We can spend a lot of time thinking about our hair. Most of those thoughts have to do with appearance; we fret about how to cut and style it or worry about it thinning or falling out. But while we may expend our mental energy on how our hair looks, we rarely pause to think about what our hair does. Like most aspects of human anatomy, hair serves a purpose, both today and in our evolutionary development over the millennia.
Our ancient ancestors were much hairier than modern humans, so many of the functions that hair had back in the day are less vital or noticeable than they are now. That said, human hair had and/or still retains many functions, including:
- Warmth. While the reasons for the decrease in hair in humans remain unclear, it may coincide with humans finding other ways – clothing and shelter – to shield themselves from the cold and other elements. But the hair we still have still kept us warm. Cold temperatures make our muscles contract which in turn make our hairs stand upright. This traps air and insulates the body from the cold.
- Safety. Our ancestors faced dangers and predators that we haven’t had to deal with for a long time. Early warning and awareness of threats could mean the difference between life and death. Our hair extends our sensory capabilities and sense of touch alerting us to external stimuli quicker. Think of how your hairs alert you to the presence of a fly; the insect’s displacement of the hair gives you a heads-up that it is about to annoy you before it lands on your skin.
- Protection. Why did humans keep hair on the tops of their heads while losing so much elsewhere in the body? Human ancestors didn’t always stand or walk upright, but when they started doing so, the top of the head was the part of the body most directly exposed to the harsh rays of the sun. Hair provides important natural protection against the sun’s UV rays, which why it is so important for individuals who are bald or have thinning hair to apply scalp sunscreen when they spend time in the sun.
- Attraction and Self-Expression. Few body parts can be manipulated, transformed, or used as a vehicle for self-expression as much as our hair. It is a way we distinguish ourselves from others, whether to project a specific image or make ourselves more attractive to potential mates.
It is this last function of hair which motivates so many people to seek help when they start having hair loss issues; few hair restoration patients seek treatment because they feel cold or want an early-warning system for insects. Losing hair can take away a vital element of self-esteem and self-image. At the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami, we understand the psychological impact hair loss can have, and we work with each patient to develop and implement individually tailored hair loss solutions that not only restore hair but restore confidence and improve quality of life.
Schedule an appointment with the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami today by calling 305.925.0222. We look forward to assisting you.