Hair follicles

Hair FollicleSome have too much of it, others too little and some even don’t. Whatever the case may be, your body hardly ever gets it right. Either it’s in the wrong place or is absent. Hair, today, has become one of the most talked about topics. But few know what hair is made of.

Every individual strand of hair on our body, head and other places included, has two separate structures; the follicle, which is inside the skin, and the shaft, which we can see. Of the two, the follicle is more important since it is this structure, which defies the health of the shaft.

The follicle is a sock-like depression, which is an organ in itself. The organ contains within it several layers, majorly five, each with a separate function.

At the base of the follicle is a pear-shaped formation called papilla which contains blood vessels that feed the ‘living’ part of the hair. This part is alive and promotes growth. It is the largest part of the papilla and wraps around it like a bulb, and is thus quite simply, called the Bulb (root). Cells in the bulb divide faster than all the other cells in the body — every 24 to 72 hours.

Then there are two sheaths which surrounded the follicle. These protect and mould the hair shaft (the second structure which forms hair). The inner sheath ends below the opening of oil glands, which produce sebum — a natural conditioner. The outer sheath continues up to the oil gland and attaches with erector pili muscle, which are below the oil glands. The outer layer merges with the surface epidermis.

The hair which is seen above the surface epidermis is the shaft.