Hair consists of folicle and the shaft. The structure that we see is shaft while the folicle is inside the skin.
Hair Follicle: The hair follicle is a complex mini-organ. It is composed of multiple mesenchymal and epithelial cell layers. All of these comprise of more than 20 different cell populations. Along with the sebaceous gland and the arrrector pili muscle, the hair follicle becomes the part of the so-called “pilosebaceous unit”. However, different hair follicle types may contain these components in varying proportions. The inner sheath follows the hair shaft and ends below the opening of a sebaceous gland, and sometimes an apocrine (scent) gland. The outer sheath continues all the way up to the gland. A muscle called an erector pili muscle attaches below the gland to a fibrous layer around the outer sheath. When this muscle contracts, it causes the hair to stand up. The sebaceous gland produces sebum which is a natural conditioner. The production of sebum increases after puberty. The sebum production decreases in women throughout their lives. The production also decreases in men, but not as much as in women.
Shaft: The hair shaft is made up of 3 layered dead, hard protein called keratin. The inner layer is medulla and may not be present. The second layer is the cortex and the outer layer is called cuticle. The majority of the hair shaft is made of cortex. The cuticle is formed by tightly packed scales in an overlapping structure similar to roof shingles. There are pigment cells that are distributed throughout the cortex and medulla giving the hair it's characteristic color.
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