Scanning Microscopy


The present study was performed to provide a better understanding of the morphological variations of mammalian hair. Terminal hair samples were obtained from different regions of the body of the same Caucasian male. All hair samples were either cleaned or treated before being examined with scanning electron microscopy. As human scalp hair grew it appeared small like lanugo hair, but the increase in diameter appeared to have been relatively rapid. As hair increased in diameter the appearance of the scales changed. Neck hair was slightly smaller in diameter than scalp hair, and axillary hair was slightly smaller in diameter than neck hair. Nostril hair was larger than scalp or axillary hair. Eyelash hair was much smaller and much shorter than eyebrow hair. Neck hair, forearm hair, and shin hair were smaller than hair from most other regions of the body. Chest hair was similar in size to scalp hair, and pubic and sideburn hair were larger than scalp hair. A morphological feature called "steak-boning" was more characteristically present in whiskers of Caucasoids than Orientals or Blacks. "Steak-boning" occurred most frequently in hair of the mustache, followed by that of the chin, sideburn, cheek and under the chin. Cut surfaces of whiskers were different for electric as compared with straightedge razors. Hair morphology varied relative to the body region. Computer analysis of resin-embedded hair made it possible to classify arm, mustache, cheek, chin, head, shin, and pubic hair, and to quantify cross-sectioned differences.

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