Children’s hair is physically different than adult’s. Much like skin, hair changes over time. While parents and stylists can easily observe the obvious structural differences, science explains the physical changes that occur with growth and development. These unique characteristics require specialized products that are lighter than traditional formulas.
By the 22nd week of pregnancy, a fetus’ head has one million hair follicles! This is the largest number a person will have, as new ones don’t appear throughout the lifespan. The density of follicles decreases as our bodies grow.
At age one, hair strands are rounder than they ultimately become in adulthood. Hair flattens with increasing age.
The medulla, the central core of the hair, is a developmental characteristic related to age. The presence of a medulla is often associated with coarser hair. Naturally, hair tends to be softer and finer in childhood as a result of the absence of a medulla.
Children’s hair tends to darken with age, most rapidly between six and 18 years old. Because young hair has less melanin (pigment) than its mature counterpart, it is more transparent than adult’s. Transparency decreases with age, so younger hair might appear cooler (less red) in appearance.
During infancy, hormone levels are subdued. Sebum, hair’s protective waxy coating, builds every 2-3 days in the average adult. Babies and children with sensitive skin, however, experience much longer intervals. As a result, daily washing is not required. In the early phases of life the chemical structure of the hair is still in the formation stage.