The Science of hair

The Science of hair

What part of the body helps to regulate temperature, protects skin from the sun’s harmful rays, stands guard as a first defense mechanism all while making us look pretty darn good?  Human hair, in all its infinite glory, is a multi-tasking marvel that is located everywhere on the body except for the palm, sole of the foot and (thank goodness) lips.  Hair is more prominent depending on the location, and where it appears on the body determines the function it serves.

The hair that covers the head has several functions.  Primarily serving to protect the scalp from the sun, theories also claim that a full head of hair had evolutionary advantages thousands of years ago.  Because newborns and infants could easily grasp onto their mom’s long hair for security and safety, long locks on a woman was a sign of her ability to procreate.  In men, thick and abundant hair on the head and face gave them a larger and more imposing frame, offering a psychological advantage when going into battle.

Eyebrows and lashes are also considered a beauty attribute, but their main purpose is much more scientific.  Eyebrows effectively prevent sweat and dust from the dripping into the open lid, and eyelashes trap dirt and other irritants from entering and irritating the eye.  The inside of the nostril is lined with hairs that work with mucous to catch unwanted particles from entering the body, and the tiny hairs in the ear act as a  mechanism to filter any foreign debris such as bugs (eww!).

The hairs that run along our limbs and torso serve to regulate body temperature.  When goose bumps ridge your skin because of chilly weather, hair follicles stand erect and insulate the skin.  And as unsightly as armpit hair is, it does a great job of trapping bacteria to help avoid infections.  One study also suggests that armpit hair provides lubrication and lessens the friction between your arm and the body.

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