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Split hair. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a split human head hair. The hair shows brush-like splitting at the end of the shaft. Hair consists of three distinct layers of dead cells containing keratin, a type of fibrous protein. There is an outer layer or cuticle, a cortex containing the pigments that give the hair its colour and an inner core or medulla. Hair may split due to excessive shampooing, bleaching, combing, blow-drying or simply because it is very long and therefore has a very old tip. Occasionally, brittle hair can be a sign of severe vitamin or mineral deficiency. Magnification: x300 at 6x6cm size.
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