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Anatomy of Hair and Your Pet's Coat


The hair can be divided into two parts, the root and shaft. The root part of hair is in the skin (epidermis) of scalp. A pouch like structure called follicle surrounds the hair root. The base of hair root is in the shape of a bulb. Capillaries and nerve fibers indent this bulb. The cells in the center of bulb divide. The newly divided hair cells push the previous cells up. The cells, which move upwards, die slowly forming hard hair shaft.

Hair is composed primarily of proteins (88%). These proteins are of a hard fibrous type known as keratin.

The hair shaft has three layers the cuticle, medulla and cortex.

Cuticle is the outer layers and protects the inner layers. It is transparent. Healthy cuticle gives a shiny appearance for hair and unhealthy cuticle gives lifeless look

Medulla is the innermost layer composed of large cells.

Cortex is the layer between cuticle and medulla. This contains pigment and keratin. Cortex determines the bulk and strength of hair.

The hair follicle contains oil-secreting glands, which make the hair shiny. Stress and illness and lack of proper nutrients diminish secretion of oil and pigments causing graying of hair.

The hair is considered as a tissue which uses the same nutrients of bone, nails and which is formed as bi-product of bone tissue.

Normal hair growth cycle:

Each hair grows approximately at the rate of 1 centimeter or 0.393701 inches per month in humans. This growth continues for 2-6 years. When the hair attains full growth it resets for 2-3 months and is later shed.

A new hair starts growing in its place. Thus at any given point of time 10 percent of the total hair on our scalp is in a resting phase and 90 percent of the hair is in growth phase.

As a part of this hair growth cycle it is normal for every warm blooded animal to experience a little hair fall every day. Any condition in which the hair fall is more than normal is termed as hair loss. Hair loss can affect anybody irrespective of age and gender.

Hair and different textures

Fine hair is close to the resolution of the human eye, about as fine as we can see. Hair thickness varies from person to person, animal to animal, day to day, year to year.

It’s anywhere between 1/1500 to 1/450 inches (17 to 181 microns). Hair color is the biggest factor. Flaxen hair is the finest (1/1500 to 1/500 inches, 17 to 51 microns) and black hair the coarsest (1/450 to 1/140 inches, 56 to 181 microns).

Warming weather can thicken hair

Hair shape (round or oval cross-section) and texture (curly or straight) is influenced heavily by genes. However, nutritional status and intentional alteration (heat curling, "perms") can affect the physical appearance of hair.

Hair Pigment

Hair color is mostly the result of pigments -- chemical compounds that reflect certain wavelengths of visible light. There is two main pigments found in human hair: Eumelanin has an oval or elliptical shape, which gives color to brown or black hair and is dark pigment. The higher the concentration of Eumelanin the darker the hair.

Pheomelanin is what produces the color in blonde or red hair. The higher the concentration of phaeomelanin, the lighter the hair. Unlike eumelanin, phaeomelanin is smaller, partly oval and has a rod shape. White hair contains no melanin at all and gray hair contains only a few melanin granules.

Although some scientists believe that the derivation of pigment is probably derived from colo-forming substances in the blood. The color of the hair, light or dark, depends upon the color and amount of the grains of pigment it contains.

Natural hair color may also be influenced by the optical effects of light rays by melanin, either as they are absorbed or reflected and bouncing off the surfaces of the different hair layers. The size, amount and distribution of melanin determine the ultimate hair color. Great number of large melanin Molecules distributed throughout the cortex to create different colors. The various combinations in the size, amount and distribution of melanin create all natural hair color. Which contributes to the many different types of texture in hair and coats.

What is the difference between coat fur and hair?

The term "fur" refers to the body hair of non-human mammals also known as the pelage (like the term, plumage in birds). The main difference between hair and fur is where it grows, not what it’s made of. Human’s, have long hair on their heads and short hair on their arms, while a deer has short hair all over. Also, unlike hair, fur includes a layer of finer, shorter denser hairs, the under fur, through which longer, coarser, more thinly distributed guard hairs extend. Most dogs have three types of fur: Undercoat, guard hair and whiskers. Different type of canine coats Short Hair Breeds hair is short and denise. Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, Pugs, Beagles. Long Coated Breeds, have hair longer than an inch or two, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Afghan Hounds. Double -Coated Breeds have a double coats, a soft silky under coat that insulates their bodies, with a course outer layer of weather-resistant hair. German Shepherds, Shelties, Akitas, and Husky. Combination Coat Breeds, have longer or thicker in some areas and shorter in others. They may have long fur on their back and tail, while the face and stomach are trim. Border Collies, Brittany, Golden Retrievers, Irish & English Setters,Tibetan Spaniels;

Canines coats can be Silky, Heavy, Smooth, waxy, Corded, Wired Coated as well as hairless.

So fur is hair there is no difference, but it is used to describe the dense uniform hair covering on animals

Now that you understand more about the anatomy of hair and fur the next question is how to keep it strong and healthy shiny coat. The best way to protect and condition coat whether you are competing your animal in show exhibitions or just want to enjoy your pets beauty is to keep your animals shin and hair clean and tangle free and conditioned with SummerWinds The 1,2,3 Spa Treatment.

1st. Shine Onnn Shampoo, low sulfate, 6.5 pH balanced with ultra violet optical brighteners to bring out that SummerWinds SHINE in all color coats.

2nd. Fine-L-Shine Creme Rinse Conditioner, to close the cuticle layer and aid in de-tangling the coat.

3rd. Protect-A-Coat Oil Conditioner, with sunscreen to protect the coat for sunburn and help prevent breakage and damage. With reconstructive conditioners agents that help damaged dry dull and brittle coats, that have lost the elasticity in the hair stands, Protect-A-Coat will aid in restoring the coat back to it's original healthy state.

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