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  • Neil: Welcome to 6 Minute English, where today we

  • introduce a hair-raising topic and six

  • items of vocabulary.

  • Tim: I'm Tim. So what's hair-raising about

  • today's topic, Neil? Hair-raising means scary

  • but also exciting!

  • Neil: We're talking about hair, which may

  • be exciting for some, but definitely won't

  • be scary.

  • Tim: Hair-raising is a real thing, though,

  • isn't it? Our hairs do rise!

  • Neil: Yes, Tim, they do. We get goose bumps when we're

  • cold, scared, or excited.

  • Tim: But other mammals do it better than us. Cats fluff

  • up when they see other cats they

  • don't like.

  • Neil: That's true. We can't fluff up because

  • we don't have enough body hair.

  • Tim: I suppose we used to be as hairy as gorillas if you

  • go back a million years or so.

  • Neil: Do you know why we lost so much hair, Tim?

  • Tim: Isn't it because it allowed us to sweat more easily?

  • This meant we didn't get so hot

  • and tired, we could run faster and for longer and catch

  • more animals to eat!

  • Neil: That sounds like a good theory. But

  • do you have a theory on how many hair follicles

  • the human body has today?

  • Tim: What's a hair follicle?

  • Neil: A hair follicle is the organ that produces

  • a hair underneath the skin. Now answer the

  • question, Tim. How many hair follicles does

  • the human body have today? Is it...

  • a) 500,000,

  • b) 5 million or

  • c) 50 million?

  • Tim: 50 million sounds about right.

  • Neil: Did you know that men have more

  • than women, Tim?

  • Tim: No, I didn't - but it makes sense since

  • men are usually hairier than women.

  • Neil: On their faces, but not necessarily

  • on their heads!

  • Tim: Are you referring to the fact that men

  • of a certain age can be follically challenged?

  • Neil: If you're follically challenged it means

  • you're losing your hair! Having little or

  • no hair is called baldness. And if you've

  • reached a certain age it means you aren't

  • young any more!

  • Tim: Why is our hair so important to us, Neil?

  • When we aren't worrying about going bald,

  • we're busy shaving, waxing, plucking, and

  • trimming the stuff. When I say 'we' of course

  • I'm referring to people in general. Not myself.

  • Neil: Well, a good head of hair indicates

  • health and youth. And hair on your face - facial

  • hair - shows when boys have reached manhood.

  • Tim: On the other hand, going grey or losing

  • your hair shows you're getting older.

  • Neil: Hair today, gone tomorrow?

  • Tim: Bad joke, Neil!

  • Neil: Sorry! It's true that hair on your head

  • shows signs of aging, but this isn't true

  • of all human hair. Let's listen to Ralf Paus,

  • a leading hair loss researcher, talking about

  • this.

  • Ralf Paus, hair loss researcher: The eyebrows

  • get stronger usually in aging men, the hairs

  • in your nose and in your ears get stronger

  • - and what a miracle of nature that an organ

  • - when the entire body is aging - actually

  • grows stronger. So we may even be able to

  • learn from hair follicles how not to age.

  • Tim: Hmm. I'm not sure I would swap a good

  • head of hair for thick eyebrows and nose hair.

  • How about you, Neil?

  • Neil: I agree! But let's hear more from Ralf

  • Paus about why some hair gets stronger as

  • you get older.

  • Ralf Paus, hair loss researcher: The hair

  • follicle apparently knows some tricks that

  • the other organs don't know. So it's continuously

  • regenerating itself. It goes through a so-called

  • hair cycle and part of that we know pretty

  • well - and that is, these stem cells that

  • it uses to regenerate cells.

  • Tim: So a hair follicle can regenerate cells

  • - or grow new cells to replace old or damaged

  • ones. But if that's only true for eyebrows,

  • nose and ear hair, I am not that impressed!

  • I want hairs on my head to be able to regenerate!

  • Neil: The important thing here is that these

  • cells in the hair follicle may help scientists

  • discover a way to stop other organs of the

  • body aging. OK, I'm now going to reveal how

  • many hair follicles on average we have on

  • our bodies. The answer is... 5 million.

  • Tim: Oh. So not 50 million then.

  • Neil: Don't worry, Tim! It was a tricky question!

  • Now let's go over the words we learned today.

  • Tim: 'Hair-raising' means scary often in an

  • exciting way. For example, 'That ride on the

  • rollercoaster was a hair-raising experience!'

  • Neil: Next is 'hair follicle' - the organ

  • that produces a hair underneath the skin.

  • Tim: 'Scientists believe that stress can affect

  • hair follicles.'

  • Neil: A number of things can affect hair follicles

  • actually - age, disease, diet...

  • Tim: OK, but we haven't got all day, Neil.

  • So let's move on to the next item. 'Baldness',

  • which means having little or no hair on your head.

  • Neil: 'My grandfather is bald and he always

  • wears a hat to cover his baldness.'

  • Tim: Nice example. Is your grandpa actually

  • bald, Neil?

  • Neil: No - he has a fine head of hair. Now,

  • if you are a certain age, it means you are

  • no longer young. For example.

  • Tim: 'All the people at the party were of

  • a certain age'.

  • Neil: How many of them had facial hair, Tim?

  • That's our next word, and 'facial' means to

  • do with the face.

  • Tim: 'None of the people at the party had

  • facial hair.' There's your answer!

  • Neil: That's unusual, Tim. Lots of men have

  • beards these days. OK - our final word for

  • today is 'regenerate' which means to grow

  • again. You can talk about regenerating a range

  • of things, for example.

  • Neil: 'The council has plans to regenerate

  • this part of the city.'

  • Tim: 'Regeneration of parts of the city is

  • in progress.' 'Regeneration' is the noun.

  • Neil: Well, it's time to go now. But if today's

  • show gave you goosebumps please let us know

  • by visiting our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

  • pages and telling us about it!

  • Tim: Bye-bye!

  • Neil: Goodbye!

Neil: Welcome to 6 Minute English, where today we

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B1 UK hair follicle regenerate raising hair loss neil neil

BBC 6 Minute English - Learn to talk about hair in 6 minutes

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    Vincent Hsu posted on 2017/10/23
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