Scalp Health 101: Layers & Structure
You’re hair is not an independent thing in and of itself.
Just like your hand is part of your arm, or your foot is part of your leg etc, your hair is a part of your scalp. And you must remember that scalp is skin, and it’s job like the rest of the skin on your body is to protect you.
Knowing some basic info about your scalp and how your hair grows from it, will help you understand how important it is to take care of it.
The scalp is the foundation & the birthplace for healthy hair! Here's a VERY BASIC breakdown...
The skin that our hair emerges from is made of three distinct layers, the
epidermis, the dermis, and a layer of fat and connective tissue. All of these layers influence how well your hair grows or if it even grows at all.
The epidermis is the outer layer. It’s generally about one millimeter in depth (that’s a little more than the thickness of a credit card). A healthy epidermis is necessary for healthy hair growth.
One reason, as you can see from the diagram, is that it houses the mouth of the hair follicle or the little hole where the hair emerges. This little opening is the only part of the hair follicle on the outside of the skin and can be seen with the naked eye. This is why keeping your scalp clean is important.
The opening of your follicle can get clogged by dead skin cells, debris from the environment or in the air and residue from products you use
So when you consider the fact that most of us don’t cleanse our scalp regularly, what do you think happens? Buildup.
DERMIS & SEBACEOUS GLAND
The second layer, the dermis, is roughly two to three millimeters thick on your scalp. This is where the sebaceous glands are located. These glands produce sebum, our hair and skins natural oil. This oil flows through the hair & scalp. These oils help with healing, fighting infection and keeping the hair & scalp lubricated. These glands stop working properly when we neglect our scalp care routines & basic care.
Many of the products we use, don’t break down well in water and the fact again, that we don’t shampoo enough can cause buildup in our scalp, which could lead to these glands being compromised.
FOLLICLE, BULB & SHAFT
The follicle is the actual birthplace of EVERY NEW HAIR. They are located deep in the fatty tissue of the scalp.
The base of the follicle is also called the hair bulb. This is where cells divide every 1-3 days to create your hair. As the hair follicle makes new cells, the older cells harden or keratinize and are forced upward through the scalp. Once hair leaves the protection of the follicle, it is no longer living tissue (hair shaft).
Below the dermis is more connective tissue, accompanied by a layer of subcutaneous fat. The tiny blood vessels you see at the base of the follicle, nourish the follicle by supplying it with oxygen, glucose, and nutrients needed for hair building and growth. Millions of sensory nerve branches are nestled here as well.
For a full breakdown of the layers mentioned, check out my YouTube training by clicking below: