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Hair we go.

Byline: By Leigh Chambers

I'm sure you've heard someone say that it doesn't matter what you do to your hair - it's dead anyway. But is it? Well the answer is no and yes. The hair outside your scalp, physiologically speaking, is dead. It has no blood, nerves or muscles. If cut, you feel no pain, nor does it bleed or pull a muscle when stretched. However, for a dead fibre it is quite remarkable. A healthy hair will stretch up to 30 per cent of its length, can absorb its weight in water and can swell up to 20 per cent of its diameter. Its strength is greater than that of copper wire of the same diameter. It has extraordinary insulating qualities, rivalling that of asbestos. We change its colour and its shape, curl it, wash it, brush it, pull it and rub it to an amazing degree and yet despite all this abuse, our hair can remain resilient and tough.

Hair grows about half an inch (1.25cm) a month, faster in summer than winter. The growth phase lasts an average of three to five years so a full-length hair averages 18-30 inches. The hair then enters a short intermediary phase, a "resting" phase when the hair is released and falls out. The follicle rests for three months, then the whole process is repeated. Each hair follicle is independent, having its own growth cycle at different times. Otherwise all our hair would fall out at once! Instead you lose only a certain number of hairs a day.

With an average growth phase of four years, you can afford to lose 75-80 hairs a day.

The average number of hair on the human scalp is 120,000. Blondes tend to have more, redheads fewer.

NBy Leigh Chambers, artistic director, Regis Hair and Beauty Centre, 3rd Floor, Fenwick, Newcastle. Tel: (0191) 232 0802.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 20, 2003
Words:312
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