Systems Approach to Human Hair Fibers: Interdependence Between Physical, Mechanical, Biochemical and Geometric Properties of Natural Healthy Hair

    February 2019 in “Frontiers in Physiology
    Elsabe Cloete, Nonhlanhla P. Khumalo, Jennifer C. Van Wyk, Malebogo Ngoepe
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    TLDR Hair properties are interconnected; a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary approach is essential for understanding hair behavior.
    The 2019 document reviews the complex interdependencies between the physical, mechanical, biochemical, and geometric properties of natural healthy human hair fibers, advocating for a systems approach to hair research. It identifies the limitations of traditional reductionist methods that study hair properties in isolation and proposes the development of a cross-disciplinary taxonomy to better understand hair fiber constituents and their interactions. The review describes how properties such as the hair's structural composition, mechanical strength, and biochemical makeup are interconnected and influence hair behavior. It also discusses the need for a more nuanced taxonomy that goes beyond race-based classifications to consider individual variability. The authors suggest creating a comprehensive database to study these interrelationships and conclude that an integrative approach is essential for reliable interpretation of hair data across various disciplines.
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