hair shaft

The hair shaft is the visible part of the hair that protrudes from the skin. It consists of dead tissue formed from keratinized cells that contain no living cells or blood vessels. The hair shaft itself is divided into three main components: the Cuticle, the cortex and in some cases the Medulla.

Structure of the hair shaft

  • Cuticle : The outermost layer of the hair shaft, consisting of several layers of flat, overlapping cells arranged like the shingles on a roof. The cuticle protects the interior of the hair from damage and contributes to the shine and smoothness of the hair.
  • Cortex : The middle layer and main part of the hair shaft, composed of long keratin fibers and pigment cells ( melanin ) that give hair its color and strength. The physical and chemical properties of the cortex determine the texture, curl and elasticity of the hair.
  • Medulla : The innermost part of the hair shaft, present in some hairs. The medulla is a loose arrangement of cells and air pockets and plays a less clear role in the function and structure of hair.

Functions of the hair shaft

  • Protection : The hair shaft protects the scalp from UV radiation, heat, cold and injury.
  • Sensory function : Hair expands the skin's sensory system by responding to touch, pressure and temperature changes.
  • Social and psychological functions : Hair has important social and psychological significance, influencing personal identity and self-confidence, and playing a role in social perception.

Care of the hair shaft

Proper care is crucial to keeping the hair shaft healthy and minimizing damage. This includes:

  • Gentle cleanse : Using mild shampoos to remove dirt and product buildup without over-stripping the scalp's natural oils.
  • Moisturizing : Applying conditioners and hair masks to add moisture, smooth the cuticle and reduce frizz.
  • Heat Protection : Limiting the use of heat styling tools and applying heat protectant products to prevent heat damage.
  • Avoiding Chemical Damage : Be careful with chemical treatments such as coloring, bleaching, and perms.

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals also supports the health of the hair shaft by providing the nutrients necessary for hair growth.

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