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WATCH “The Structure of Hair” | CURLY HAIR SCIENCE SERIES Pt.1
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that grows from a sac called the follicle. Cells in the follicle that produce keratin and other proteins become apart of the hair shaft. These proteins contain sulfur atoms. When two or more of these sulfur atoms pair up, they form what is called a disulfide bond. This linkage is also called an SS-bond or disulfide bridge. So once again a disulfide bond, SS Bond or disulfide bridge (all in the same) is a sulfur-to-sulfur bond linking the sulfur atoms of two polypeptide chains. Disulfide bonds are the strongest bonds ever and are difficult to break. They make up the cortex of the hair and give hair its elasticity and strength. There is a presence of disulfide bonds with groups of protein attached to the hair, the hair will bend and curl. The amount of curl is determined by how much proteins are attracted to one another. The more groups of proteins, the more the hair curls. So a person with a kinkier hair type has more disulfide bonds present in the hair shaft than a person with wavy hair. And wavy hair has more bonds than straight hair. This type of bond is permanent unless you add processing chemicals like that in relaxers.
If you take a look at the cross-section of the different shapes of the follicle, you’ll see that it consist of a round shape to a flat oval shape. This illustration shows that the hair’s follicle shape determines the texture of the hair. For example, straight hair will have a perfectly round shaped follicle. While wavy hair has a semi-oval shape. Curly hair has an oval shape and coily or kinky hair has a flat oval shape follicle. So as you can see, the flatter the circle, the curlier the hair. So a perfectly flat follicle produces a coily hair texture.
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MUSIC: One Sly Move by Kevin MacLeod