What goes on in the hair bulb?

The Science – techie stuff

1The … cells undergo repeated cell division for hair formation. The high rate of cell proliferation gives rise to a constant stream of cells which push their way up to produce the hair fibre….

2Melanocytes in the bulb also transfer pigment to the hair keratinocytes to give the hair colour

..high rates of cell division…

Breaking it down:

You know that thing we all long for? Hair growth! It happens in the hair bulb. Like all living structures, the hair bulb possesses cells. These cells undergo mitosis (cell division) at a rapid rate – apparently at the second highest rate anywhere else in the body.

The Hair Bulb - see all the cells migrating upwards?


As you can see in the picture, there is only so much space for all those new “baby” cells. This lack of space means that the older cells have to move upwards until they eventually break the surface of the skin as hair. When they do this, the hair on the scalp lengthens.  That is what we call hair growth. 

This cell division takes a lot of energy and this energy is provided by glucose. Remember that we saw here that the dermal papilla supplies this. It can only supply this if your body has an adequate amount to delegate to hair growth. Literally food for thought.

The last thing I want to highlight her is the fact that hair color is given in the hair bulb.

Want me to break it down a bit more?

Imagine planting a seed.  The norm is to dig a hole, drop the seed into it and then cover up the hole. Over time, as you water and nurture the soil (thereby indirectly the seed), it begins to grow. This growth starts within the soil and after a while you see a shoot. That means that the seed has burst open (under the right conditions) and is now growing in a vertical direction. Some seeds have the capacity to grow to oak trees, others stop as shrubs. However, that growth comes about because the seed broke the surface of the soil and grew in a vertical direction.

P.S: I do realize that a seed grows in downwards as well but for this purpose of this post, we are focusing on the growth of stems rather than roots.

What you should do

Ensure that the right conditions are present for cell division. Apart from what we learned about the dermal papilla, there is also scalp health so that the growing hair can break the surface easily. More on that in a later post in the series.

Some Trivia

Typically, hair grows half an inch per month.  That is a total of 6 inches a year. Not everyone can retain that length which is why it may seem as though your hair is not growing. 


1 Formation and structure of human hair.  Pierre Jollès, Helmut Zahn, H. Höcke

2 Hair Growth and Disorders. Ulrike Blume-Peytavi 



AN, i second you. I feel like i am in a biology or is it chemistry class 🙂

Thanks NN for breaking this down ..

This year I shall retain length…so I shall be looking forward to a post about that…


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