The make up of a Hair Strand
Hair strand. Let’s look at the make up of a hair strand. This will help us understand why damage can happen and how to prevent it.
Hair grows from your scalp and the root or follicle is nourished from our blood. From the blood comes oxygen and other nutrients that feed the root of the strand of hair. If we have bad overall health it will be noticeable in the condition of our hair. The condition of your hair can be the first sign of an underlying problem. The shape of the follicle cells will determine the shape of your hair, whether it’s straight, wavy or curly.
Make up of a single strand. Hair strands are like a straw. There are 2-3 sections.
Cuticle Layer of Hair Strand
The outer section is the cuticle. This is where most damage can be seen. The cuticle looks like shingles on a roof. They lay on top of each other. Heat and being rough with your hair can cause these shingle to lift and separate causing the hair to not be smooth. Eventually it can cause split ends and damage along the length of hair and then break off. Heat can cause damage to the cuticle because it can fray the shingles. Damaged hair can look lighter in color. Hair that has a healthy cuticle layer will have smooth shiny hair.
Cortex Layer of Hair Strand
The cortex layer is located between the cuticle and medulla and is the thickest hair layer. This is where most of the hair’s pigment is found, giving the hair its color. The health of the cortex depends largely on the integrity of the cuticle protecting it. This layer is where color is deposited and perms do their work. This is also where conditioning and protein treatments repair the hair strand.
The Innermost layer is the Medulla. This layer may or may not be present. The medulla is in mostly thicker hair types. Many blondes do not have this layer. It consists of a soft, thin core of transparent cells and air spaces.
Some products lay on top of the hair while others can penetrate into the hair. Silicones can lay on top of the hair to smooth. This is usually temporary. Some products have such a strong amount of silicone or parabens though that it can feel like a coating and be difficult to remove. This can hinder changing your hair color.
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