Sunday, 10 February 2013

Short pieces

Since there always seems to be some confusing about those short pieces whenever they are brought up on hair forums, I think I will try to push my luck and try to explain those…

The short pieces by the temples are simply a fact on a head of hair. There isn’t anything you can do to make them grow (much) longer or stronger. These pieces have a shorter life span than the rest of your hair. It’s genetically pre-set like that. The active growing phase of hair is called the anagen phase and usually said to be up to 7 years, but we all know that isn’t true.

One of the theories on why any living thing lives so and so long is that each cell only has a certain number of mitoses it can do. That’s where a normal body cell “copies itself” although that’s a wrong way to put it since it really splits itself into two identical new cells. But just like taking a copy of a copy, things will eventually go wrong and the complex process replicating will end up with errors in the DNA. (This is what can also result in cancer) This will eventually lead to faults in the code and cells won’t be able to fulfil their job as well. Slowly, the complex mechanisms in the cells will break down. Every single function a cell can perform is the result of reading the DNA sequence correctly, this gives the cell the “recipes” it needs.

The theory is that it’s the same reason you go grey in that area first. Because those pieces have a shorter life span before the follicles stop producing the hair strand (Called the catagen and telogen phase) and ejects the strand from the follicle, the theory is that you have only so many “life spans” of each strand before the genetic code and efficiency of the follicle cells starts to deteriorate. This is where the errors start to show by colour changing in the hair strand.

Normally the different kinds of melanin which gives hair its colour will be deposited in the inner parts of the hair strand (The cortex) The outer parts of the human hair is quite see-through, so “colour” is determined by what melanin types are deposited inside the strands. Take away all the melanin and you are left with the “surface” only of hair. Its just like with the polar bear: Its fur is actually see-through, but the light reflects on it and gives it the appearance of being white. “White” is really the colour of all light being reflected back by the surface instead of being absorbed.

Of course in my opinion, I see a problem in assuming that the catagen and telogen somehow is more demanding on hair than the catagen and telogen phase and causes the follicle-cells in that phase to deteriorate faster than the other follicles. Maybe it’s like how some light bulbs has only so many “switches” in it… Leaving it on for long periods of time is no problem, but turning it on and off is what determines how long it lives. 
Or maybe it’s like how if you have a damaged nail and needs to have it pulled off or otherwise removed, it grows back increasingly weird if it happens more than once. Normal, undamaged nails seems to have no problems like this.
Of course that is just my personal speculations and maybe I’m trying to draw parallels that make no sense.

Maybe it’s a genetically set thing to show a certain age. Just like when a silverback gorilla actually gets… Well, a silver back. Maybe us humans going grey like that is supposed to happen to show that we were smart and resourceful to live long enough to go grey and show to our tribe that we are someone to listen to. Of course, again, that’s just my personal speculation. 

The fact remains though, that certain areas of your scalp grows sparser, finer and has a shorter life cycle than the rest. And this seems to be the same for everyone no matter your hair type or what ever your growth pattern otherwise seems to be. The same areas seem to be affected first if you should experience any kind of hair loss.

But course in my opinion, those short pieces are just super irritating. 


  1. A very interesting post. Thanks for putting it up.
    BTW your writing is better than most native English speakers....

  2. One thing I've noticed is that yours have grown--I've had similar pieces that take what feels like ages to grow to the same length as my other hair, and by then, new ones have started--exactly in the same place as yours. Since I have bangs, I don't find them as bothersome, but when I saw yours, I was almost like 'I'm not the only one!!".

  3. indi500fan: I cant help but feel a bit insulted on behalf of all the people in this world that haven’t been born in an English speaking country you would be so surprised, no matter your intelligence or standards of school you could possibly reach the level of a native English speaker…

    Darkhorse: Hey, are yours asymmetrical too? My “pieces” are a lot more dominant or cover a larger area in the left than the right. But YAY, you think mine have grown, that is great! XD

    1. I wouldn't say dominant--in fact, they switch over--I will have those pieces on one side for awhile, then they somehow disappear and new ones form on the other side. That being said, I always found the left side to have 'more'. Weird! And yes--yours have grown!! I found mine were SO SLOW in growing, then all of a sudden, they were gone! And in the same area as yours. Right now I'm dealing with pre-menopausal shedding so I have new growth everywhere. Glad, but wow--what crazy halo of hairs I have. :D

  4. Actually my comment was more of a snark on native English speakers. It appears to me the level of grammar and punctuation has declined drastically in the age of the internet.

  5. I liked the braided bun, it was lovely and I liked the pigtails. I don 't really care, but were you born in Sweden or are you from the US. Again you have great hair and it looks much better long than short, no offense intended if you are offended.

  6. I’m Danish of nationality and I lived in Denmark until 3 years ago where I moved to Sweden with my Swedish hubby.