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Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Why Does My Hair Turn Light in the Sun?

Why Does My Hair Turn Light in the Sun?

Hair color comes from a pigment, melanin that is added to your hair as it is made in the skin of your scalp. Melanin helps protect our skin and hair by filtering out potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

During the summer, when you stay outdoors for long periods of time, some of the hair pigment is destroyed or bleached by the sun, and your hair becomes lighter in color.

If your hair contains lots of pigment and is very dark, the bleaching of some of its pigment would not be noticeable. But if your hair does not have much pigment and is already light-colored, then the bleaching of some of its pigment will be noticeable.

It does seem weird that the sun bleaches our hair and darkens our skin. This mostly has to do with hair being dead and skin being alive. The sun bleaches and destroys the melanin in your hair giving you lighter hair.

Since hair is dead, the hair will stay that color until new hair comes in. When sun shines on your skin, it destroys the melanin as well. But since your skin is alive, it can respond to the sun’s damage.
Your skin cells make more melanin and your skin becomes darker.

So, tanned skin and bleached hair may be a sign that someone is spending too much time in the sun. Try to keep your skin light and your hair dark by wearing sunscreen and a hat!

Content for this question contributed by Heide Booritch, resident of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, USA