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Wed, 5th August 2015

We spend billions of dollars a year on hair care. With many, it tops the No 1 best buyer list. It may be provocative and sexual, feminine or manly, depending on your attitude. Why so much attention to the detail? Because it is part of "me", the living organic outward expression of personality. It makes a statement. "I care, this is me, I am important, I matter, take a look and vibrate at the knees", or something like that.

100,000 HAIRS

The 100,000 hairs on the average scalp do not care much for their character moulding capacity. It is 90,000 in blondes and redheads, 120,000 in brunettes and blackheads. They grow constantly throughout life (and even after life) to protect the scalp and brain. Tiny organs called sebaceous glands are hooked to each shaft below skin level. Microscopic fat works upwards to cover the shaft which is covered outwardly with minute scales. This gives hair its sheen, also improved by regularly removing dirt (shampooing) and brushing, in preference to combing. Too many fat glands and the skin becomes greasy. It may settle on the scalp and dry out causing the much maligned and hated dandruff. Infections sometimes occur, making it worse.


The greater the mass of hair, the greater its ability to insulate structures underneath. The brain works within a tiny temperature range, and does not like being overheated. In kids this may cause convulsions. Colour is determined by melanocytes, pigment in the hair root called the follicle. This is genetically determined both in colour and amount. It often ends prematurely leading to grey then white hair. Hair also protects the scalp from UV rays from the sun, and risks of skin cancer. For eons hair has been used as a sexual tool.


Long hair in women, short in guys is traditional. The mechanics are a man made phenomenon and a massive marketing project. It earns millions every day. It is amazing that the marketers let the hat slip into oblivion, but this will inevitably do a comeback, for this too is part of the personality. Hair grows at the rate of 0.34 mm a day or roughly one cm a month. Quicker in summer (when scalp blood supply is increased) and slower in winter. Lots of guys like a No 1 cut, many shave the scalp regularly. Some do it to raise funds for charities. Again, it makes a bold statement "Here I am world!" Planet Earth doesn't care, and the hair even less. It is body cooling in summer.


Long hair has its peculiar risks, like getting caught in machinery in industry, even though caps are mandatory. Some ignore regulations. Some adolescents twist a few hairs around a finger and unconsciously pull. This is called trichotillomania and can lead to bald spots! Take loving care of your hair, but even after death, it continues to grow.



In am in my mid teens, and get awfully tongue tied when talking to guys, and feel awkward. I only have one younger sister.


You are not alone and tens of thousands of others (male and female) have the same inner fears. Time fortunately, cures most. However, write down a list of topics (and learn them by heart) on which you have some knowledge. Trundle these out. Also, always get the other person talking about him (her) self. Never fails to elicit interest, "self" being the most important issue on earth. Often once you start, it is hard to stop. Try it and see.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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