You will be surprised at how many things you didn’t know about your hair! Read on to discover the most amazing facts about hair here.
We grow, chop, dye, and style it, but at the end of the day, how many of us know much about the hair on our head? For starters, the average person has anywhere from 80,000 to 150,000 strands on their scalp, and that number varies by hair color (blondes not only have more fun; they have more strands of hair.)
Hair is one of the most fascinating parts of the human body. Here are 12 amazing facts about hair you may not have known before.
- Black Is the Most Common Hair Color
If you’re a raven-haired beauty, you’re in a good company. Dark hair colors are the most common, while natural red is the rarest shade. But considering that three-quarters of women dye their hair, our natural color doesn’t really matter.
Chemotherapy can also alter the natural color of hair during the first few months of the regrowth process.
- Hair Is Dead
Despite all of the effort we put into making our shining crown of glory look its best, hair is actually considered a dead tissue. It’s mostly made of keratin, the same substance that forms hooves, horns, beaks, and quills in animals. However, parts of the hair found below the scalp’s surface—including the bulb and follicle—are considered alive.
Despite this, however, what you eat can help influence your hair’s health and appearance. Foods high in lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, or biotin, such as eggs, meat, fish, and sweet potatoes, can help hair grow strong and shiny.
- Cutting Hair Won’t Make It Grow Faster
It’s a myth that cutting hair somehow makes it grow faster. Hair grows at a rate of about six inches a year, or a half-inch each month. Trimming or chopping it has no effect on the growth rate; it just seems that way as having a precise haircut requires regular upkeep for it to look its best.
Having said that, pregnancy can sometimes make hair grow faster thanks to hormone fluctuations. Also, men’s hair grows slightly faster than women’s hair because of the presence of more testosterone. As far as the body’s fastest-growing tissue, hair is only second to bone marrow.
- Hair Can Soak up Oil Spills
Hair is highly absorbent and can be used to soak up oil spills. Think of how heavy your hair feels when wet. There are a few non-profits that collect cut hair from salons to be stuffed into mats to help absorb oil after an environmental disaster.
- Hair Is Surprisingly Strong
For something so thin and seemingly delicate, hair is actually a pretty strong substance. One strand can hold 100 grams. Now multiply that by 100,000 and you’ll find that collectively, all of the hair on your head could pick up the equivalent weight of two elephants!
- We Spend a Lot of Time Styling It
You’re not alone if you fuss over your hair for hours to make it look good. The average American woman spends about five hours each month styling their hair. That doesn’t include the 90 minutes they spend each week blow drying it.
- You Can Lose up to 100 Strands Daily
Don’t be alarmed if you see hair in the shower or sink after washing it. We lose, on average, anywhere between 50 and 100 strands of hair each day. That can fluctuate with the seasons or hormonal changes.
- You Can Regrow Lost Hair—With Conditions
People suffering from male pattern or female pattern baldness have been on the lookout for a cure for years. There’s good and bad news when it comes to regrowing lost hair: it’s possible, but it depends on whether the follicle is still “open.” If the follicles haven’t closed over, you may be a candidate for hair replacement surgery.
In the future, who knows? Research is determining if regrowing hair is possible using stem cell therapy.
- No One Really Knows Why Hair Turns Gray
We know that gray hair is associated with aging, but no one has really cracked the code about what actually causes hair to lose pigmentation. One theory is that at a certain age, gray hair can no longer access melanin, a substance that determines our hair color. Another is that the hair develops a build-up of hydrogen peroxide, causing it to grow in white, silver, or gray.
We do know that our genes play a big role in when those gray hairs start making an appearance on our scalp. Smoking may also contribute to prematurely graying hair.
- Hair Gives Your Bloodstream’s Secrets Away
Ever wonder why hair is so important in forensic cases? Because it will reveal anything that has been in a person’s bloodstream whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or another substance.
The only secret hair can’t give away is what gender the person is, as all human hair is the same structure-wise.
- Hair Starts Shedding in the Womb
By the time a fetus is 14 weeks old, they already have all of their hair follicles formed. What’s even more amazing is that a baby’s hair grows and sheds for at least two cycles while still in the mother’s uterus. The amniotic fluid absorbs the shed hair.
Every hair follicle we’ll ever have our entire life is already in place on our head before we’re born.
- Hair Is Elastic
One of the most interesting facts about hair is that it can stretch up to 30% of its length when wet. That is why hairstylists need to take care when cutting wet hair so they don’t trim too much off. It also means we need to be gentle when combing out our hair after we wash it so don’t break or damage it.
There Are Many Fascinating Facts About Hair
As you can see, there is no shortage of fun facts about hair. It’s one of the most interesting things about the human body, in addition to being a feature we tend to notice right away.
To learn how to keep your hair shiny and strong, check out our health archives.
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