The biology of human hair: A multidisciplinary review

Sandra L. Koch, Silvana R. Tridico, Bruno A. Bernard, Mark Shriver, Nina G. Jablonski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

In the last century, human scalp hair morphology has been studied from multiple, and sometimes mutually exclusive, perspectives by anthropologists, biologists, geneticists, forensic scientists, and cosmetic scientists. Here, we review and synthesize historical and current research on hair to better understand the scientific basis and biological implications of hair microstructure and morphology. We revisit the origins of existing nomenclature regarding hair morphology and classifications, discuss the currently recognized limitations to hair analysis within the varied scientific disciplines studying hair, point out aspects of hair biology that remain unknown, and the great potential for integrating these diverse perspectives and expertise in future scientific investigations, while highlighting the benefits of combining nondestructive microscopical analysis with chemical and genomic analyses for explicating hair biology. Further, we propose consensus terminology for root growth stages through descriptions and images that will aid in the morphological and microscopical analysis of human scalp hair, thereby reducing confusion and the promulgation of inaccurate information that is presently in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23316
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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hair
Hair
trichomes
biology
Biological Sciences
scientific discipline
cosmetics
technical language
expertise
hairs
Scalp
Terminology
geneticists
terminology
microstructure
biologists
root growth
nomenclature
Cosmetics
developmental stages

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics

Cite this

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title = "The biology of human hair: A multidisciplinary review",
abstract = "In the last century, human scalp hair morphology has been studied from multiple, and sometimes mutually exclusive, perspectives by anthropologists, biologists, geneticists, forensic scientists, and cosmetic scientists. Here, we review and synthesize historical and current research on hair to better understand the scientific basis and biological implications of hair microstructure and morphology. We revisit the origins of existing nomenclature regarding hair morphology and classifications, discuss the currently recognized limitations to hair analysis within the varied scientific disciplines studying hair, point out aspects of hair biology that remain unknown, and the great potential for integrating these diverse perspectives and expertise in future scientific investigations, while highlighting the benefits of combining nondestructive microscopical analysis with chemical and genomic analyses for explicating hair biology. Further, we propose consensus terminology for root growth stages through descriptions and images that will aid in the morphological and microscopical analysis of human scalp hair, thereby reducing confusion and the promulgation of inaccurate information that is presently in the literature.",
author = "Koch, {Sandra L.} and Tridico, {Silvana R.} and Bernard, {Bruno A.} and Mark Shriver and Jablonski, {Nina G.}",
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The biology of human hair : A multidisciplinary review. / Koch, Sandra L.; Tridico, Silvana R.; Bernard, Bruno A.; Shriver, Mark; Jablonski, Nina G.

In: American Journal of Human Biology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - The biology of human hair

T2 - A multidisciplinary review

AU - Koch, Sandra L.

AU - Tridico, Silvana R.

AU - Bernard, Bruno A.

AU - Shriver, Mark

AU - Jablonski, Nina G.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

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AB - In the last century, human scalp hair morphology has been studied from multiple, and sometimes mutually exclusive, perspectives by anthropologists, biologists, geneticists, forensic scientists, and cosmetic scientists. Here, we review and synthesize historical and current research on hair to better understand the scientific basis and biological implications of hair microstructure and morphology. We revisit the origins of existing nomenclature regarding hair morphology and classifications, discuss the currently recognized limitations to hair analysis within the varied scientific disciplines studying hair, point out aspects of hair biology that remain unknown, and the great potential for integrating these diverse perspectives and expertise in future scientific investigations, while highlighting the benefits of combining nondestructive microscopical analysis with chemical and genomic analyses for explicating hair biology. Further, we propose consensus terminology for root growth stages through descriptions and images that will aid in the morphological and microscopical analysis of human scalp hair, thereby reducing confusion and the promulgation of inaccurate information that is presently in the literature.

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