The evil grab hair loss at the root: For many a desire and for some the solution to a long-standing problem. But what exactly is the hair root? Which functions does she have and can she be packed so easily?
The structure of the hair from root to tip
Our hair is more complex than it looks at first glance. Of course, special importance is attached to the hair of the head but the texture and structure are identical for all body hairs.
- Skin and hair are made of keratin cells. The Keratinzellen verhornen and form the outer layer of the skin (the horny cell layer) and the scale-armored outer shell of the hair shaft (the cuticle). Horny layer and cuticle protect the underlying layers. Like the horny layer of the skin, the cuticle is exposed to all environmental influences, but can not be regenerated like the topmost skin layer.
- Under the horny cell layer are the epidermis layers. They support the keratinization process of the keratin cells.
- The basal layer separates the head and dermis (connective tissue) from each other. In addition, it is the germ layer for the keratin in the skin. The basal layer forms deep wrinkles / pockets into the dermis where the hair is located. These wrinkles are the so-called follicles that surround the hair root.
- The hair root is the part of the hair in the skin. The hair roots (bulbus) are highly active and go through alternating active phases and resting phases. In the resting phases, the hair falls out and then grows out of the germ cells again. The lower part of the hair root – the papilla – remains in the scalp for life.
- In the hair root sit the pigment cells of the hair. While the skin only contains the brown-black pigment eumelanin, hair cells additionally contain the pigment phaeomelanin. This reddish dye determines the mixing ratio with the eumelanin over the natural hair color.
- The hair shaft is the part of the hair that protrudes from the skin. The hair achieves its particular strength through the twisted structure of the individual fiber cells (keratofibrils) and through small sulfur bridges, which additionally crosslink the individual fibers. Similar to a thick rope, the hair ridge (cortex) is created, a tight fibrillar weave.
- A sebaceous gland discharges directly below the epidermis into the follicle. The sebum lubricates the skin and hair, keeps the keratin cells supple and protects against environmental influences.
Hair loss – morbid or natural?
Everybody loses hair – on average, it can be 100 per day without a pathological cause. The amount varies according to season, predisposition and stress and varies between 20 and 200 hairs per day.
In this natural hair loss the hair root is preserved! Only the hair shaft falls off. Partially at the lower end of the failed hair a small thickening can be recognized. This can have different causes:
- Remains of hair spray or other styling products
- The bulb – thickening at the transition from the hair shaft to the root – has been preserved.
In rare cases, thickening in hair loss can also indicate a fungal disease. This is easy to see under the microscope and can be diagnosed by the dermatologist.
Growth phases – this is the secret
Each hair undergoes three phases of growth:
- 1. The anagen phase (growth)In this phase, the hair root in the follicle from the hair papilla is re-formed and the hair shaft begins to grow. The phase lasts between two and six years. Nearly 90 percent of hair on average is in the anagen phase.
- 2. The catagen phase (transition)In the transition phase between growth and final phase is only a very small part of the hair. It lasts two to three weeks. During this time, the hair follicle shortens, the hair root stops its cell production and the upper part of the root (bulb) separates from the papilla.
- The telogen phase (final phase)In the final phase are just under 20 percent of the scalp hair. The hair follicle and papilla regenerate and the root begins again with cell division. A new hair is created. From the beginning of the renewal to the growth of the hair pass two to four months.
Hair in the telogen phase is completely painless, as the hair shaft has detached from the root. There is thus no connection to bloodstreams and nerve cells. All hair that usually breaks loose during combing or washing and during the day is in the telogen phase.
How long the individual phases last exactly and how fast the hair grows, is genetically determined. Care and health of the skin and hair therefore have only limited influence on hair length and natural hair loss. For the appearance of the hair, however, they play a major role, since the outer layer of the hair shaft can not regenerate and therefore relies on the careful handling.
If the hair loss is well above the usual level, it increases spontaneously or it is accompanied by side effects such as itching, in any case, a doctor should clarify the cause. Only then can the evil at the root pack!
Strong hair thanks to healthy hair roots
The best for the hair comes from the inside: The hair roots need extra energy and nutrients to function perfectly and to constantly produce new cells. Only then can the hair grow strong and healthy.
Of particular importance in addition to a sufficient supply of protein for a solid protein basis are various vitamins and trace nutrients:
- Vitamin A (Retinol)Retinol keeps the hair shaft supple and strengthens it against harmful environmental stimuli. Vitamin A is found in, for example, fish oil, dairy products, carrots, apricots and peppers.
- vitamin BThe body needs the various vitamins of the B complex, in particular to regulate sebum production and to activate the metabolic processes in the hair root. This prevents inflammation and keeps the scalp healthy. Vitamin B suppliers include meat, egg yolk, nuts, wheat germ and legumes.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)Vitamin C is needed in the blood to bind and transport iron. If the vitamin is missing, the iron will not get to where it is needed, for example to the hair root. Vitamin C contains all citrus and cabbage.
- Vitamin H (biotin)Biotin ensures that the scalp of the hair shaft closes tight – the hair is strong and shiny. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Meat, milk, whole grains and nuts contain a lot of biotin.
- ironNo iron without oxygen, no oxygen without growth: Iron is one of the most important trace elements for healthy cell growth. The main sources of iron in the diet are legumes, nuts and oilseeds, cereal products and some meats.
- Copper and zincThe two trace nutrients activate enzymes and stimulate the metabolism. Cell division – and thus hair growth – is promoted and inflammation is prevented. Whole grains, legumes, dried fruits and nuts contain copper, meat, eggs, cheese and oysters provide zinc.
Prevent inflammation – remove sebum
The right diet is a lot, but not everything for healthy hair from the root. An excess of sebum not only provides a lanky look of hair, it can clog pores and cause inflammation of the skin.
The overproduction of the sebaceous glands can have various causes – hormone fluctuations, stress, predisposition, scalp loads – some of which are easy to affect.
- Reduction of mechanical stressHeavy rubbing, for example after washing your hair, or wearing caps loads the scalp and stimulates sebum production. Gentle expressions of the long hair and a towel turban instead of rubbing protect the hairline and soothe the sebaceous glands.
- Optimal care productsFor fast greasy hair there are special shampoos and skin care products. These are particularly irritating for the scalp, remove the excess sebum from the hair shaft and reduce the film greasing the hair.
- Proper washingWash yes, but not too hot. The warmer the water, the wider the pores open. Maximum lukewarm water, no intensive massage of the scalp and a cool rinse at the end are the right wash formula to degrease hair. The pores close and calm down by the cool water, the sebum production goes back.
Healthy hair to the roots are an interplay of many factors: predisposition, nutrition, state of health, living conditions. On some screws can be easily turn, not at others. But what helps the hair helps the body as a whole – from the root!