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What Are The Differences Between Black And Caucasian Hair

To understand the difference between African-American, Black and Caucasian hair you must first understand how hair grows. Beneath the surface of the scalp lie thousands of hair follicles. They are found in the dermis, this part is responsible for hair regrowth as well as skin regrowth in the case of a wound. The texture and even the thickness of each individual’s hair is dependent upon the shape and size of the hair follicle. How thick a person’s hair is depends on both the size of hair follicles and how many there are on the individual’s scalp.

Primary Differences

  • Hair molecular structure and shape results in tightly wound or similarly straight
  • Follicle density or the number of follicles per inch on/in the scalp
  • Thick wide follicle structure versus thinner
  • Overal growth rate
  • Ability to keep follicles moisturized
  • Propensity for damage, breaking and tearing

African American & Black Hair black hair

African Americans and people with curly hair tend to have a cross section that is oval shaped which allows a larger amount of surface area for the hair. This also means there is more area for the hair to incur damage and fewer areas inside to protect the hair. Within the cross section that is oval shaped there is a shorter side which means the hair also has less protection and therefore is more apt to break often.
The wave pattern and bonding is what makes the big difference between African-American hair and Caucasian hair. The principal bonds are hydrogen and polypeptide. Close to 88% of the hair is made of polypeptide bonds. They are difficult to break and are what gives the hair its strength. This bond is also what is responsible for the tight curls. In order to break the bond a permanent straightening treatment has to happen. The hair won’t go back to its natural condition until it is grown out.
Black hair also tends to grow slower than Caucasian hair. This will also mean the hair needs more care as there will be a larger amount of the hair that is older or damaged and there will be a smaller amount of fresh, new hair growing in its place. Black hair growth - or at least to maximize such growth - generally requires the use of a hair vitamin to ensure all the vitamins and nutrients are delivered to the follicles.  African-American hair tends to produce plenty of sebum or protective oils, generally more than other ethnicity’s hair. This often comes as a surprise. Because of the tight curls the oil doesn’t usually spread down the shaft as it does in Caucasian hair.
Because of the tight curls the fibers will need lubrication or they will become quite dry resulting in coarse and brittle strands that break easily. For this reason, it is commonly thought this hair doesn’t grow very long. Each curl is considered a stress and if the hair isn’t properly cared for will become dry and break.

Caucasian Hair

It’s important to note that many Caucasians have dense, thick hair similar to African-Americans. This texture is caused by a large amount of hair follicles that are oval in cross-section. The tight curls that are found in Black hair isn’t seen as often in Caucasians or Asians and when it is the term ‘wooly hair’ is applied. Because of Caucasian curls aren’t as tight as African American curls the sebum produced by the follicle can flow down the entire shaft. This leads to the illusion that Caucasian hair is oilier.
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