Histology of Hair

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Comprised by Ken Webster for Cirrus Hair Centers from various scientific and informational sources.

Human hair growth

Human hair grows, and wants to grow everywhere on the body except for the soles of the feet, the lips, the palms of the hands, and the eyelids, apart from eyelashes. Like skin, hair is a stratified squamous, keratinized epithelium made of multi-layered, flat cells with overlying keratin (a protein), whose rope-like filaments provide structure and strength to the hair shaft.

Hair follows a specific growth cycle with three distinct and concurrent phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the length of the hair. All three phases occur simultaneously; one strand of hair may be in the anagen phase, while another is in the telogen phase.

The body has different types of hair, including vellus hair and androgenic hair, each with its own type of cellular construction. The different construction gives the hair unique characteristics, serving specific purposes, mainly warmth and protection.

Normal growth

There is no one regimen a person can follow that ensures a healthy head of hair. One’s lifestyle, diet and hair type should all be considered when attempting to adopt a routine to develop and maintain healthy hair.

Exercise

Exercise stimulates the blood to flow. This nutrient-rich blood nourishes each hair follicle, promoting healthy hair growth.[1] Lack of this sufficient blood flow would yield the growth of duller, more brittle hair.[2] Apart from supplying the follicle with nutrient-rich blood, exercise also helps to alleviate stress, which is known to cause hair loss.[3]

Growth cycle

The three stages of hair growth are the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each strand of hair on the human body is at its own stage of development. Once the cycle is complete, it restarts and a new strand of hair begins to form. The rate or speed of hair growth is about 1.25 centimeters or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimeters or 6 inches per year.[4] Note from Ken: One must understand that hair grows slow and client must be patient when attempting to slow or stop hair loss and hoping to re-grow any of his or her hair.

Anagen phase

The anagen phase is known as the growth phase.[5] It begins in the papilla and can last up to eight years.[6] The span at which the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics.[7] The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the faster and longer it will grow. During this phase, the cells in the papilla divide to produce new hair fibers, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand.[6] About 85% of the hairs on one’s head are in the anagen phase at a given time.[5]

Catagen phase

Signals sent out by the body determine when the anagen phase ends and the catagen phase begins. The catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase, allows the follicle to, in a sense, renew itself. During this time, which lasts about two weeks, the hair follicle shrinks due to disintegration and the papilla detaches and “rests”, cutting the hair strand off from its nourishing blood supply. Ultimately, the follicle is 1/6 its original length, causing the hair shaft to be pushed upward. While hair is not growing during this phase, the length of the terminal fibers increase when the follicle pushes them upward.[6]

Telogen phase

During the telogen, or resting, phase the hair and follicle remain dormant anywhere from 1–4 months.[6] Ten to fifteen percent of the hairs on one’s head are in this phase of growth in any given time.[5] The anagen phase begins again once the telogen phase is complete. The preceding hair strand is pushed up and out by the new, growing strand. The process causes the normal hair loss known as shedding.

Growth inhibitors and disorders

Chemotherapy

Most chemotherapy drugs work by attacking fast-replicating cells. Rapid cell replication is one of the hallmarks of cancers, however hair follicle cells also grow and divide quickly; consequently, the chemotherapy drugs usually inhibit hair growth.[8] The dose and type of medicine determine how severe a person experiences hair loss, but once the chemotherapy has ended, one can begin to experience new hair growth after three to 10 months.[8]

Alopecia-related syndromes

Alopecia is a hair loss disease that can occur in anyone at any stage of life. Specifically Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes hair to spontaneously fall out. It is mainly characterized by bald patches on the scalp or other parts of the body, and can ultimately cause baldness across the entire body.[9] This disease interferes with the hair growth cycle by causing a follicle to prematurely leave the anagen, or active growth, phase and enter the resting, or telogen phase. The hair growth in the affected follicles is lessened or stopped completely.

Traction alopecia is caused by adding too much strain on the hair on one’s head. Tight ponytails and other styles that require added tension to the hair are often what cause this disease. It can also occur on the face in areas where the hair is often styled.[10] Plucking or waxing one’s eyebrows frequently, for example, can yield suppressed hair growth in the area.

On the scalp, the hair is usually known to be lost around the hair line, leaving the densest amount of hair at the crown. Small vellus hair will often replace the hair that is lost. In most people, scalp hair growth will halt due to follicle devitalization after reaching a length of generally two or three feet. Exceptions to this rule can be observed in individuals with hair development abnormalities, which may cause an unusual length of hair growth.

As one can see from the above information, the cause of hair loss is simple….Right?

We know it is a disruption of “the hair growth cycle”, but there are so many variables causing this problem that is impossible to cure hair loss until we can control or alter the genetic make up of our bodies.  Once and if this occurs we will have cured almost all know genetic diseases as well.  As far as growing hair back in the pretense of a full head of hair growing on a bald head that is the original type, color, texture as you once originally had, well we are many, many years from this is ever.  The follicle is a an organ just as any other living organ of the body.  If the organ is dead then it is dead.  To bring life back to an organ is as of this time in our life, with the knowledge and experience we have is just impossible.  Yes, we are having some luck growing hair in a Petri dish or cloning hair but as with any organ and the transplant of an organ, there are many complications and much expense.  As we develop in this science, it makes perfect logic and sense that we will learn how to keep the organs, that goes bad in our bodies including the hair follicle, from being attacked by various bad proteins in the first place.  By possibly coming up with a protective protein encapsulation process and preventing the disease, it makes more sense and will eventually be much more of an economical process.

Until this happens our and the clients best bet is to continue to “treat” the hair loss with products along with LLLT (low level laser treatments). There are many products out there with a lot of claims but the truth is, the only thing that is going to work (after you read this paper about hair loss) is products that nourish the follicle and help provide or increase blood flow.

Cirrus has all of this and more in our exclusive line of CiraDerm products.  We have the products that help provide the blood flow with our natural ingredient in our Scalp Activator, as well as our spray Activator and DHT block.  This along with our lasers that penetrate the cell wall and help produce ATP to speed up the cell division (multiplying of cells, providing new cells and new hair growth).  Before you can nourish the follicle you have to make sure you have removed all of the obstructions from the scalp that will prevent the absorption of the nutrients. Our products do this and more.  Our CiraDerm products also contain Zinc PCA.  Zinc PCA helps regulate the sebaceous gland (read more about zinc pca attached). They contain not only the needed Amino Acids but also ingredients like Emu oil to help enlarge the follicle and get it started into the growth stage from the resting stage.  Our CiraDerm products also contain Tricogen.  See the attached for more information on this product.

 

No matter what you may hear about products to grow hair back that some other company may claim, just remember one thing.  Remember the biology and science of how and why a hair grows and then ask you self one question.  How does the product they claim to have, work?  At Cirrus we are always doing reasearch and working so we can have the best hair care products that really work.  As we say at Cirrus “Products With A Purpose”.

Our CiraDerm products work because they contain Zinc-PCA and  Tricogen and other products shown to have positive effects on reducing hair loss and helping new hair grow.

Below is the scientific data on Zinc-PCA other wise know as Zincidone.

NATURE AND COMPOSITION

1. Definition –Zinc-PCA

ZINCIDONE® is a physiological seboregulator active ingredient specially designed by

researchers of Solabia Group to answer to the problems of oily skin with a tendency to acne.

ZINCIDONE® is the zinc salt of pyrrolidone

carboxylic acid or L-PCA (see fig. 1), a key

molecule of the skin that participates in

processes of hydration and energy of the

organism.

2. Physico-chemical characteristics

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERS

  • Appearance white to creamy white powder
  • Appearance of the 10% solution - clarity : clear (Eur. Ph. 6.0 §2.2.1)

- color : ≤ B8 (Eur. Ph. 6.0 §2.2.2)

SOLUBILITIES

  • Water freely soluble
  • Alcohol 50° soluble
  • Propylene glycol soluble
  • Mineral / vegetal oils insoluble

3. Legislative information

  • INCI / CTFA name Zinc PCA
  • CAS 15454-75-8
  • EINECS 239-473-5
  • Other regulation status registered in Japan
  • Customs code 2933-79-00

Sebum, seborrhea and zinc, a close look

  • Sebum protects and embellishes, with moderation…

Sebum is a natural oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin (See fig. 2) by

a physiological process called seborrhea. Its role is to give suppleness and freshness to the

skin and hair, at the same time as protecting it from multiple external aggressions.

Sebum is essential for the equilibrium of the skin and hair. When present in excess, it is

prejudicial and causes the appearance of unsightly reflections, irritation, inflammation, and even

acne in the most serious cases.

Hyperseborrhea results from increase in the size and activity of the sebaceous glands following

hormonal modifications, a sub-optimal hygiene, dietary imbalances, circulation disorders and

more. There are many causes and origins!

Seborrhea regulation is androgen-dependent, in particular by testosterone. Every target cell of

the sebaceous gland contains an enzyme, 5 α-reductase, that converts testosterone into

dihydroxytestosterone (DHT). DHT acts on the activity of the hair follicle, causing the

stimulation of the sebaceous gland and the resulting increase in sebum production.

Hyperseborrhea is then accompanied by the proliferation of microbial flora, in particular

Propionibacterium acnes which encounters a territory more than favorable for its growth in the

space of the sebaceous pores. This is followed by irritation phenomena that can sometimes

lead to inflammation.

Fig. 2 : Structure of the skin

Vessel

Zinc, a key molecule in the organism

Zinc is the trace element present in the largest quantity in humans after iron. Because of its role

in the constitution of more than 90 metallo-enzymes and its activity in almost 200 biochemical

reactions of metabolism, zinc is an essential and major element for nutrition, detoxification and

for fighting against cell aging.

Zinc is involved in the synthesis of nucleic acids, including DNA, but also in protein

synthesis, cell division and in the structure and co-enzymatic activation of many key

molecules in the organism and in the skin.

It plays a role that is just as important in cell differentiation and thus has considerable healing

activity. It also prevents the development of microbial infections as a result of its remarkable

antiseptic properties.

  • Zinc, the universal anti-seborrheic

Considerable scientific research has shown that zinc reduces sebum secretion by inhibiting

5 α-reductase. It has also been shown that the cutaneous application of preparations

containing zinc increases zinc levels in the epidermis.

In order to increase its efficacy and bioavailability to cells, Solabia Group researchers have

combined it with L-pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (L-PCA), a natural physiological molecule that

also has a fundamental place in the biochemistry of the skin…

L-PCA, the physiological “passkey”

L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid, also called L-PCA, pyroglutamic acid, pidolic acid or 5-oxoproline,

has been known for a number of years. Discovered in 1882 by Haitinger, it is the

cyclization product of glutamic acid (See fig. 3), an amino acid found in a large number of plant

substrates.

L-PCA is present throughout the organism and is found in high concentrations in the human

stratum corneum, localized in the NMF, Natural Moisturizing Factor of the epidermis (See

table 1).

CONSTITUENTS OF THE NMF %

Free amino acids 40

PCA 12

Lactates 12

Urea 7

Ammonia

(as uric acid, glucosamines, creatine) 1.5

Sodium 5

Calcium 1.5

Potassium 4

Magnesium 1.5

Phosphates 0.5

Chlorides 6

Citrates, formates 0.5

Undetermined fractions 8.5

Table 1

 

 

Cosmetic applications

Hair follicles

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