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By David M. Stoll

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The cells of the hair follicle grow upward toward the center Page 17 shaft. When those cells die they are compacted into the protein substance known as hair, just as the dead cells in the stratum corneum are compacted into keratin. Warm weather stimulates hair growth; freezing temperatures stifle growth. Warm weather stimulates hair growth; freezing temperatures stifle growth. Emotional or physical stress sometimes will cause hair to go into the resting (telogen) phase. Baldness occurs when the hairs go into a permanent telogen phase (see chapter 7).

5 millimeters on the heel of the foot. The epidermis itself is made up of four layersthe stratum corneum, the stratum granulosum, the squamous cell layer, and the basal cell layereach of which performs an important function. The stratum corneum, or horny layer, is the outer coating of the epidermis. It consists of compacted dead cells called keratin, a dried-out protein. This is the layer of the skin that we feel and see. It can be smooth, soft, oily, flaky (as in dry skin), or quite thickened (as in psoriasis).

Nine persons who were markedly obese (with an average weight of 465 pounds) lost an average of seventy pounds over a two-month period. Skin biopsies before and after the two-month period revealed that the epidermis was thinned out, even though these people were still quite obese after their weight loss. This indicates that rapid weight loss can lead to thinning of the skin. Another study, at Boston University School of Medicine, evaluated the sebaceous (oil) gland response to prolonged caloric deprivation.

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