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Know your hair

Einton Raman was sitting in his living room, fully dressed, for their family’s day out. All in the family were ready, except for his grand daughter Tinky. She was taking all the time in the world in styling her hair in the most trendy way.

“Tinky, how long will you take? Everybody else got ready and waiting for you”, cried her mother.

“Ok, Ok coming”. She halfheartedly tied her hair in a simple manner and got into the car.

Her Father, mother, brother and grand mother started talking excitedly about their to-be-soon stay in an ocean view resort. But Tinky Couldn’t join in their talk. She had so many questions swirling around in her head.

Einton Raman noticed that and beckoned her with a smile.

“Darling! What’s cooking in your little brain? You seem to be so busy in your own thoughts?”

Tinky started in a whining note. “Grandpa, I am very upset today. My friend vini was looking beautiful in that trendy hairstyle. But how much ever I try, I couldn’t make it look perfect like hers”

Before her grandpa could reply back anything, she went on with her whining.”She has such a smooth and straight hair, which makes to look the hairstyle just perfect. But see my hair.. it’a frizzy. I couldn’t get it done in the way she could”

“Not all the fingers are equal dear. Your hair might not be like hers, but what you have is also just fantastic”

“But I couldn’t understand grandpa. Why her hair is all smooth and straight and mine is all frizzy?

Einton Raman understood her childish grudges. Chuckling softly, he slided down in the seat in a most comfortable position, and got all set to clear her doubts.

“Dear, Hair is straight or curly depending on the shape of the follicle from which it grows. Straight hair grows from completely round hair follicles. Wavy hair grows from oval follicles. Curly hair grows from Flattened hair follicles

Tinky got intrigued and sat closer to Einton. “Thatz interesting grandpa. So, like this, is there a reason behind How fast does my hair grow?

“Absolutely darling. According to a study, hair grows at an average of 0.50 inches (1.25cm) per month. An average person can expect to grow 6 inches of hair per year.

More interestingly, the hair doesn’t grow at the same rate throughout the day but seems to follow a kind of rhythm. At night, the hair grows slowly, but as day begins, this is speeded up. Between 10 and 11am, the speed of growth is at its greatest. Then the hair grows slowly again. It picks up speed between 4 and 6pm, and then the growing slows up again”

“Oh, if the hair is growing from the follicles, is there any way to increase the number of follicles? So that I can have a more voluminous hair” asked Tinky

“You developed all your hair follicles when you were in your mommy’s tummy, in your 22nd week itself. If you had developed 5 million follicles during that time, it would be the same throughout your lifetime”, replied Einton

Getting little bit disappointed by this fact, Tinky diverted her questions to the other properties of hair. “Why is my hair Black in color and Vini’s in Red color?

“Ah, thatz a good question. Eumelanin and Pheomelanin are the two types of Melanins that determine the color of your hair. More the Eumelanin darker the hair is; lesser the Eumelanin lighter the hair is. More the Pheomelanin pigment, the hair looks red in color. So tell me, which pigment is dominant in you?”

Tinky, “Eumelanin to me and Pheomelanin to Vini”, answered back gleefully

“Wonderful! Now a question to you. Tell me what determines the thickness of each individual hair?” asked Einton encouragingly.

Tinky, “Well that’s easy grandpa. Bigger the size of the follicle, thicker the hair is, and smaller the size of the follicle, thinner the hair is” answered back euphorically.


Vocabularies learnt:

Trichology: Branch of dermatology that deals with the scientific study of the health of hair and scalp

Trichologists: Hair and scalp specialists


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