Structure of the Hair


There are two types of hair found on the body:

  1. The fine, short hairs that grow on the skin are known as vellus hairs.  These hairs do not have pigment, and are slangily referred to as “peach fuzz.”
  2. The thicker, pigmented hairs of the scalp and body are known as terminal hairs.


Terminal hairs are composed of strong structural protein called keratin, the same kind of protein that makes up the nails and outer layer of the skin.  Each strand of hair consists of three layers:

  1. An innermost layer or medulla which is only present in large thick hairs.
  2. The middle layer known as the cortex. The cortex provides strength and both the color and the texture of hair.
  3. The outermost layer is known as the cuticle. The cuticle is thin and colorless and serves as a protector of the cortex.
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