Hair is probably one of the most important beauty statements on our body, and we spend a lot of time getting it right.
We shampoo it, condition it, curl it, straighten it, braid it, and do a number of other things to make it trendy and cool. However, there’s so much we don’t know about them! These are 8 essential facts you didn’t know about hair.
1. Hair = Fur
You know the matted fur on the body of your pet animals, be it cat, dog, or even squirrel? Well, that’s actually no different from the hair on your head.
Both fur and hair are made of the same protein building blocks known as keratin. In fact, even feathers and hooves are made of this substance. So the next time you put on a fur coat, you might as well be wearing a coat of human hair!
2. Hair is Super Strong
There’s an average of 100,000 to 150,000 strands of hair on a person’s head. If you include all the hair in the other parts of the body as well, that number may even rise up to 4.9 million, depending on the individuals. It has been found that each strand of hair can support approximately 100 grams of weight.
So if you multiply that with the number of strands on your head, you realise that the hair on your head is strong enough to support the weight of two grown elephants! However, this is largely possible in theory. Don’t try it at home!
3. We shed a lot of Hair
An average healthy individual sheds as many as 40 to 150 strands of hair on a daily basis.
Of course, this statistic doesn’t include people who are already bald! But the next time you get mad at your pet dog for shedding so much fur, just realise that you’ve probably left plenty of hair lying around as well!
4. Our Hair can Taste
The tiny hair strands on our lungs and nasal passage are known as Cilia. These strands are responsible for filtering out all impurities, sweeping them away, and preventing them from entering our system.
A graduate student from the University of Iowa discovered that these Cilia largely respond to substances with a bitter flavor, for example nicotine. When it comes in contact with bitter flavors, it starts sweeping faster to prevent it from entering.
5. The Neanderthals used to shed all
their Body Hair
Early mankind, also known as the neanderthals, had no means of cleaning, shaving or trimming the hair on their body. Basically, they had no concept, or culture, of personal grooming. As a result, their hair used to grow all over their body, a lot like fur as we mentioned earlier.
All this body hair became a bedrock of infestations from disease-carrying parasites, insects, lice, fleas, etc. As a result of that, they used to routinely shed all of their body-hair suits. This information has been found through research conducted by scientists at England’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
6. Hair may soon become Unnecessary
The primary function of hair is to keep us warm in cold climates. It’s not exactly used for that purpose now because all our spaces contain air conditioners. However, that was the original intent.
It’s the same reason that animals found in cold climates have more fur than animals found in hot climates. As such, if the future moves further towards becoming entirely climate-controlled, such as in space stations, hair will entirely become redundant. As such, people in the future may voluntarily induce alopecia or hairlessness.
7. Dirty Hair is Good for You
You know how we always shampoo and condition our hair? We do this because our hair becomes greasy, looks matted, and the oil content tends to increase sebum production and acne.
However, environmental engineers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, have found that dirty hair is a lot more beneficial than clean conditioned hair.
All of the oil content on our hair is far more capable of absorbing air pollutants and harmful UV rays of the sun. As such, by cleaning our hair, we are actually getting rid of a primary natural filtration system.
8. Do NOT Ingest Hair
Do you have an unreasonable to keep picking at your hair and consume it? If so, you probably suffer from a condition called Trichophagia. This is a rare and potential life-threatening condition in which the afflicted individual keeps pulling apart strands of their hair to consume it.
People don’t notice it very easily because the rate of consumption is slow, and as such it might go unnoticed. These hair strands don’t easily get digested by our body and as such they get stuck in our digestive tract, which can potentially be fatal. In 2012, doctors in India extracted a 4 pound hairball from the stomach of a 19 year old girl with that condition.