Hair structure, how are hairs made in human beings?


Hair structure, what does it look like?

The hair present on our body can be divided into small hairs and brown hairs. Small hairs cover the entire surface of the skin, with the exception of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, and are also referred to by the terms “vellus” or “lanugine“. The latter, on the contrary, are located only in certain areas of the body, such as scalp, armpits, pubes, on the face in men, etc.. They have a higher caliber than small hairs and are colored.

The hair, and similarly the hair, consists of a visible part, that is the stem, and a non-visible, inserted into the dermis, called root.

The hair is housed in the hairfollicle, a sac-shaped structure.

The deepest part consists of the bulb and the papilla. It is through the papilla that the hair receives the nutrients it needs to carry out its life cycle.

Above the segment containing the bulb and papilla, we find the intermediate part, consisting of the histmum. Above the latter, we have the infundibulum.

The bulb contains a few rows of overlapping cells that constitute the matrix. These are germinative cells that, as they reproduce, push up those born earlier. During this process, the cells process keratin and thus undergo a process of keratinization.

These cells are then stained by melanocytes and will go on to form the cortex of the hair.


The horizontal section of the hair

Looking at the horizontal section of the hair, we notice the area of the marrow, the innermost, surrounded by a concentric circle, defined cortex and, finally, externally, the cuticle.

The medulla consists of rounded cells, separated from each other by spaces of air.

The cortex represents the most substantial and thickest layer. The cells that make it up are large, 90 microns long and 5 microns wide. As we have said, they contain melanin, responsible for the coloring of the hair. With age, this substance is reduced, causing the process of hair coloring.

The cuticle is made up of a row of small cells, about 0.2-0.5 microns in size. They are transparent and arranged in flakes.


What elements make up hair?

Hair is made up of water, keratin, minerals, lipids and pigments. Let’s break down these elements in brief.

Keratin is a protein, consisting of amino acids, that forms the cortex. The process of hair keratinization is regulated by hormones, vitamins, the metabolic system and genetic factors.

The main amino acids that make up keratin include: cysteine, cystine, serine, glycine, threonine, glutamic acid, leucine and isoleucine.


The minerals, such as iron, magnesium, copper, zinc and lead, play an essential role in the survival of the hair.


The lipids are made up of triglycerides, waxes, phospholipids, cholesterol, and free fatty acids.

Melanocytes, finally, form the pigments, synthesizing two types of melanin: feomelanin, typical of blond or red hair, and eumelanin, which gives the dark color to black and brown hair.

It is essential to follow a balanced diet and avoid drastic weight losses, so that our hair can have all the nutrients it needs for its life cycle to take place without abnormalities.


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