UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
In the summer when I go to the beach, my hair gets a lot lighter. What is it that causes it to go that? Is it the sun, saltwater, or both?
Question Date: 2004-03-09
Answer 1:

I did some web search and here is what I found: Sunlight damages hair just like it damages skin and the lighter the hair the easier it gets damaged.

This is a photochemical damage to the hair shaft that breaks down the sulfur bonds and the hair becomes fragile. The hair pigments that are vulnerable to chemical modification by this photo-bleaching process lose color.

Rearrangements in the pigments molecular structure changes the way light is absorbed and reflected.

A similar effect can be caused by chemical bleaching by the hair stylist or from chlorine in a swimming pool by a process called chemical bleaching.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use