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Hair 101

John Simmonds

Posted on January 12 2018

Hair 101

Real Beauty Emanates from Within. 

It's probably not the first time that you've heard this, but what does it actually mean?   

Well it's open to interpretation up to a certain point, but in terms of our perception of beauty, if you are healthy and happy, then you are more than halfway to being beautiful – beware of being sucked into “traditional standards of beauty” because these are just values thrust upon us in order to establish conformity and if we don't conform, to make us feel bad about ourselves. 

It is important, when visualizing ourselves as the best possible version of us, that we are realistic. Happy people are more attractive than unhappy people. Natural-looking people are more attractive than unnatural-looking people.  

Have you ever seen a movie star face to face? If you have, then chances are you'll understand what I'm saying. Typically they are very different in person than on the big screen, and having worked on the Red Carpet at the Oscars, I have to tell you that I was shocked at how different the stars can look face-to-face.

The hair is not only an indicator of youth but also health. If you don't take care of your body, your hair is going to suffer. It is important  how we apply ourselves to getting in the best shape possible, in order for our hair to indicate that we are healthy inside, and as a result, we start to shine.

First of all here are some statistics that are important in understanding where we are on the timeline of hair.

  • Around fifty percent of men suffer from some degree of male pattern baldness by age fifty
  • Around twenty million women have significant hair loss at some point in their lives  
  • Millions of men have taken prescription medications to prevent or reduce hair loss  
  • Approximately 100,000 men have hair transplants every year  

Loss of hair density, mass and individual hair diameter, giving the impression of “thinning hair” is common among men and women in their 40's and later.   

Hair is Dead. 

Surprisingly not too many people are familiar with this fact, and to think that we spend many hours each week, prodding, primping, coloring, cutting, twisting, curling, and let's face it, obsessing over something that is absloutely 100% dead.   

Despite this, our hair can respond quite well to this, but in time, these methods take their toll.   

Hair is technically part of our skin, although like fingernails and toenails, it grows and separates from our skin. The average head contains around 100,000 hair follicles, and our entire body is home to around 5 million hair follicles. What keeps hair growing happens below the surface of the skin.  

Hair grows about 1⁄2 inch a month and grows to a length of 1.5 to 3 feet before growth stops and the hair falls out.  

Types Of Hair. 

Although it appears that many Caucasians have thinner hair than other ethnicities, Caucasians actually have the highest number of hairs on their heads, an average of two hundred hairs per square centimeter. 
Asians have the thickest hair, which makes it appear as though they have more hairs on their head, but they don't: they average about one hundred and fifty hairs per square centimeter. 

People of African descent have the thinnest and the finest hair, but because it mats together more than Caucasian or Asian hair, it appears thicker. African hair averages a hundred and thirty hairs per square centimeter.   

It’s your parents' fault that you have no hair. The overwhelming majority of men with balding fall into the genetic category. Female genetic balding occurs much less frequently, but up to 50 percent of women have hair loss related to their inherited genes. 

Diseases

A number of diseases as well as hormonal influences, including  thyroid disease  and  anemia, cause hair loss.  Autoimmune disease  also can cause patchy hair loss. 

Mechanical hair loss  is caused by external forces such as tight braiding, rubber banding, turbans, or other hair torture devices that put stress and strain on your hair.   


Hair Loss 


Stress can contribute to hair loss and more so in those who are genetically predisposed to it (thanks parents!) 

Medications like anabolic steroids, birth control pills, antidepressants, and tranquilizers, can cause hair loss. I think that it's a rule of thumb that when you put something inorganic or unnatural in your body, there's going to be a tax to pay. In this case it's your hair. 


These days hair (and beauty) is a major status symbol; you can find gazillions of products devoted to hair care, which only emphasize the problem for those experiencing hair loss. Many men now have their hair styled rather than just getting it cut at a local barber shop. Television and the media give the impression that a full head of luxurious hair is the norm, suggesting that those who are losing it are somehow abnormal.  


Hair Loss in Women 
 

Women lose hair, but not in the same ways as men do. Yet severe hair loss tends to be even more devastating to women than it is to men. Hair loss may be a serious blow to a woman’s self-esteem, in large part because of cultural norms, society’s concept of femininity, and the expectation that a woman should have glossy, luxurious, wellkept hair. We know that because the magazines we read tell us just that.   

As much as half of all women suffer from hair loss at some time in their lives. Women’s hair loss tends to differ from men’s hair loss both in cause and in the way the hair is affected. Women’s hair loss is generally widespread, with thinning all over the scalp rather than loss in certain areas; rarely do you see women whose hair loss looks like typical male pattern baldness.   

Prevention 

  • If you’re starting to lose your hair, it’s important to take care of the hair you still have. Here are a few pointers in that direction. 
  • Backcombing your hair damages the hair shaft – don't do it.   
  • Don’t rub your hair dry with a towel.   
  • Don’t over dry your hair with a blow dryer; stop before your hair is completely dry.   
  • Select the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. 

We have already addressed the fact that our hair is dead. So what do we do to prolong its healthy appearance?

The bonds that help hold hair in a certain position can be broken or rearranged, such as when hair is permed or straightened. There are three types of bonds that determine the strength and the lift of the hair:   

Hydrogen bonds break down easily and give hair its flexibility. Hydrogen bonds come apart when you wet your hair and come back together again as your hair dries.   

Salt bonds are temporary and easy to rearrange because they’re water-dependent and easily dissolved when your hair is washed. Salt bonds are easily broken by weak alkaline products like ammonia or acid solutions that contain chlorine or copper peptide in high concentration and by changes in pH. These bonds can be reformed by normalizing the pH level of the hair with normalizing solutions available at your local hair salons.   

Disulfide bonds are relatively permanent and can only be changed with perming and relaxing agents. Disulphide bonds are stronger than hydrogen and salt bonds, and there are fewer of them than the other types. Disulfide bonds are the most important factors in supplying the hair with its strength and durability, and as such, they can’t be broken by heat or water.   

Did you know that wet hair can be stretched by as much as 30 percent, and you can change the shape of the hair bonds when it’s stretched? For example, when you put rollers on your wet hair and then allow the hair to dry on the rollers, the hydrogen bonds take on the shape of the rollers, which essentially sets the hydrogen bonds in this new shape.