The Anthropology of Hair
While all hair types are essentially made up of the same components – the outer cuticle, middle cortex and medulla, the internal supporting structure – different races present small regional differences. There are three main classifications of hair type based on race – Asian hair, Afro hair and Caucasian hair (or European hair).
What creates the difference is the shape of their hair follicle. The follicle is a skin organ that produces hair. The shape of follicles differ in each of the hair classification; it is the shape of the follicle that determines the shape of the hair strand that grows out of it.
Asian hair grows out of a round hair follicle (sometimes slightly oval) and grows out usually straight. That is because of how it is implanted on the scalp. It is regarded as the most dominant hair type in the world. An Asian can have as many as 80,000 to 140,000 hair strands in the scalp, growing at approximately 1.3 cm per month, the fastest growing among the three races. However, it is the least dense among them. This density doesn’t seem to contribute to hair loss among Asians, which is not so common. But westernized Asian women tend to notice thinning of their hair.
Caucasian hair, on the other hand, grows out of oval-shaped hair follicles, resulting to straight to curly hair. Growing at a rate of about 1.2cm a month, it grows at an oblique angle to the scalp and is slightly curved. Caucasians have the most dense hair. Blondes have more strands on their scalp – about 146,000 hairs. The black-haired have about 110,000 hairs, brunettes 100,000 and redheads about 86,000. In spite of the density, genetic hair loss is highly prevalent in this race.
Afro hair, generally dark brown to black in color, is the slowest growing of the lot, at 0.9 cm a month, and have only 50,000 to 100,000 hairs on a healthy adult. The African has oval to elliptical-shaped follicles producing curly to coiled hair strands. The hair grows almost parallel to the scalp, twisting around itself as it grows.
However, African-American hair have several types. Some sport straight hair, typical of mixed ancestry. Some have soft, deep waves with little to no curl, others are curly and others kinky, which is tightly curled or wiry.
This only means that no particular ethnic group has any advantages when it comes to hair; considering the differences, different care is needed for each type of hair.
Different Strokes for Different Folks in Bellevue
Know what styles and treatment approach are best suited to your hair. At Genna Moon’s, we understand hair types and what works best for certain characteristics of hair. Come by for a hair consultation in Bellevue.