• Question: Why does the sun make you hair lighter but your skin darker and how

    Asked by kirbykirbo00 to Andrew, Jade, Jessica, Kevin, Lynn on 19 Jun 2015.
    • Photo: Jess Wade

      Jess Wade answered on 19 Jun 2015:

      IT’s about melanin that is a molecule inside our hair and skin. There is something called melanin in our skin, that absorbs the sun light and turns a dark colour. Our hair contains melanin too, but unlike our skin our hair is dead not alive. In the hair, the sun destroys the melanin and zaps it out , so our hair goes lighter. The hair is dead so it will stay that colour until we get new hair.

    • Photo: Kevin Honeychurch

      Kevin Honeychurch answered on 21 Jun 2015:

      Melanin isn’t the only chemical being attacked by the sun. Chemical groups called a thiols when unoxidized, allow hair to slide easily across each other. When the sun oxidizes these thiols, they form a sulfonic acids; the hair then tends to stick together and tangle. Once the thiols on hair have been oxidized to sulfonic acids it is not easy to convert (reduce) them back.