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The Anatomy of Hair Follicles

1: Hair consists of a follicle, which is embedded in the skin, and the shaft of hair which appears outside of the skin on our body.

Hair Follicle Anatomy

2: The follicle itself consists of multiple layers with each layer having a specific function. The papilla lies at the base of the follicle. Capillaries are connected to the papilla and they supply blood to the cells which surround the bottom part of the hair strand called the bulb.

Hair Anatomy

3: Surrounding the follicle are two sheaths, inner and outer, which are designed to both protect the hair shaft from damage, and to help it grow in the proper direction.

The inner sheath runs next to the hair shaft and ends at the oil (sebaceous) gland.

The outer sheath runs to the gland and ends at the erector pili muscle. This is the muscle that causes our hair to “stand on end” when it contracts.

Hair Anatomy

4: The hair shaft is comprised of three layers of dead protein cells called keratin. The innermost layer, known as the medulla, is not always present in every hair shaft. The second layer, known as the cortex, provides the bulk of the hair shaft. Hair color is mostly determined by the pigmentation contained in this layer. The outermost layer is called the cuticle. It is comprised of a series of overlapping cells. The hair’s luster and sheen comes from the cuticle.

Hair Anatomy

See Also:
Intro to Hair Loss
Hair Loss, Self-Image, & Society
Hair Anatomy
How Hair Grows
How Hair is Lost
Hair Loss in Women
Traction Alopecia
Hair Loss in Men
Norwood Hair Loss Chart
Frontal Hair Loss
How to Stop Hair Loss