Beauty and Health 102

30 Apr


Hair is divided into two parts:  the root and the shaft.  It is obvious the shaft is the part of the hair that extends above the skin surface and the root is beneath the skin.  The root has three structures:  the follicle, the bulb and the papilla.

The follicle is a tube like pocket that encloses the hair root where each hair has its own follicle.  The follicle sets at an angle in the scalp so that the hair coming out of the scalp flows naturally.  The bulb is located at the bottom of the hair root and covers the papilla.  So, my question is, have you ever wondered what exactly that whitish, clear thick stuff is when you pull your hair from your head?  Well, now you know; it is the bulb of the hair root.  Finally, the papilla is what is important to hair growth and regeneration.  It is the cone shaped structure at the bottom of the hair follicle that is rich in blood and nerve supply that  provides the nourishment to the hair.  Once the papilla is destroyed or damaged, it can not produce cells to grow new hair  because it is not able to receive the nutrients through the blood.

The hair follicle has two structures attached to it:  the sebaceous gland and the arrector pili muscle.  I talked about the sebaceous glands in my last post and to reiterate that is the gland that produces oil to keep your scalp soft and your hair shiny and pliable.  The arrector pili muscle is what causes the hair to stand up when one is cold or nervous or fearful, so think goosebumps.  Eyelash hair and eyebrow hair do not have these muscles.  If they did, could you imagine???  We would all look a little strange with our eyebrow hairs standing straight out.

Hair is made up of three layers that include the medulla, cortex, and cuticle.  The medulla is the innermost layer and really serves no purpose to the hair.  Very fine hair sometimes does not have a medulla.  The middle layer is the cortex of the hair and can be thought of where all the DNA of the hair is contained.  The cortex encompasses the melanin, and various cells that determine the type of hair (curly, straight), the strength or elasticity of the hair.  The outer most layer is the cuticle.  If you were to look at the cuticle under a microscope it would appear to look like scales on a fish.  These protective scale-like cells point away from the scalp towards the ends of the hair.  When hair receives chemical services such as color, perms, relaxers, and well water treatments, these scale-like cells raise in order for the chemical solutions to penetrate into the cortex of the hair to change its DNA structure.

The cuticle of the hair is a huge indicator and reflects the condition of the hair.  The cuticle is what we see on the outside and can only see the other layers through a microscope.


There are two layers to the skin: the epidermis, and the dermis.  The epidermis is composed of other layers including the stratum corneum or horny layer which is what we see, the stratum lucidum, the stratum granulosum which consists of mostly dead cells that push up to the surface to replace the cells from the stratum corneum that are lost or shed, and the stratum basal which contains melanocytes or the cells that produce melanin or the pigment that gives our skin our glowing color.

The dermis is underneath the epidermis and contains nerve endings, blood vessels, sweat glands, hair follicles, lymph vessels, oil glands, arrector pili muscles, and fat cells.  The fatty layer just under the dermis is the subcutaneous layer and contains fat cells.  This part of the skin contributes to the support of our skin, provides smoothness and contour to the body and is a protective cushion for the epidermis.  The dermal layer is what also gives us elasticity to the skin where the subcutaneous tissue plays a profound factor to its stretchiness and firmness, so if you are wondering why wrinkles occur, it is because the subcutaneous tissue shrinks as we age thus losing elasticity and pliability.


In the last post, I talked about how one needs to decrease their total caloric intake by 3500 calories in order to lose one pound of weight.  So, we know it is all about the calories, but how many calories do we really need to lose, maintain or gain weight?  Remember we have to take into consideration the activity or exercise in your life as well.

Calories are energy that are bodies burn to keep us going; this is basal metabolic rate (BMR), or resting metabolic rate.  This means it is how many calories you’d burn if you did nothing but be a slug all day everyday.  Use the following calculation to figure your BMR in order see how many calories you need daily.

WOMEN:  655 + (4.35 x wight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

MEN:           66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)

I will use myself as an example.  I am 43 years old, 67 inches tall and weigh 130 pounds.

655 + (4.35 x 130) + (4.7 x 67) – (4.7 x 43)……….655 + 565.5 + 314.9 – 202.1 = 1333.3

1333.3 calories a day???????  Oh, my…….that is like starvation for me, but  I know I consume waaay more than that, but here is the thing, I  have to consider my level of activity per week to determine the total calories I need to maintain my 130 pound weight.

Activity Level

  • Sedentary to little or no exercise……………………………………………….    BMR x 1.2
  • Light activity to easy exercise 1-3 times/week……………………………..    BMR x 1.375
  • Moderate activity to moderate exercise 3-5 days/week…………………    BMR x 1.55
  • Very active to hard physical exercise 5-7 days/week…………………….   BMR x 1.9

So, to continue the example, I tend to have a moderate active lifestyle since I typically try to work out 3-5 times a week.  My BMR is 1333.3, so to finish the calculation, 1333.3 x 1.55 = 2067.  WOW, I can consume 2067 calories a day to maintain my 130 pound frame.  Now, that is more like it, but I swear it seems like I eat way more than that.  I mean c’mon, eating is my absolute favorite pastime!

When I fall off the wagon and gain a few pounds, I need to decrease my caloric intake by 3500 calories, so if I divide 3500 calories by 7 (days in a week) that is 500 per day.  For me to lose 1 pound a week, my caloric intake should be 1567 per day (2067-500).  Now, if I wanted to gain 1 pound, then I must add 500 calories to the 2067 calories needed to maintain my weight!

I hope this can jump start your motivation to a weight loss program; however it does take more than just watching calories.  What is consumed needs to be taken into consideration as well.


The other day I finally noticed the buds and leaves on the trees.  My thoughts were: Spring is finally here, and today after an entire week of solid rain, the beautiful rays were beaming from the robust fireball among the nebulous cotton balls in the clear blue sky.   It is so amazing what that glorious star can do for the soul.  It instantly puts you in a cheery and happy mood where you feel you can accomplish anything!  The smell of spring and sunshine is such an exhilarating feeling, and I love it!  I came across this quote that describes the anticipation of one of my favorite seasons and a photo of a tree in my front yard.

Behold my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.       -Sitting Bul

References: Milady, Google Images


One Response to “Beauty and Health 102”

  1. Kate@Diethood May 1, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    Thanks for the informative post, Nancy! I love it!

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