- by Dr Asmita Dhekne
- 0 Shares
- Sep 29 2017
Different types of hair on our body!
You may have observed there are a lot of commodities especially for beards such as beard oil, beard balm and beard shampoo. This may have raised a doubt in your mind as to why should beard hair be treated with separate products to head hair. To help answer the question a team of science researchers uncover some of these differences so you can make better choices next time you go shopping.
Unlike the hair we all have on our heads, facial hair is a secondary sex attribute in men, and lads begin to grow hair on their faces during adolescence. (Women can also have an inclination towards growing hair on the face, but this is generally to a much lesser level than in men, and usually more so after menopause strikes – but that is a different story).
Different parts of the body develop different types of hair:
Lanugo Hair – is the profuse covering of fine hair which covers most newborn babies. It falls out shortly before or just after birth.
Vellus Hair – is fine, short and lightly colored. It grows all over the body during childhood, with the exception of the palms, lips, soles, in the navel, back of the ears, on genital mucosa, and in scar tissue. These hairs germinate from follicles which are not attached to an oil gland.
Terminal Hair – this is what grows on the head. It is thick, long and darker than hair elsewhere on the body. When a person moves into puberty, vellus hair is replaced by terminal hair on the in the armpits and pubic area. Men, in particular, may also develop terminal hair in place of vellus hair on the limbs, chest, back, feet and face. When it develops in adolescence/ puberty, it is called androgenic hair.
The hair on the scalp, like that on the face, grows in 3 steps – but the hair on the face has a much shorter growing period. These steps involve the active growth period (anagen), the transitional period (catagen- when growth stops) and the falling out period (telogen).On the face it is a matter of months: on the scalp, this cycle continues for years.
Androgenic hair growth is based on the hormone testosterone – the more testosterone a guy has, the more facial hair he will develop. Ironically, testosterone is also accountable for some terminal hair follicles return over time to vellus follicles – consequently middle-aged scalp baldness (even in the existence of a full and manly beard!).
The hair that guys grow naturally on their faces is a very unlike brute than what grows on the scalp, or elsewhere on the body, for that matter. Facial hair is inclined to be thicker, and of a much more rough texture than that on the head. The skin under the hair is also distinct. Scalp skin is likely to be oilier than facial skin so using some cleansers might be considerable for removing excess oil from your head but too strong & drying for the face.
There may also be differences in the capacity for the hair to knot and look unmanageable. Scalp hair may be straight, yet beard hairs grow curly and thicker – and the cause for this all comes down to the shape of the follicles. Follicles on the face are much more responsive to androgens like testosterone; these hormones make follicles distort and their resultant hairs become twisted. This means that even the brush you use may need to be distinct, a firm one for the beard and a softer one for the head.
Beard hairs may grow in an entirely different texture than scalp hair – and even in a different color. It’s not unusual to grow red hairs in the beard when there is not a red hair to be seen anywhere else on the body! A man may keep a full head of dark hair into middle age, yet his beard may grow totally grey.
What does it all mean? In a short, your beard needs to be cared for differently than the scalp hair. Beards are likely to need a milder cleanser and more conditioning commodities to soften it (such as a beard oil or balm). They may also need certain grooming tools, like a good firm brush.
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