Hair: a barrier to bacteria Hair: a barrier to bacteria

Hair: a barrier to bacteria

WITH YOUR BODY 26 February, 2017 Ana María López de Mesa


Hair can be found all over the body except on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the belly button and mucous membranes. 

In an unequal distribution throughout the body, there are approximately five million hairs on the average adult. There are about one million hairs on the head, and between 100,000 and 150,000 hairs on the scalp. The role of hair is to protect some of the body’s organs from external elements as well as give the human body an esthetic appeal.

The following, provided by Venezuela’s La Trinidad Medical Research Hospital, are some of the unique functions of hair:

  • Protect: Hair protects the scalp from the sun and the cold. Eyebrows and eyelashes protect the eyes from sweat that can fall from the forehead, and nose hairs prevent dust or particles that can be found in the air from entering the nostrils. Hair also helps absorb the effect of bumps and scrapes, acts as a slight barrier to insect bites and improves the control of our body temperature.
  • Aesthetic appeal: From how hair is styled, washed, pinned back or decorated, different cultures have treated hair with different levels of importance and care. The amount of hair people have has also served as an aesthetic symbol that has conveyed many meanings: strength, wisdom, experience, virility/femininity, freedom, slavery, fashion, religion, acquisitive power, social class or political ideology.