We might think that hair would be simple, but it’s not. Anything living and growing has to be regulated–by design!
9 Do not speak to fools (mockers), for they will scorn the wisdom of your words.
For our last installment on hair, we go to WebMD. Here, we find a description of how hair follicles grow hair. Included is the sebaceous gland, which is very important to hair health.
Hair has two distinct structures – first, the follicle itself, which resides in the skin, and second, the shaft, which is what is visible above the scalp.
The hair follicle is a tunnel-like segment of the epidermis that extends down into the dermis. The structure contains several layers that all have separate functions. At the base of the follicle is the papilla, which contains capillaries, or tiny vessels that nourish the cells. The living part of the hair is the very bottom part surrounding the papilla, called the bulb. The cells of the bulb divide every 23 to 72 hours, remarkably faster than any other cell in the body.
Two sheaths, an inner and outer sheath, surround the follicle. These structures protect and form the growing hair shaft. The inner sheath follows the hair shaft and ends below the opening of a sebaceous (oil) gland, and sometimes an apocrine (scent) gland. The outer sheath continues all the way up to the gland. A muscle attaches below the gland to a fibrous layer around the outer sheath. When this muscle contracts, it causes the hair to stand up which also causes the sebaceous gland to secrete oil. The sebaceous gland is vital because it produces sebum, which conditions the hair and skin.
Hair has real significance in the Bible. Samson’s strength was in his hair (Judges 16:17-19); Absalom’s hair led to his demise (2 Samuel 18:9-15). Jesus’ beard was pulled out (Isaiah 50:6, 52:14); Paul had his hair cut to fulfill a vow (Acts 18:18). How is it significant to us? It’s one of the ways that God reminds us everyday that He designed us as His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). Every time you notice the hair on your head or face or arms, let it remind you of how much God loves you!
Abba, I thank You that at 61 I still have a (relatively) full head of hair. Even so, I know that “man looks on the outward appearance, but You look at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Regardless of my outward appearance, I want to look like You, Jesus, in character. I know that You are shaping me into Your image (Romans 8:29). May I be a willing vessel on the Potter’s wheel (Jeremiah 18:1-4). Amen.