the shampoo has to eliminate dust, perspiration, flakes, etc., and respond to specific hair problems such as: dandruff, seborrhea, hair loss, dryness, lack of shine, etc. The same thing happens with the cream rinse, apart from its´ dentangling qualities it also has to compensate for oil loss produced by shampoo usage and by the friction produced during the washing process.
The fundamental principle is that the shampoo and cream rinse and specific treatment needs to be selected based on each hair problem. It is the only way to show hair in all its´ splendor.
Both hair and scalp are one of the body areas which require especial care. Several factors can endanger them, and bring with it aesthetic problems. A viable solution implies a suitable treatment.
Reasons for hair loss
Several causes for hair loss exists.
1. Intrinsic Causes: hair is too dry or too greasy.
2. External Causes: mechanical loss caused by the aggressive action done during rough styling, potential aggressive treatments such as dying hair, coloring, bleaching or continuous perms, excessive wash with non appropriate or low quality shampoos, microbial affections.
3. Internal Causes: unbalanced diet in which there is an essential lack of nutrients, stress, hormonal disorders and hereditary factors.
Androgenic Alopecia is the most common cause for hair loss and it is suffered mostly by men. What happens is that there is an atrophy of hair growth, due to a hormonal dysfunction, hair ends up falling without being replaced by new hair. In “genetically predisposed” men (hereditary alopecia) the Anagenic Growth Phase is shortened, follicles are reduced generating thinner hair and the amount of visible hair is dramatically reduced.
The first sign of androgenic alopecia is the “frontal bone” receding hairline appearance at the implant level line. This process can be manifested by 5% of the 20 years-old men, while in 70 years-old men 80% of them suffer this affection. Hair from the lateral and occipital sizes of the head is usually kept. Statistically, from 40 years-old men, 5 out of 10 suffer alopecia in both sides of the scalp, and from men over 21 years-old 9 out of 10 suffer alopecia only in the receding hairline area.
It is common to lose from 100 to 120 hairs per day without indicating alopecia. Alopecia is the result of a “cyclic” hair growth dysfunction. This takes place in different situations and it is manifested by an important reducement in the lasting of the hair renewal cycle.
Alopecia: pathological hair loss.
Stages II, IIv and IIa: the frontal-temporal area shows a slight receding hairline with a decrease in its thickness and a tendency to become symmetric. It can be seen in IIv (Vertex) a minimal hair loss in the crown of the head.
Stages III, IIIv and IIIa: the amount of hair loss is minimum but it is considered as a first degree of baldness. In IIIv type, hair loss is more noticeable in the crown of the head.
Stages IV and Iva: baldness degree is considerably advanced. The recession in the frontal- temporal areas is clearly marked in the III degree. Hair thickness is reduced in the same way as the crown of the head.
Stages V and Va: the hair stripe that separates the crown of the head and the frontal- temporal areas starts to disappear. Advanced and generalized baldness is located deeply in both areas.
Stages VI and VII: the hair stripe that separates the crown of the head and the frontal-temporal area, disappears completely. Baldness expands laterally and to the back of the head. The VII type is the most advanced degree of baldness in which hair only exists in the back of the neck and the sideways of the head. Baldness keeps on growing until the hair follicles die; the process turns out to be irreversible. This is the reason why it is best to fight hair loss while follicles are still alive.
In a man scalp almost 100.000 to 150.000 hairs can emerge. Each hair is made up of a keratinized cell mass produced by a hair follicle. Each follicle has a sebaceous joined gland, also named as hair sebaceous follicle. Hair receives through the bulb an important vascularization which is responsible for the high nourishment contribution and makes hair thick and resistant.
Hair does not grow in a continuous and uninterrupted way. Hair follicle behaves in a different way than the other cellular structures as its activity is done while carrying out cycles and the necessary period of time to perform a cycle could vary. Growth cycle is divided into 3 phases or stages called: anagenic, catagenic and telogenic.
Anagenic Stage: this is the active or proliferation stage. It lasts between 3 to 7 years. It is at this stage that 90% of hair grows from 1 to 2 cm per month.
Catagenic Stage: it is a regression or involution of the follicle. It begins when the activity from the anagenic stage ends. It lasts from 3 to 4 weeks. Hair growth stops and the process of keratinization in the upper part of the bulb starts. 1% of the hair remains in this stage.
Telogenic Stage: it is a resting phase. It lasts from 3 to 4 months, pero según el gráfico serían meses). Inside the follicle we found the hair root turned into a keratinized mass. 9% of the hair remains at this stage, that is why it is considered normal to lose from 100 to 120 hairs per day.
In normal conditions, as this cycle is completed, hair starts growing again replacing the previous stage.
Dandruff is a frequent alteration that affects scalp and it is usually suffered by a high percentage of the population. It is related to an epidemic dysfunction, that, in spite of the fact of being annoying, involves a visual manifestation. This is not considered a pathology but could be the start of a possible seborrheic alopecia.
In normal conditions, a hardly noticeable release of the corneocits (epithelial cells) from the scalp surface is produced. When these cells generate dense aggregates and they are released, the aesthetic problem of dandruff starts.
Dandruff appearance mechanism is produced when the cellular releasing rhythm is altered and speeded up, turning out to be anomalous. The cells have not enough time to keratinized (replace its nucleous for keratine), and as a result its number is quadruplicated. Both the adhesion and the intercellular lipid spaces turn deficient in its structure, flaking increases and it becomes noticeable.
It is generally seen in the areas that have high concentration of sebaceous glands. Hypoactivity or hyperactivity (seborrhea) of these glands may speed up flaking, according to age and hormonal stimulation.
It is also known that the skin flora from the scalp can trigger these undesirable responses. There are certain migroorganism that belong to the Pityrosporum type that can transform sebaceous triglicerics into “free greasy acids” with an irritant action. These acids produce an alteration in the kinetics of the epidemic flaking.
Some other causes can increase the risk of both the appearance and proliferation of dandruff, such as stress, hormonal dysfunctions, skin problems (acne), climatic factors, environmental pollutioners, low quality hair products and hygiene, among others.
Considerations to take into account
In some dandruff treatments, after the first applications of the chosen products, dandruff production increases considerably. This is due to the fact that flaking increases according to the product effectiveness, which speeds up at first, the cellular release. This process is quickly stabilized and flaking is less noticeable making dandruff disappear. That is the reason why dandruff treatment should never be abruptly interrupted, especially after the first applications.
It is also not advisable rubbing or scrubbing scalp frequently with your hands, due to the fact that these actions will increase greasiness to hair. The abuse of “chemical treatments” such as perms, bleaching or straightening can alter the proteins structures that constitute hair, and be possible reasons for dandruff appearance.
It is advisable to rinse hair very well after washing, using other products that require rinsing as well. Good quality products which preserve hair physical state should be used. It is worth to mention, that a quiet lifestyle and a balanced diet will help to achieve success in dandruff treatments. A serious and effective treatment implies:
. Assurance of a NON-AGGRESSIVE and complete hygiene, which will eliminate the sebaceous secretions without taking the lipids away from hair. This is related with maintaining these secretions regular balanced.
. Eliminate all the possible microbiological agents that cause dandruff proliferation.
. Help the normal functioning and development of the scalp.
. Give hair back its natural health, aesthetic, and a manageable styling.
Hair can change its color frequently, without relating this process to pathological condition. In most cases, the inexorable passing of time, is manifested trough the appearance of grey hair.
Grey hair is usually associated with older age and is a clear manifestation of it but it has been shown that grey hair could appear at young ages. Statistically, at the age of 30 the first grey hair becomes visible, and 50% of the population has at least half of their hair grey when turning 50.
First, grey hair appears only in the sideburn areas, then the number increases and it becomes more noticeable on the sides of the laterals and the back of the neck, up to an advanced stage in which the head is covered by grey hair.
This is not an immediate process and it is related to the gradual decrease of certain cells known as “melanocytes”.
Melanocytes are located at the hair bulb level and have the function of synthesize two pigments that provide color to each hair. These pigments are called feo-melanine and eumelanine. The progressive and significant decrease of the melanocytes` number is inherent to each person (caused by many genetic factors) and it is responsible for the color loss of each hair fiber that eventually will turn into grey hair.