12 Unbelievable Things You Never Knew About Hair
You have around 5 million hairs on your body.
Yes, you read that right: FIVE MILLION! We have between 100,000 and 150,000 on our head alone. Add to that chest hair (for some of us), facial hair (yes, we’ve all got it), armpit hair, etc. and you get to an astonishing 5 million. Can’t believe it? Then you’d better get counting…
We grow 16 kilometres of hair a year.
Yes — SIXTEEN. KILOMETRES. That’s 1.3 kilometres a month! “Then how come I’m not Rapunzel?” you ask. Well, if you divide that total by the number of hairs on your head, it comes to an average growth per hair of 1.2 cm per month. So don’t count on letting your hair down for any princes any time soon. But if you do, you should know that…
A single hair can support up to 100 grams.
Meaning a head of hair could bear a weight of 12 tons. Or a lot of princes.
N.B.: don’t try this at home. Especially if you’re a man, because…
Men produce six times more dihydrotestosterone than women.
That’s the hormone responsible for hair loss in men.
Scroll down to discover another cause of baldness…
The compulsive habit of pulling out your hair is called trichotillomania.
Now try saying that ten times in rapid succession (check your colleagues aren’t listening first). Or read on to find out why 1500 years ago this habit was potentially lethal…
People have died rather than lose their hair.
France, 532 AD: as the Merovingian kingdom lies in turmoil, Queen Clotilde is offered an ultimatum by her power-hungry brother-in-law: let your sons’ heads be shorn or see them executed. Her answer: she would rather see them dead than without their hair.
Contrary to what you may be thinking, Clotilde wasn’t some early die-hard fashionista. For the Merovingian kings of Francia (5th-8th centuries AD), flowing locks cascading over their shoulders weren’t just a style statement: their shining manes were the very symbol of their authority. To lose them was a fate worse than death. Quite literally.
It’s a good thing they weren’t devotees of Vishnu, because…
There is a temple in India that employs 700 barbers.
Every day, 30,000 Hindus visit the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala to have theirs heads shaved and offer their hair to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of the god Vishnu.
Do you know what long Latin word is revealed if you shave your head?
Your hair grows out of an infundibulum.
infundibulum, noun, in·fun·dib·u·lum \ˌin-(ˌ)fən-ˈdi-byə-ləm\
— the cup or funnel in which a hair follicle grows
(Origin: Latin for funnel)
Yes, your hair is that clever. It’s also a little bit dangerous…
Your hair contains arsenic.
But don’t worry — only in tiny amounts. It also contains traces of calcium, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, zinc, lead, iron and silicon.
Scroll down to find out what the chemical analysis of hair revealed about a famous composer.
Beethoven’s hair proved he had lead poisoning.
Just before his death, the irascible composer asked his brother to establish once and for all what the illness that plagued him throughout his life really was “so that… the world will be reconciled with me”. His request was finally aswered in 2000 when analysis of the composer’s hair showed over 100 times the usual level of lead.
And that’s not the only secret hair science has revealed…
Ancient Egypt’s greatest pharaoh was a redhead.
In 1976, in partnership with the Atomic Energy Commission and the Musée de l’Homme, L’Oréal’s laboratories conducted analyses of Ramesses the Great’s mummy. The results showed that the pharaoh (1303 — 1213 BC) was not only naturally reddish-blond but that he died his hair with a henna-based colorant. With great power comes great… vanity?
Scroll down to discover another of L’Oréal’s great hair discoveries…
The longest a hair has survived in vitro is 45 days.
This record-breaking achievement was accomplished in L’Oréal’s laboratories. A follicle was placed in a carefully determined medium in a culture dish where the hair grew just like it would on a person’s head, reaching a length of 1.5 cm! This revolutionary technique offers a unique way of resolving questions concerning the growth and regulation of hair.
So there you have it: hair in all its amazing statistical, historical, cultural and scientific glory! And you thought it was just something to cut and style…
6. By stuartpilbrow at Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
8. “Tonsure tirupathi” by Jamdirt631 — http://www.flickr.com/photos/98904746@N08/10075817186/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons — http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tonsure_tirupathi.jpg#/media/File:Tonsure_tirupathi.jpg
9. Hair, L’Oréal Research & Innovation
13. Hair, L’Oréal Research & Innovation