True Facts about Hair and Nails

November 12, 2012

True Facts about Hair and Nails

Although we all feel that our flowing locks are pretty intact did you know that every day we lose between 60 and 100 hairs? However that’s not too much because on an average human they would have to lose almost half of their hairs before it became noticeable and became an indicator of looming baldness. For the average brown haired person having about 100,000 hair follicles, losing 100 hairs a day is only 0.001% of their hair, and if the person is healthy then they will re-grow anyway.

Black haired people have on average 110,000 hairs on their head, with blonds averaging 146,000 and redheads have the least density of hair with only about 86,000 hair follicles. But even though we only appear to have hair on our heads we have more hair than a chimpanzee. That’s because our bodies are covered with hairs but they are very fine and cannot be seen easily.

Another difference between social groups is that men’s hair is about twice as thick as women’s hair. This explains why men’s hair normally feels coarse when compared to a woman’s. Different races also have different diameters of hair.

Hair on the head is not the fastest grower, that distinction falls to facial hair as every man will testify to. After the closest shave in the morning the stubble is re-appearing by late afternoon or early evening. There is a reason why they call it ‘the five o’clock shadow’. It is estimated that the rate of growth for an average man, if left unshaved, would result in a beard about 10 meters long during his lifetime. That’s about as long as a London bus.

Although we have lots of hair follicles which the hair grows out of, each hair usually only lives for between 3 and 7 years. The secret is that each follicle can produce around twenty hairs over time. Whether this means that if you live to more than 140 years then you must be bald because the follicles are all used up hasn’t yet been proven.

The strength of hair often goes unnoticed but have you ever been around when there is a fight going on and the hair pulling starts. Not only does it not come out of the head it doesn’t snap either. Hair is almost indestructible, only fire can affect it. If the shower pipe clogs up then it’s almost certainly hair which is the cause, it is impervious to cleaning chemicals and other methods of cleaning, and the hair must physically be removed to unblock the pipe.

For the scientifically minded people, a single strand of hair has been stressed and can support around 80 grams, that’s the equivalent of two of your favorite chocolate bars. Multiply this by 100,000 to get the strength of the hair on an average head.

Although we have yet to discover why it is the case we know that the nail on your middle finger is the fastest growing one. But we do know that there is a link between finger length and rate of growth.

Have you ever noticed how often you clip your finger nails compared to your toe nails? Well the experts tell us that our toe nails are much slower at growing. The finger nails grow about 4 times faster than the nails on our toes. Again the actual reason isn’t known for certain but experts think that the nails that get the most exposure tend to grow faster. Finger nails tend to grow around 3 or 4 mm every month on the average person. However like most other areas of the body the rate of growth can depend on gender, age, health and race.

And finally although we consider our hair and nails to be part of our living body they are not actually living. Have you ever wondered why getting a hair cut or clipping your nails never hurts? Now you know.


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