Each human hair is unique. They grow independently and move in and out of their growth phases on their own. But, while each hair is unique, there are some general differences in the hair for people of different ethnicities.
Who has the thickest hair?
Asian people have on average the thickest and most coarse hair when compared with Caucasian and African American hair. On Asian people, the cross section of the individual hairs is almost always straight and circular. Caucasian hair is usually thinner than Asian hair. The cross section is either circular or oval. African American hair is thinner than Asian and Caucasian hair, but it is also very different in cross section. A cross section here is elliptical or almost flat and ribbon-like. This is why African American hair is the curliest, as it naturally flexes and coils along the ribbon.
Who has the most hair?
While Asian people have the thickest hair, they don’t have the most hair. That distinction belongs to Caucasian hair. Caucasians have scalp densities ranging from 100,000 to 150,000, with red-haired people having the least density in this group and blonds having the highest number of hairs. African Americans have somewhat less hair than Caucasians, but more than Asian people. Asian people rarely have more than 120,000 hairs and can be as low as 90,000 hairs.
How is hair curly or straight?
The shape of the hair follicle itself is what is responsible for the curliness of the hair. Deep in the hair follicle is where cells are added to the fiber at the root. Here the hair is soft and pliable. When the hair is building, the cells of the fiber take the shape of the surrounding hair follicle sheath. As the cells are added and incorporated, chemical bonds form and hold the hair fiber into the shape of the hair follicle. While no one has figured out why hair follicles vary in shape, a curly hair follicle will create a curly hair. Again, it is assumed that ethnic differences create subtle chemical composition differences in the hair fibers and the hair follicles.
Is curly hair weaker?
While the actual hair in a curl isn’t weaker, the act of coiling and the stress that keeps it that way can make curly hairs weaker. This is because the outer side of a coiled hair has a cuticle that is stretched thin, making its scales exposed and relatively easy to catch and damage when doing something like brushing the hair. In contrast, the inner side of the coiled hair is thick and compressed.
African American hair follicles seem to produce more oils and sebum than the follicles in other ethnic groups. But those oils are not evenly distributed along the length of the hair fiber because of the coiled shape. This means these coiled hairs will need to be supplemented with hair oils to add to natural production and keep the hair fibers flexible.
Now you know about some differences between the hairs of different ethnic groups. The question is, do you want to get rid of some of those hairs? We have the most diverse set of hair removal lasers to match the makeup of our patients’ hair. Call us at 212-750-2000 and set up a free consultation for your hair removal.