If you are interested in hair grafting, you will surely have heard or read about the hair follicle. This is the essence of the intervention to put hair, whatever type it is, and that is why it is essential to know it in depth.

What is the hair follicle?

A hair follicle is a skin area with a high density of stem cells that enables hair growth. This is achieved by means of a highly active tubular invagination, one of the largest, in fact, in our entire body. Throughout the whole process it provides shelter and enables nutrients to reach the hair.

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Hair follicle characteristics

It is made up of:

  • Sebaceous glands. These, rich in lipid cells, produce, as you can imagine, the sebum that lubricates our hair so that it can glide properly through the layers of the skin to project outwards. They are not found specifically inside the follicle but are attached to it in an area to provide it with oil.
  • In the follicle is the hair bulb, which is like the basket or pot in which each hair will grow. At its base is a network of very thin blood vessels that supply oxygen to the hair.
  • This, in turn, includes some layers of basal cells that are the precursors of the cellular parts that will travel to our scalp.
  • Germ cells. They are located below the bulb and are arranged in two groups of three concentric rings; the outer ones create the hair sheath, the inner ones form the hair itself.
  • Dermal papilla. This is a small cone-shaped area at the base of the follicle from which the cells that will make up the hair in that follicle originate. It is responsible for controlling the entire hair cycle and is made up of fibroblastic cells.
  • Erector muscle. It is oblique, works with the adjacent dermis and is inserted in the papilla. It is the muscle that raises the hair (by contraction).
  • Follicular canal. This happens to be the area through which the hair grows and makes its way.
  • Apocrine sweat glands. They are found exclusively in the follicles of the genitals and armpits.

Hair follicle and hair transplantation

The hair follicle is part of what is called a follicular unit. This includes a grouping of follicles, ranging from one to four. This depends on a person's genetic characteristics such as hair colour or race. Blondes and Caucasians are the most fortunate, as each follicular unit contains three or four follicles, with their corresponding three or four hairs.

Therefore, there are people who have as many follicular units as follicles (Asians) and others who have many more hairs than units.

This is of great interest in hair grafting as we work with follicular units. Therefore, depending on the characteristics of the person, a hair treatment of this type can involve the implantation of 4000 or 16000 hairs, depending on how many hair follicles there are in your follicular units.

Thus, the same treatment can offer really different results. For this reason, it is always best to carry out a preliminary study in which a professional determines this and other aspects and can give you a general assessment and a realistic forecast of final success according to your characteristics.

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