The Hair Growth System – Why You Need to Understand it

The Hair Growth System - Why You Need to Understand it

The Hair Growth System – Why You Need to Understand it

Understanding the hair growth system can be very helpful when dealing the problem of removal of unwanted body hair.

Take a moment to educate yourself on the four main parts of the system so your efforts to address hair removal can be better directed.

The growth system is known as the pilosebaceous system.

The four main parts are:

Follicle – the hair canal
Papilla – the organ that feeds growth
Sebaceous Gland – the associated oil gland
Hair – shaft or structure which has hardened (keratinized)
The first part of the system, the hair follicle, is an indention in the skin.

The inside of each follicle therefore is much like the skin’s surface being an inward fold into the skin with a mechanism for producing a hair.

The lower portion of the follicle has an expanded shape and is called the follicle bulb where there is an area of actively dividing cells called the hair matrix.

This is the source of hair production. The follicle and the hair it produces continue through repeated cycles of growth and rest.


At the base of the follicle lies the second part of the hair growth system, a tiny bulb like structure made of skin-related cells called the dermal papilla which feeds the newly formed hair cells from its blood supply.

These newly formed hair cells grow continuously and die continuously, around the middle of the hair follicle, forming a hardened or keratinized structure – the hair shaft.

The shaft continues to grow outward from the follicle base until it becomes visible.

Sebaceous Gland

The sebaceous glands or oil glands make up the third part of the hair growth system and they are located close beneath the surface of the skin over the entire body.

There are a large number concentrated in the facial area. The oily material secreted is called sebum.

Sebum lubricates the hair shaft and the skin and provides some protection against infection.


The fourth part of the system, the papillary region, is often referred to as the “hair root,” the portion which grows below the surface of the skin which is contained within the follicle canal.

The shaft is the portion of the hair that grows above the skin surface.

Two Types

Generally speaking, two types of hair are produced by the follicle:

Vellus is like “peach fuzz” and it is normally found on a woman’s cheek or a young child. It is soft, downy and colorless. The follicles producing vellus hair are shallow, and the hair shaft produced is relatively short. Vellus hair is normal in women and is not treated with permanent removal techniques such as electrolysis.

Terminal is deeply rooted, coarse, and colored. Terminal hair begins as the peach fuzz type but later develops color and some degree of coarseness at which point it becomes the terminal type.

Terminal hair grows from the scalp, eyebrows, underarms, pubic area, and other parts of the body.

It is terminal hair which many people regard as unwanted and therefore try to remove it from certain body areas.

An Individual Matter

As each individual varies as to hair texture, rate of growth, skin sensitivity, etc. it follows that a removal method that works well for one may not work for another.

Experimentation is needed to find the removal method that works best with your hair growth system.