Relationships between hair growth rate and morphological parameters of human straight hair: a same law above ethnical origins?

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Apr;34(2):111-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2011.00687.x. Epub 2011 Oct 21.


After measurement of individual growth rates, natural hair fibres from Asian and Caucasian subjects were analysed using scanning electron microscopy. In total, more than 1000 hairs were analysed. Measurements of diameter, medulla and interscale distance (average distance between two successive cuticle scales) show these parameters strongly correlated with hair growth rate. A thicker hair fibre corresponds to a faster growth rate, a shorter interscale distance and greater probability to have a medulla, and vice versa, a thin hair fibre shows slower growth rate, a larger interscale distance and a lower probability to have a medulla. Very interestingly, this finding appears to be unrelated to the ethnic origin of the subjects, suggesting a common characteristic of human hair, at least for the straight or semi-straight hair studied. From a practical viewpoint, this finding clearly suggests an alternative method for measuring hair growth rates, by measuring the interscale distance, which appears easier than using common laboratory equipments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Probability