Thick and dense hair.
Sometimes there is come confusion around thick hair! The fact that people see thick hair as the opposite of thin hair is the most common misconception related to the thickness of hair. The opposite of thick hair is fine hair instead of thin hair, while the closest opposite of thinning hair would be voluminous hair. The thickness of human hair applies to the diameter of the hair while thinning hair refers to the gradual decrease in the number of hair strands on the scalp. In other words, thinning hair is about hair density rather than the width of individual hair strands. Thickness refers to the width of a single strand of hair, while density looks at how many thin or thick strands are collectively in a group. This means that someone can have fine hair that’s also very dense. Alternatively, a person can also have thick hair that is not dense. The combinations are (somewhat) endless.
Thick Hair & Health
Both thick hair and voluminous hair can be seen as markers of hair health. For instance, healthier hair tends to be thicker in diameter than hair that is not healthy. Similarly, healthier people tend to have more hair strands or more voluminous hair than people dealing with major deficiencies or illnesses. The volume of hair on your scalp and the thickness of individual strands are both susceptible to aging as well. For example, someone coping with androgenetic alopecia or even alopecia areata will first see his hair strands become thinner and weaker before they break or fall off.
Our genetic make-up decides whether we have thick or thin hair. Europeans consider hair with a diameter of 0.04 to 0.06 mm as thin, hair with a diameter between 0.06 and 0.08 mm as normal, and hair with a diameter between 0.08 and 0.1 mm as thick. By comparison with European hair, Asian hair is significantly thicker. The average diameter of Asian hair is 0.08 to 0.12 mm. European hair has a somewhat elliptical shape, while Asian hair is rounder and more elastic. Africans fall somewhere in the middle in terms of thickness of hair, but they don’t have the same density as other ethnic groups.
Does the Thickness of Hair Vary on Your Scalp?
The thickness of the hair is always given as an approximate or average value. There’s a simple reason for this, i.e. the thickness of hair varies. It varies not only from one person to another but also from one strand to another. Your hair strands could measure anything between 0.04mm to 0.12mm depending on a wide variety of variables. For example, if you pluck a hair strand from the crown of your head and one from the fringes, you’re likely to see a variation. This variation extends to time too. The thickness of one hair strand will vary according to when you measure it. For instance, your hair will be thicker in younger years and finer later. Similarly, if you measure your hair in a very humid environment, you’ll find it to be thicker than if you were to measure it in arid environments. Furthermore, darker coloured hair is usually thicker than lighter coloured hair. As a result, jet black hair is the thickest of all, while blonde hair is the thinnest. This is partly because of the presence or absence of hair pigment!
Understanding Your Hair
So as we can see from the above, hair density and thickness are not one the same, but they do work together as a team to make up your hair profile. Learning how to differentiate between the two will give you a better understanding of what's happening with your hair and how to care for it.