Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is my hair this colour? Obviously, the answer is because of genetics. But why some of us have red, brown, blond or black hair colour and all other different shades?
Well, there is an explanation for this, called melanin which is produced by melanocyte cells.
As it occurs in the skin and in the eyes, the melanin is in charge of the colour of hair. And it is in the cortex where the melanin is found. The cortex is transparent and gives the hair its natural colour.
The activity of the melanocytes is aligned with the hair cycle so it is developed during the anagen phase. So depending on the pigments of that melanin, melanin can be:
- Eumelanin: the most common. It gives hair brown and black colour.
- Pheomelanin: contains sulphur and is less frequently found. It gives the yellow and red colour of hair. It is also found in our pinkish lips.
- Trichosiderin: contains iron and is the least prevalent. This is related to Pheomelanin and gives the red colour of hair.
Therefore melanin gives hair its colour and depending on the percentage of the type of melanin, we will have one shade or another.
- Black hair: 99% eumelanin and 1% pheomelanin
- Blond hair: 95% eumelanin and 5% pheomelanin
- Red hair: 67% eumelanin and 33% pheomelanin or trichosiderin
And what happens when hair turns white?
Well, simply. It is a loss of colour generally due to natural aging. However, it could appear at any age because of other factors such as: high level of stress, illness, poor diet, smoking, genetic, etc.
White hair appears gradually, under the form of grey hair. Some hair shafts start to lose colour, because they lose the amount of melanin they used to have, until they do not have anymore and turn completely white.
It can occur in any race and it is a lack of pigment in hair, eyes, and skin. It is congenital and gives a very pale look. This absence of melanin causes a hair, skin, and eyes to be left unprotected from the sun, so those who have albinism have a higher probability of getting skin cancer.
6 Fun facts
- The least common human combination is blue eyes and red hair.
- Red hair never turns white.
- Black is the most common hair colour in the world.
- Only 2% of the world population is a natural blonde.
- There are more shades of brown hair than any other hair shade.
- Caucasians go grey earlier.
I hope you enjoy it.
See you around!