Why do humans have hair?

General Hair Loss

Hair is the focus of many, with attention being given to human hair mainly for reasons of cosmetics. The hair that covers your head is however far more than just an implement of your body that changes your looks; there are many other practical, functional and essential features of human hair that most do not consider.

The natural benefits that your hair provides should never be underestimated. The medical benefits to having your head shielded by the natural fabric known as hair are numerous and critical to maintaining a healthy skin.

In its most basic definition hair serves to protect your skin. The protection that it grants lowers the effect of harmful radiation from the sun. This in turn ensures healthy skin. The hair covering your head not only protects from the sun, it also helps to regulate the overall temperature of your head. The human brain is extremely sensitive and due to the larger and thicker neo-cortex that is present in a human brain, we require a form of temperature resistance. The hair present on your head helps regulate the temperature of your brain. This regulation stems from our earliest existence, where humankind was subjected to extreme heat and extreme cold. Our bodies naturally evolved, resulting in the development of hair.

Hair not only covers our head, but our entire body. Human hair, of all types, grows in three different cycles. These cycles, namely Anagen, Catagen and Telogen are responsible for the development of hair on the body. Anagen is responsible for the active growth of your hair follicles. During this period the root of your hair plunges further into your skin, to allow for rapid growth and addition to the hair shaft. The average growth of healthy hair during the period of Anagen is approximately one centimetre every twenty eight days.This continues for between two and seven years, dependant on the particular genetics of the person in question. Catagen is the second phase of hair development, beginning only when Anagen ends. This is a fairly short phase, lasting roughly two to three weeks, a process set in motion to increase the strength of your hair. The state that your hair is transforming to is referred to as club hair. At the end of the Categen process your hair follicle enters into the final, Telogen phase. Simply stated the Telogen phase is the resting process of your hair. Each follicle is placed under a huge amount of stress on a daily basis, due to both internal and external factors such as the sun. One of the main causes of hair loss is the early beginning of the Telogen phase. Stress is a major motivating factor towards early Telogen. If you are placed under a large amount of stress, one can force seventy percent of their hair into Telogen far earlier than is healthy. Your hair simply stops growing, and well before it is supposed to. The maximum length that your hair can grow is ultimately determined by your genetics, in turn determining the life cycle of your hair follicle.

Hair loss is caused, in a large part, by our own reaction to stress. Once in the Telogen phase hair begins to fall out and due to the body’s inability to grow hair for as long as it needs, hair falls out quicker than it is replaced.

The implications of hair loss are far reaching, affecting your health in many ways. The damaging rays from the sun can stimulate the development of cancerous cells, skin cancer cells. A study undertaken by the Dermatologic Society revealed that a malicious squamous cell skin cancer aggressively affects those that are balding. Men and the elderly suffering from hair loss are at a much greater risk of being susceptible to this cancer. This horrible form of skin cancer is the second most common and arises in the outer layer of the skin that is most affected by the elements. The atrocious scab-like skin cancers at times intermittently bleed as it rapidly spreads through the surface of the skin of your head. It appears similar to an ulcer, but the edges are more rigid. Once squamous skin cancer occurs there is no easy remedy. Treatment methods include radiation therapy, Chemotherapy, Cryotherapy and surgery, expensive, time consuming and an extreme discomfort.

The occurrence of skin cancer of the scalp is fairly uncommon; however there is approximately a 5% chance of being afflicted with the condition. This is further increased by factors such as hair loss, mal-nutrition and the abuse of legally available drugs such as tobacco. A full head of hair is something that is treasured by almost every single individual; however alternate preferences may decide to go bald! Whatever your decision, always take good care of your scalp.


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