All mammals have hair

Hair grows from under the skin Getty Images

Hair grows from under the skin Getty Images

All mammals have hair, so because humans are mammals, we have hair. Humans have very small, fine hairs over their bodies. Humans have hair over most of the body, but not on the soles of the feet, palms of the hand or lips. 

Most of our hair is on our heads. We have millions of hairs on our head, and each hair grows about half a millimetre a day. Each day we lose 80 -100 hairs from our heads, but each is replaced.

Hair can be light or dark in colour, straight or curly. Getty Images

Hair can be light or dark in colour, straight or curly. Getty Images

What is hair?

Hair is made of a protein called keratin (say keh-ruh-tin). Keratin is found in our nails, in horses' hooves, feathers, claws and antlers and a rhinoceros's horn is ALL HAIR.  A strand of hair is made up of three main layers. The outer layer is called the cuticle, then comes the  medulla and the outer layer is the cortex, which is where the  keratin is found. 

How does hair grow?

Each hair grows from a follicle, which is a tiny opening in our scalp. If a person's follicles are round, their hair is straight. Curly hair grows from oval follicles. A chemical in your body called melanin gives your skin its colour, and also gives colour to your hair. 

If someone has very little melanin, their hair is very pale, someone with a bit more melanin has red hair. More melanin causes hair to be brown, and lots of melanin makes it black. When people get older, they don't have as much melanin in their body, and so their hair becomes grey or even white.

Eyebrows and eyelashes protect the eyes from dirt, while the eyebrows also give protection from sweat. Eyebrows can move and change shape to show how we are feeling.

Look at yourself in a mirror to watch your eyebrows change shape when you look happy, suprised, angry!

Eating carrots is good for your hair. Getty Images

Eating carrots is good for your hair. Getty Images

Care for your hair

To keep hair healthy, we should eat foods such as eggs, salmon, carrots, and green vegetables. 

Washing your hair

Rub shampoo into your scalp and rinse well to keep hair clean. Getty Images

Rub shampoo into your scalp and rinse well to keep hair clean. Getty Images

Rub shampoo into your scalp (head) and rinse well when washing your heair. Just rubbing shampoo onto hair can cause the hair to break. Wrap wet hair in a towel and pat dry to absorb the water. Rubbing wet hair with a towel can also damage hair.

What about 'nits' (head lice)

Lice are tiny bugs that live in human hair close to the scalp. They feed on your blood and when they bite, it itches. Lice are very common especially on kids. They spread when kids put their head together and when you share combs or hats with others.

Close up of a head louse. 'Nits' live on hair close to the scalp. Getty Images

Close up of a head louse. 'Nits' live on hair close to the scalp. Getty Images

Having lice doesn't mean you are dirty. Lice  will live on hair whether it is clean of dirty. They are easy to get rid of by using a special shampoo.

Read more about hair

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