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Hair Care

Dr. V. S. Chauhan

Throughout our lives we take a great deal of pride in our hair and are at pains to keep it looking good; unfortunately, in an attempt to do so, we often illtreat it. For instance, we brush and comb it harshly; wash, lacquer, curl, perm, bleach and dye it with strong chemicals.

Throughout our lives we take a great deal of pride in our hair and are at pains to keep it looking good; unfortunately, in an attempt to do so, we often illtreat it. For instance, we brush and comb it harshly; wash, lacquer, curl, perm, bleach and dye it with strong chemicals. We pull and braid it tightly without a thought. Also, increasing air pollution ahs a bad effect on the hair.

Common problems are those of thinning, drying, split ends, breakage, and loss of hair. More often than not, this is also self-inflicted; the result of ignorance.

If a hair could talk, it would tell us that like us, it is born, it lives, and dies. During its life it weathers many storms. It goes through activity, rest, growth, decay, colour production, loss of colour, dryness, greasiness an, also, like us, it suffers disease and death.

Any study of the hair would be incomplete without a study of the skin because that is the ground upon which a hair grows. The relationship can be likened to that of a plant and the soil upon which it grows.


The skin is a perfect security guard standing between our bodies and the outside world. it is a multi-layered structure. The topmost layer, epidermis is continually being shed and replaced. Beneath is the dermis which is thicker layer that contains blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands and hair follicles.

Attached to the hair follicle is a small muscle called the arrectores pilorum which is responsible for making our hair stand on end when we are cold or frightened. Also, attached to the follicle is the sebaceous gland supplying sebum, the oily substance which lubricates our skin and hair. Below the dermis is a layer of fatty tissue.

Skin protects us from physical injury. Because of its water proof nature, it forms a barrier so nothing passes in and out of our bodies. It protects us from harmful ultra-violet rays of the sun by providing a natural sun screen. It provides an efficient heat control system and regulates our body temperature by producing sweat when we are hot. Sebum is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. The skin manufactures Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. It is capable of absorbing certain substances when required. Skin and hair are considered to be the barometers of an individual’s health.

Hair Follicle

Man has two basic needs in life, food and shelter. The same applies to hair which will not sprout unless these two essentials are available. A follicle is where a hair will be born, where it will live and where it will die. With its rich supply of blood vessels, the follicle provides energy and nourishment to the cells of the growing hair.

A duct from the sebaceous gland opens into the follicle which means that as the sebum is secreted, it is emptied into the tube where the hair is growing. This lubricates the hair automatically and as we comb it, the sebum spreads along its length without our realising it.

Hair grows in the centre of the follicle and around it are well defined concentric layers called the inner and outer root sheaths which are themselves layered structures. They protect and keep the hair in place within its home. In the upper part of the follicle, the hair is freely movable, but lower down it is firmly attached and its deepest part, called the hair bulb, is its actual root.

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