Does Ethnicity Affects Hair Types?

by Monica C.

Posted on Tuesday 14th of April 2009

Does ethnicity have anything to do with your hair? Of course it does; from a biological perspective, race and ethnicity are deciding factors on what type of hair you’ll have and what particular strength your hair has.

Caucasians Hair

For some reason, Caucasians appear as if they have the least amount of hair. Examinations of Caucasian scalps reveal that even though they have the thinnest hair, they have the most number of hair. This means that Caucasians actually have a lot of hair. This translates to better head insulation and more hair to lose during balding.

This is also the reason why many Caucasians are alarmed when male-pattern baldness activates itself during late twenties or even earlier. From having thick, manageable hair a person is suddenly faced with possibility of a gradually receding hairline that slowly moves away from the front of the face to the top of the skull.

Asians Hair

A lot of people observe that Asians seem to have the thickest and most resilient heads of hair around. This is partially correct. Asians do tend to have at least 150 hairs per cm2 (a contrast to a Caucasian’s 200). However, Asian hair is absolutely the thickest. Asian hair is also usually coarse, which means this particular hair type is most resistant to shearing stresses.

Thick and coarse hair is not a curse: it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Since many Asians reside near the hot, equatorial regions of the Earth, the thick hair allows them to withstand the heat of the tropics. One can say that even their hair has acclimatized well to the tropics.

This is also the reason why Asian hairs tend to undergo an adaptation phase when Asians go to dry and cold places. The sudden loss of the warm and moist environment is something that Asian hair can adapt to, but not immediately.

Suffice to say that Asians adapt very well to extremes of temperature if they’ve lived in an area long enough.

African-Americans Hair

Our African-American brothers have yet another common thing with Caucasians: their hair. It might appear that African-American individuals have incredibly few, coarse hairs to begin with. But did you know that that African-Americans have the finest hairs around, comparable to Caucasians?

You might be wondering now, why do African-Americans appear to have thick, short hair if they really have fine hair? The answer is simple: the fine hairs are actually bunched together quite closely, which creates the illusion that they African-Americans have short hair.

After a quick comparison with the Asian and Caucasian types, it appears that the African-American hair variant is lesser in number per square centimeter. With only 130 cm2, Asians and Caucasians beat the African-American variant by an average of 20-70 strands.

The Case of Braiding

Is braiding harmful or not? Some doctors would disagree, but if the braid is not too tight and is still loose enough to let the hair hang naturally by the roots, then the braiding should be fine.

Braid-patterned baldness appears only when hair is constricted to a point that the scalp begins to develop micro-tears. These micro-tears might not be visible to the naked eye, but they exist, nonetheless.

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