How Does Hair get Curly

a man's curly hair

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Many textbooks claim that the shape of the hair shaft and follicle determines whether or not hair is straight or curly. However the secret of natural curl formation actually lies in cell division in the dermal papilla of the hair.

If you think of the base of a hair follicle as a circular clock with all the cells at each number dividing at the same rate, the resulting hair produced will be straight. But what happens if the cells at 3 o’clock begin to divide faster than the rest of the cells? The hair would not grow straight but lean towards 9 o’ clock. If the cell division at 3 o’clock then slowed down while the cell division at 9 o’clock increased the hair would now lean towards 3 o’clock.

A natural curl is formed according to this cyclical theory of hair growth. The degree of curl depends on how quickly this uneven rate of cell division shifts from one side of the germinal matrix of the papilla to the other.

 

Hair Analysis

 

The condition of your hair may say nothing about the state of your body’s health. (According to the American Medical Association’s Committee on Cutaneous Health and Cosmetics). Despite claims touting the value of hair analysis as the latest diagnostic tool, the Committee reports that hair composition is affected by many factors including age, sex, season of the year, its natural color, dyes and even shampoos.

Hair analysis isn’t a reliable measure for vitamin deficiency because there are no vitamins in hair except at the roots below the skin’s surface. Minerals are found in hair but measuring them isn’t of much use. Normal ranges for minerals in hair haven’t yet been determined.

Dr. Michael Hambridge of the University of Colorado suggests that hair samples might be of some help in detecting levels of heavy metals in the environment. However individual samples would disclose little about its owner’s health.

However Dr. Bertram Spilker, (of the U.S. Government) sent samples of hair from healthy young men to three different commercial hair analysis laboratories and found results from these labs varied widely.

The American Medical Association says consumers should regard with suspicion any practitioner who uses hair analysis as a prime method for detecting disease or nutritional deficiencies.

 

Are There Any Special Vitamins and Minerals For Your Hair?

 

Certain vitamins and minerals are supposed to make your hair healthy and make it grow faster. But what are the scientific facts? When we talk about healthy hair and vitamins we are really talking about the influence our diet has on our hair. The nutrients that come to mind first are vitamins and minerals. We assume that vitamin deficiencies result in thinning and slow growing hair whereas adding vitamins to one’s diet results in thicker and faster growing hair.

However the experts identify protein as the most important factor in hair growth and thickness. This makes perfect sense when you consider that hair is 97% protein. Hair growth can slow down and the texture of your hair can change when your diet is severely deficient in protein and when your body does not get sufficient calories and omega-3 fatty acids.

People who are on very low calorie diets for long periods of time often suffer from hair loss and a change in hair texture. The body uses what little protein it has to keep the more important parts of the body functioning leaving very little protein for hair growth. Adding more vitamins and minerals will not have any influence on the growth or the health of your hair.

The length, thickness and amount of hair you have are all determined by your genes. That also includes male pattern baldness which is a hereditary form of hair loss.

 

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