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When exposed to the sun, why does your skin darken but your hair lighten?

  1. Jul 10, 2004 #1
    I know that when your skin is exposed to alot of sunlight it turns darker in order to try to absorb some of the light's energy, which can help avoid burns, but why does your hair become blonde?
     
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  3. Jul 11, 2004 #2

    Monique

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    Because the pigment in the hair breaks down under influence of the UV light, and since hair is dead no new pigment can be made.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2004 #3
    doesnt this mean the hair should turn to white and not blonde?
     
  5. Jul 11, 2004 #4

    Monique

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    White is the complete lack of pigment, blonde hair has very light pigment, the UV rays aren't strong enough to completely degrade all the pigment, so the hair will just become lighter than it originally was.
     
  6. Jul 11, 2004 #5
    so (a little bit offtopic) which hair has the strongest pigment: black or ginger?

    i go for ginger :surprise:
     
  7. Jul 11, 2004 #6

    Kerrie

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    it's ironic too because this tan look with sun kissed highlights is a look most women (and some men too) strive for, thus keeping the tanning salons and hair salons in business...
     
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