The worldwide hair care industry sector is expected to grow from $69 billion in 2016 to $87 billion in 2023. It comprises a wide variety of products such as shampoos, masks, conditioners, hair dyes, oils, and serums What’s more, consumers’ behavior has shifted towards organic, natural, and eco-friendly products. People are always searching for alcohol-free, hypo-allergenic, allergen-free, and skin-friendly hair care products. 

To help consumers look younger and enjoy healthy hair, these products focus on increasing volume, length, and shine. But how can you know what type of product is right for you? Before choosing your hair care products, check out this brief on the hair’s components and its growth stages. 

The Structure 

Hair has a complicated structure comprising two main components, respectively the hair’s follicle and its shaft. Hairs are made of a special protein called keratin, which is very strong. It’s also the protein, which forms nails. Like the other proteins in your body, keratin is made up of amino acids. These amino acids are linked together in strings. What’s more, the diameter size of a hair fiber is different from one person to another, but it usually ranges between 0.05 and 0.09 mm. And each hair sprouts through an indentation in the skin’s outer layer called the epidermis. 

The hair follicle is the active component of the hair. It’s a tight structure, which contains different cells and connecting tissue. At the base of the hair follicle is the papilla, which includes very small capillaries that feed the cells. Moreover, the follicle also comprises the germinal matrix. That’s where the cells develop new hairs. 

The bulb surrounds the germinal matrix and the papilla and the capillaries nourish it. It contains a variety of stem cells, which multiply every 3 days. That’s faster than any type of cells in your body. The bulb also comprises hormones, which determine hair growth and the structure throughout the various principal stages of life. 

Inner and outer casings surrounding the follicle to protect it and promote the shaft’s growth. The inner cover follows the hair’s shaft up to the sebaceous gland’s opening. And the outer sheath reaches the sebaceous gland. You’ll also find a small collection of muscle fibers attached to the outer casing When the tiny muscle contracts, the hair stands up. 

The sebaceous gland provides the body with sebum, which is like a natural conditioner. During puberty, the body produces high levels of sebum. Left untreated, excessive sebum can cause severe acne. But as you grow older, sebum quantities reduce and can cause very dry skin. 

The Hair Shaft 

The hair shaft is the part you can see. In fact, it’s the dead section of the hair. The shaft comprises three keratin layers such as the medulla, the cortex, and the cutide. The medulla is the innermost layer and it exists only in thick hair. The cortex is the middle section of the shaft and it contains keratin fibers. It’s responsible for the hair’s texture, color, and strength. Whereas the cuticle is the exterior layer of the shaft. It’s colorless and comprises 6-10 overlapping layers of cells, which protect the cortex 

The medulla is the supporting structure of the shaft, located in the center of the hair fiber. It doesn’t exist in all hairs on your body, but it’s found in the hair on your scalp. To understand the role of the medulla, you should picture a tree. In the center of the tree, you’ll find moisture, which is protected by a tough bark. But if the bark is stripped, the center is exposed, and the tree is damaged. The same happens with your hair. The medulla contains the shaft’s moisture and holds it. 

The cuticle together with other factors, adjust the moisture levels in the medulla. It also protects the medulla from various environmental factors such as 

sunlight, wind, and other pollution toxins. But when the cuticle is damaged, the medulla can’t maintain moisture and dehydration sets in. In addition to the damaged state, the medulla is more likely to break and become affected by harmful chemicals and environmental factors 

The cortex is the middle section of the hair’s shaft, which protects the medulla. It contains proteins, which are twisted like a telephone’s cord. For example, if you stretch a piece of hair, you’ll notice that it stretches before breaking. That’s because you’re straightening the twisted proteins. Once you release the hair, these proteins re-coil. Also, you’ll find that the pigments, which give your hair its natural color, are in the cortex, where they’re protected by the cuticle’s cells. 

When split ends occur, the cortex is in its worst state. Split ends result from severely damaged cuticles on the tip of your hair due to harsh chemicals, over-brushing, and excessive sun and water. Unfortunately, the only way to eliminate split ends is by trimming your hair. 

The cuticle is the outermost layer of your hair’s shaft. which protects both the cortex and the medulla. It comprises both overlapping and tiling cells. And a healthy cuticle gives hair a shiny and healthy appearance. On the other hand, if it’s damaged, your hair will become brittle and dull because the cortex’s cells may break. 

Strong chemical treatments, environmental factors, and hot temperature blow drying can severely damage your hair’s cuticle.

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