Integral hair lipid in human hair follicle

  • Won-Soo Lee
    Tel.: +82 33 741 0622; fax: +82 33 748 2650.
    Department of Dermatology and Institute of Hair and Cosmetic Medicine, Yonsei University, Wonju College of Medicine, 162 Ilsan-Dong, Wonju, Kangwon-Do 220-701, Republic of Korea
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Published:September 09, 2011DOI:


      Integral hair lipid (IHL) is bound to the keratinized cell surface to make an environmentally resistant lipid envelope. It is mainly positioned on the hair cuticle and inner root sheath. IHL in the hair follicle may regard as hair barrier to be similar to the epidermal lipid layer functioning as skin barrier. Major constituents of IHL are fatty acid, phytosphingosine, ceramide in decreasing order. Minor constituents of IHL are cholesterol, cholesterol sulfate and cholesterol oleate. Cuticle or cortical cell surface in hair are abundant in fatty acids unlike the keratinized area of epidermis or sebaceous gland, and about 30–40% of such fatty acids are composed of 18-methyl-eicosanoic acid which is known to be bound to proteins by ester or thioester bond. Various factors including moisture, solvent, oxidative damage during bleaching or permanent waving affect IHL. Photochemical changes also can occur in IHL as well as in hair protein and hair pigment. Lipid metabolism is thought to play an essential role in lipid envelope of hair, but also involvement in hair development and function.


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      Won-Soo Lee is a professor of Dermatology and Director of Institute of Hair and Cosmetic Medicine at the Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine in Wonju, Korea. His clinical and research interests include hair photoaging, integral hair lipid, hair cosmetology, and hair neurobiology. He, well known national and international lecturer, has presented more than 140 invited lectures. He has received 13 national and international awards and honors. He has published more than 170 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. He currently serves as secretary general of the Korean Hair Research Society. He received his medical degree in 1985 and received his PhD in 1992 from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. He completed dermatology residency at the Severance Hospital, Yonsei University in 1989.