Blocked Hair Follicle – Everything You Need To Know



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Chapters

0:00 Introduction
0:04 What are blocked hair follicle?
1:22 What are the causes of blocked hair follicle?
2:55 What are the symptoms of blocked hair follicle?
3:26 What is the treatment of blocked hair follicle?


The hair follicle is an organ found in mammalian skin.[1] It resides in the dermal layer of the skin and is made up of 20 different cell types, each with distinct functions. The hair follicle regulates hair growth via a complex interaction between hormones, neuropeptides, and immune cells.[1] This complex interaction induces the hair follicle to produce different types of hair as seen on different parts of the body. For example, terminal hairs grow on the scalp and lanugo hairs are seen covering the bodies of fetuses in the uterus and in some newborn babies.[1] The process of hair growth occurs in distinct sequential stages: anagen is the active growth phase, catagen is the regression of the hair follicle phase, telogen is the resting stage, exogen is the active shedding of hair phase and kenogen is the phase between the empty hair follicle and the growth of new hair.[1]

The function of hair in humans has long been a subject of interest and continues to be an important topic in society, developmental biology and medicine. Of all mammals, humans have the longest growth phase of scalp hair compared to hair growth on other parts of the body.[1] For centuries, humans have ascribed esthetics to scalp hair styling and dressing and it is often used to communicate social or cultural norms in societies. In addition to its role in defining human appearance, scalp hair also provides protection from UV sun rays and is an insulator against extremes of hot and cold temperatures.[1] Differences in the shape of the scalp hair follicle determine the observed ethnic differences in scalp hair appearance, length and texture.

There are many human diseases in which abnormalities in hair appearance, texture or growth are early signs of local disease of the hair follicle or systemic illness. Well known diseases of the hair follicle include alopecia or hair loss, hirsutism or excess hair growth and lupus erythematosus.[2] The position and distribution of hair follicles changes over the body. For example, the skin of the palms and soles does not have hair follicles whereas skin of the scalp, forearms, legs and genitalia has abundant hair follicles.[1] There are many structures that make up the hair follicle. Anatomically, the triad of hair follicle, sebaceous gland and arrector pili muscle make up the pilosebaceous unit.[1]

A hair follicle consists of :

The papilla is a large structure at the base of the hair follicle.[3] The papilla is made up mainly of connective tissue and a capillary loop. Cell division in the papilla is either rare or non-existent.[contradictory]
Around the papilla is the hair matrix.
A root sheath composed of an external and internal root sheath. The external root sheath appears empty with cuboid cells when stained with H&E stain. The internal root sheath is composed of three layers, Henle's layer, Huxley's layer, and an internal cuticle that is continuous with the outermost layer of the hair fiber.
The bulge is located in the outer root sheath at the insertion point of the arrector pili muscle. It houses several types of stem cells, which supply the entire hair follicle with new cells, and take part in healing the epidermis after a wound.[4][5] Stem cells express the marker LGR5+ in vivo.[6]

Other structures associated with the hair follicle include the cup in which the follicle grows known as the infundibulum,[7] the arrector pili muscles, the sebaceous glands, and the apocrine sweat glands. Hair follicle receptors sense the position of the hair.

Attached to the follicle is a tiny bundle of muscle fiber called the arrector pili. This muscle is responsible for causing the follicle lissis to become more perpendicular to the surface of the skin, and causing the follicle to protrude slightly above the surrounding skin (piloerection) and a pore encased with skin oil. This process results in goose bumps (or goose flesh).

Also attached to the follicle is a sebaceous gland, which produces the oily or waxy substance sebum. The higher the density of the hair, the more sebaceous glands that are found.
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