If you one of the people who sport a cowlick, you are actually blessed. Read up on why you should feel privileged rather than annoyed next time you try to put the whirl in your hair under control.
If you wonder what actually is a cowlick, it has nothing to do with an actual lick from a cow (although it resembles its imagined aftereffect), but with genetics. If your hair flicks up just a little at the front of your hairline, that means you are the proud wearer of a cowlick.
Incredibly, it is believed the name dates back at least five centuries. A book published in the XVI century contains the line: “The lockes or plaine feakes of haire called cow-lickes, are made turning upwards.”
A visual explanation of this unique phenomenon
The flicks are not necessarily located at the front
Cowlicks can be located anywhere in a head full of hair and are sometimes referred to as ‘hair whirls’
Some famous cowlick-wearers include Brad Pitt…
…and Lindsay Lohan who said her hair “stands straight up or lies at an angle at odds with the style in which the rest of an individual’s hair is worn”
Although it can be annoying for both the carrier and their hairdresser, new research has suggested that having a cowlick might be connected to some serious health benefits which include a lesser risk of cancers and tumors.
A team of researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) claims to have discovered a link between this hair trait and a particular health supporting gene that can be ‘turned on’ by people with cowlicks. According to the research’s findings, if you have a cowlick in your hair, you are more likely to have a certain tumor-suppressing protein in your genetic code.
This cancer-suppressing protein helps with cell reproduction and DNA repair, as well as cellular self-destruction, which means it could help one fight off cancers in their body.
The hairstyle is only possible with the help of so-called “polarity genes”, which help direct nutrient flow across cells and help cells join up and support each other. They also cause certain biological structures to form opposing or ‘polarized’ patterns including the human hair, which in some instances, leads to the cowlick.
The theory was tested on fruit flies, who have a high genetic similarity to humans
By carefully examining the processes controlling polarity genes in the common fruit fly group Drosophila, the MSU researchers uncovered what organizes and governs these polarity genes. Curiously, it’s a protein that normally suppresses tumors called retinoblastomas, a type of cancer that typically spreads in the eyes of young children.
Via Viral Thread / Image
The suppressor protein is part of a large family of so-called ‘cellular guardians’ that control cell reproduction, DNA repair, and cellular self-destruction, all of which are important cancer-fighting tools. When researchers removed the retinoblastoma suppressor protein from the fruit flies, the subjects started acquiring an “unkempt” appearance, including the development poorly-oriented wing hair.
If the cancer-suppressing qualities of your cowlick are still not enough of a counterpart to your hair’s chaotic appearance, here is a video on how to keep it in check more easily.