Anatomy of a Hair
Hair is made of strong elastic strands of protein called keratin. The sources of hair are very small tiny pockets in our skin and scalp known as follicles. These follicles are found together in groups of two to five each. Every follicle follows a life cycle of its own producing about six inches of hair a year for as long as four years before it falls out and then starts all over again after a short period.
The basal tip of the hair in the scalp is known as papilla which is a small out-growth of the skin shaped like a doorknob and lying at the tip of the follicle. The papilla contains the blood vessels to supply nourishment to the hair. During the active period the new cell growth pushes the older part of the hair away from the papilla until the hair falls out. It is the pattern of cell growth at the papilla which determines whether hair grow straight, wavy or curly. The growth pattern usually becomes uneven during the adolescence when the hair growth is at its peak. It declines as we grow older.
Though hair strands look as singular fibres, each hair is constructed in three different layers: the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla.
The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair which provides protection to the inner cortex layer. It is made up of flattened, hard, horny cells.
The cortex is the second layer of hair. The qualitative properties of strength, elasticity, pliability, direction and growth pattern, width and the texture of hair depend on the composition of the cortex.
It is the cortex which gives the hair its colour.
The medulla is the unimportant innermost layer which is composed of soft keratin. Medulla is often not present in some hair. Hair that lacks medulla is no worse than hair that has medulla.
Since ages, human hair is considered to be the epitome of beauty. However, there are more functions than the just looks:
Hair provides the most efficient means of protecting its immediate surface. The head is the closest to the radiation of the sun and experiences most of the bumps and falls of childhood to early teenage years.
The thousands of strands of hair act as shields; prevents germs, bacteria, insects and other undesirable microbes from directly invading the scalp.
One of the main channels of temperature change in the body is the head itself. Heat escapes easily through the head. With a full head of hair, the process of heat escape is retarded or gradually slowed down during cold winter months. Conversely during summer, hair acts like a roof over the head and keeps it cool.
A Healthy Hair
Some of the most common characteristics of healthy hair are:
- Thick and dense
- Fine and silky, not too oily or rough
- Lustre-filled, having a shine and gloss
- Pliable, capable of setting and styling
- Full-bodied and not limp or lank
Some common hair problems are as follows:
- Grey hair
For some people, grey hair is a distinguishing characteristic; for others, it is a reminder that they are getting older. Some people start to go grey young - as early as their teens. This condition is called premature greying of hair.
- Hair loss
The average person loses about 100 hairs each day. Losing excess hair can be a normal part of growing older, but if it falls at a very young age, then it’s a problem; and the most common of the hair loss in males is the male pattern baldness.
- Hair damage
Split ends and dry hair are just two of the possible outcomes of over-styling.
- Dry hair
Hair needs moisture and a certain amount of oil to keep it looking healthy. However, nowadays it is ‘in fashion’ thing not to oil the hair.
- Greasy hair
The scalp contains natural oil called sebum, which helps keep the skin lubricated. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sometimes these glands work overtime and produce too much oil, leading to a condition called seborrhoea or greasy scalp. Greasy hair can look dull, limp and lifeless and it may be more difficult to manage.
The age when greying begins is usually determined by your genes, so if your mother or father
became grey early, you may too. Smoking and certain vitamin deficiencies (particularly vitamin B12)
can also turn hair grey prematurely.
Blow drying, straightening, highlighting, use of chemical dyes and perming Washing it too often or
using a harsh shampoo
Excessive blow drying or use of a curling or straightening iron
Wind, dry air perms and dyes, chlorine in swimming pools
Poor nutrition and certain medications
An effective hair-care discipline involves cleansing, toning and conditioning routines carried out regularity. The purpose of cleansing is to wash away excess oil on hair and scalp and clear the hair follicles off the debris of non-exfoliated dead cells.
Cleanse through Jojoba
Jojoba is a natural plant derived liquid wax able to penetrate into your hair, pores and hair shaft rapidly to loosen and dissolve oil and waxy encrustation. You can use jojoba oil on its own to clean your scalp and hair, leaving them free to continue their normal function. Initially you may have to experiment with different amounts of jojoba oil to find the quantity that suits you. Depending on the condition of your scalp and hair, you may need one heaping tablespoon or more of jojoba.
Ingredients and tools
Jojoba oil and water
Two containers- small and big
- Warm up jojoba oil to body temperature by using a double boiler.
- Make a double boiler by placing a smaller container such as a metal or porcelain bowl into a bigger container. Pour hot water into the bigger container. Ensure hot water does not get into the smaller bowl.
- Preheat the metal bowl by pouring hot water into the bowl and then throw away the water when the bowl is hot.
- Place jojoba oil into the bowl. Cover for a few minutes to allow jojoba to warm up.
- Stir jojoba to ensure temperature is evenly distributed and apply on scalp and hair.
- Cover your scalp and hair with a plastic shower cap. Wrap a very warm towel around the head and wait for half an hour or more to allow jojoba to penetrate the hair shaft and dissolve build-ups. When the towel has cooled, put it in hot water again to warm up. Squeeze out excess water and wrap it around your head again.
- After half an hour remove towel and shower cap. Massage your scalp using gentle, circular motion. Start the massage along your hairline and work inwards in concentric circles.
- Follow up with a mild natural shampoo such as made of shikakai, ritha etc. Rinse with warm water and end with a cool rinse to close pores.
Cleanse through Lemon, Tea and Amla
Both amla (Indian gooseberry) and lemon juice are high in vitamin C. Green tea and amla contain tannin, which makes this solution astringent. All three ingredients are acidic and have powerful antioxidant properties.
Ingredients and tools
- Three table spoon green tea leaves powder (seeds or root of the plant are better cleaners)
- Two table spoon amla powder
- One table spoon of lemon juice
- Two liters of boiling hot water
- Steel or porcelain container
- Stick or long handle spoon for stirring
- Place powder ingredients in container.
- Pour in boiling hot water and allow steeping for 30 minutes or more and then straining out residues.
- Add in lemon juice and stir to mix.
- Wash your hair with this mixture for 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse the hair.
Cleanse through amla, shikakai and ritha
Shikakai is a herbal rejuvenating tonic for the hairs, while ritha is a natural soap and cleansing agent. Amla is rich in vitamin C and contains the astringent tannin.
Three table spoonamla
Two table spoonshikakai
One table spoonRitha (soapnut)
Mix the powder ingredients with water to make thick paste.
Wash your hair with body temperature water.
Apply the paste to whole scalp. Keep it for thirty minutes and then wash
Cleanse through Shikakai
This is quite beneficial to the hair that has not been oiled before wash. Some people like to mix shikakai powder and water into a watery muddy tea and immediately apply to wet hair. Others prefer to strain out the residue, which is the preferred method.
- Put 1 - 2 tablespoon of shikakai powder into a bowl.
- Pour in warm water and stir until the mixture looks like watery, muddy tea.
- Leave the mixture for at least an hour so that the nutrients and phytochemicals seeps out. Occasionally stir the mixture.
- Strain out the residues.
- Pour the remaining liquid into a squeeze bottle (not mandatory).
- Rinse your hair with clean water. Shake the bottle of shikakai tea until it foams.
- Divide your hair into vertical rows along the scalp. Starting from the back of the head, apply tea systematically along the length of each row. Squirt tea on your hair as well.
- Use a plastic shower cap to cover the head and hair after tea application is complete.
- Let the solution soak for about 10 - 15 minutes. Massage your scalp and wash off the solution with warm water followed by cool water.
Pubic hair is unique in amount, color and consistency. Some women as well as men let their pubic hair grow into a full coverage of the pubic area like their ancestors while others prefer to keep their hair trimmed. There are also women who choose to remove some or all of the pubic hair.
The genital hair removal industry is booming. It must have happened sometime in the last decade because the amount of time, energy, money and emotion both genders spend on removing every hair from their genitals is astronomical.
Shaving, waxing or removing your pubic hair is by no means permanent. As the hair starts to grow back, it can be very itchy and uncomfortable. Shaving of hair in under arm and pubic area do more harm than good as over a period during course of time, a very thin layer of epidermis is lost in such shaving which results in hardening of the skin there. Waxing and hair removal harm the skin permanently for temporary beautification. Long ago, surgeons figured out that shaving a body part prior to surgery actually increased, rather than decreased, surgical site infections.
Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a home for bacterial pathogens:
There is an increase in boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant.
It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair-follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals.
Cellulites (soft-tissue bacterial infection without abscess) of the scrotum, labia and penis are common as a result of spread of bacteria from shaving or from sexual contact with a partner's skin.
Freshly shaved pubic areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds being exposed to viruses carried by mouth or genitals.
It follows that there may be vulnerability to spread of other sexually transmitted infections as well.
Advantages of Pubic hair
Pubic hair do have a purpose, providing a cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury, protection from bacteria and other unwanted pathogens, and is the visible result of long-awaited adolescent hormones, certainly nothing to be ashamed of / or embarrassed about.
Pubic hair acts as a genital blanket of sorts. This seems plausible until you consider the location of male pubes, which really don’t keep the important bits all that cozy.
For females, genital tresses perform the same protective function that cilia do for the nose, and brows and lashes do for the eyes. Pubic hair keeps dust from entering the vagina.
Unlike hair on our head, armpit and thick pubic hair tend to show up during puberty, around the same time when our apocrine sweat glands become active and begin secreting an oily substance containing a variety of proteins and the like. These apocrine glands are, among a few other places, concentrated in our armpits and genitals only. Pubic and armpit hair usually begins to thin out significantly starting around when people hit their fifties, perhaps another indicator it’s all about finding a compatible mate.
It has been proved that the hair exists for the purpose of getting soaked in potent mate-attracting pheromones. This odourless secretion turns into a musky smell after various microbes have their way with it; a potential mate picks up the scent and uses it as an indicator to attract the opposites
Tools for Cleanses
- Comb and scissors or clippers
- New pivoting razor with multiple blades
- Shaving cream or gel
- Pre-shaving oil
- Shaving brush (optional)
- Cortizone cream if pubic area starts getting itchy
- Light, unscented moisturizer
Trimming by scissors is first choice. Sometimes when it becomes absolutely necessary for cosmetic, medical or conjugal reasons to clear pubic hair the following points should be considered:
- For this sensitive body zone, be sure to get and use a good shaving cream or gel / use of soap is definitely out.
- Stay clear of the straight, cheap disposables razors. Instead use a razor with a pivoting head and multiple blades to give you a smooth, close shave.
- Trim hair down first as short as possible by placing comb flat on the skin and trim over comb with scissors, or with clippers using the shortest guard. The less hair you start out with means less use of your razor.
- Take a warm shower or bath before shaving. The 5-10 minutes of the heat will soften skin and relax the hair follicle.
- Dab on some shaving oil. Working as a barrier on your skin, the razor will glide easier instead of dragging. It also helps prevent razor burn, general irritation and ingrown hairs.
- Using a fresh blade, first go in the same direction of hair growth and then in opposite direction. Don't go over the same area too many times.
- Rinse pubic area and pat dry with towel immediately after the shave.
- Keep all products on the outside of your body only.
- Avoid shaving during your period, as skin is more sensitive during those days.