Chemistry is an integral part in determining the condition, texture, and other characteristics of your hair. Hence, it pays to learn a little bit about chemistry when it comes to your daily hair care maintenance. Chemistry can provide insight into your understanding of what causes good and bad hair days, probably more than your stylist can. Also, it will give you enough understanding on what you can do about it instead of being frustrated by it.
A lot of people, men and women alike, invest a great deal of time and money on caring for their hair. But, did you know that hair is made up of dead skin cells? The cell layers are made up of skin cells referred to as hair matrix, which will die over time and results in the production of keratin. This is packed together with dead skin cells that are being pushed deep into the scalp to form the hair strands.
There are approximately 100,000 to 150,000 strands of hair in an average human head. Regardless of the colour or texture, all of these are made out of the same thing – keratin. This substance is produced and requires basic building blocks in order to grow, which is in the form of amino acids. This also explains why proper diet made up of all of the essential nutrients and proteins in order to produce keratin and facilitate in hair growth.
If you take out a strand of hair and view it through a microscope, you will find that it is made up of three layers: cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle is the outermost layer of the hair, which is why this should be taken into account as part of your daily hair care routine because once the outer covering is damaged, the entire structure of your hair becomes vulnerable.
The composition of keratin molecules that make up your hair is also a critical factor in determining whether you have naturally straight or curly hair. The keratin chains in straight hair are located at basically the same sites whereas curly hair has arching bonds that cause the hair strands to form a bending or looping structure to them.
Meanwhile, hair colour is determined by melanin that is naturally produced by the skin cells. A melanin called eumelanin is solely responsible for determining what shade of colour there is in your hair. The amount of eumelanin in your hair is directly proportional to the darkness of hair. Hence, higher eumelanin also equates to darker hair colour. But those with red hair can attribute that to another type of melanin, which is pheomelanin.
Even though there are natural, chemical factors that determine your hair colour, a wide range of factors can also affect its natural colour. Modern hair treatments can alter the chemical structure of hair, which includes perming or relaxing treatments. Other hair styling tools such as blow dryers, curling iron, shampoos, conditioners, and the like are also contributors to altering hair’s chemical structure.
With this new insight, you can hopefully be able to get a better understanding as to what are the natural factors that affect hair health and appearance. Use this information when deciding on what products to use when caring for your hair.