Everyone seems to know the basics, hair is made of dead cells. Beyond that we only know to shampoo it, comb it and try to prevent split ends. So how exactly is this hair formed when we have plenty of other dead cells falling off our skin all the time?
The key is a substance called keratin. When the cells die it leaves a cylinder of keratin, an extremely strong protein. So strong in fact, that the only biological material stronger than keratin is chitin. Now before you go bragging about how strong your keratin is to all those bald friends you need to know that their are types of keratin. It just happens to be that the keratin that makes up the hair on your head is not near as tough as that which makes up the claws and scales of reptiles.
So yes, their keratins could beat up your keratins.
While completely lifeless, hair does contain minerals, fats, and water (10%). So, if you are ever on a deserted island you could survive just a little longer on a nice fistful of hair. However, growing on average 1 cm a month means this food supply isn’t very replenishable. Eat wisely.