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Hair Origin & Anatomy

Hair is important to the appearance of men and women. There is hair on all the major visible surfaces of the body. It is also the only body structure that is completely renewable without scarring.

Hair Origin

A developing fetus has all of it’s hair follicles formed by week 22. At this time there are 5 million follicles on the body. One million of those are on the head, and 100,000 are on the scalp. This is the largest number of follicles we will ever have – follicles are never added during life. As the size of the body increases as we grow older, the density of the hair follicles on the skin decreases.

Hair Anatomy

Hair has two separate structures – the follicle in the skin and the shaft we see.

Follicle – The follicle is a stocking-like structure that contains several layers with different jobs. At the base of the follicle is a projection formed like sticking a finger in the bottom of a stocking and pushing it in a small amount. This projection is called a papilla and it contains capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, that feed the cells. The living part of the hair is bottom part of the stocking surrounding the papilla called the bulb. This bottom part is the only part fed by the capillaries. The cells in the bulb divide every 23 to 72 hours, faster than any other cells in the body. The follicle is surrounded by two sheaths – an inner and outer sheath.

These sheaths protect and mold the growing hair shaft. The inner sheath follows the hair shaft and ends below the opening of a sebaceous (oil) gland, and sometimes an apocrine (scent) gland. The outer sheath continues all the way up to the gland.

A muscle called an erector pili muscle attaches below the gland to a fibrous layer around the outer sheath. When this muscle contracts, it causes the hair to stand up. The sebaceous gland is important because it produces sebum which is a natural conditioner. More sebum is produced after puberty. The sebum production decreases in women throughout their lives. The production also decreases in men, but not as much as in women.

Shaft – The hair shaft is made up of dead, hard protein called keratin in three layers. The inner layer is called the medulla and may not be present. The next layer is the cortex and the outer layer is the cuticle. The cortex makes up the majority of the hair shaft. The cuticle is formed by tightly packed scales in an overlapping structure similar to roof shingles. Most hair conditioning products attempt to affect the cuticle. There are pigment cells that are distributed throughout the cortex and medulla giving the hair it’s characteristic color.

With Laser Hair Removal P0 the laser penetrates the top layer of skin with a specific wavelength of light (as opposed to multiple wavelengths used in Intense Pulse Light treatments), targeting melanin in the hair follicle. Each hair follicle normally goes through a five-year cycle of growth and rest, with about 90% of the follicles growing hair at any one time, averaging about 15 cm of growth per year. Also called pigment, melanin is a substance that gives the skin and hair its natural color.

Laser is attracted to the Melanin in the skin When the laser hits the melanin it damages and destroys the re-growth potential of the hair follicle. The specific wavelength of light (755nm) Candela GentleLase enhances the accuracy of the treatment and gives far superior results. At 755 nanometers the laser can achieve the best penetration into the hair follicle. For people with dark hair and light skin, this is the ultimate in hair reduction. The Candela GentleLase 755 nanometer Hair Removal Laser uses a special cooling system DCD that lowers the temperature of the skin during, and after, laser exposure. This is why laser hair removal treatment with GentleLase is regarded as a lot less painful than other laser or IPL treatments.

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