Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Why Does The Sun Lighten Hair But Tan Skin? – ‘The Why’

Why Does The Sun Lighten Hair But Tan Skin? – ‘The Why’

Welcome to today’s edition of The Why.

Everywhere you look the media is pushing you telling you who to follow, what to watch and when to watch it.   You’re even sometimes told how to do it all.  Truth is, here at American Live Wire we do a bit of that too.  The big difference is we also tell you why.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin?” you ask? Someone is anxious for summer, huh? Winter a bit too cold for ya?

why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin

Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin? Image: HealthFamilyPlus

We’ll see. All too soon your next question just might be: “Why does summer have to be so d@mn hot? But, OK, let’s get right into this edition’s question: Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin?”

Ultra-violet or “UV” rays from the sun set off the production of melanin in your skin. Melanin is basically a brownish even black pigment that aids in filtering out the UV rays. UV rays are dangerous—duh!

Another thing that happens in response to the UV rays is something called Melanogenesis . . . (featuring melanoPhilCollins. . . oh never mind). Melanogenesis is basically delayed tanning. You cells work to ramp up the production of melanin pigment.

More melanocytes are produced and they are darker too. As more of the darker melanocytes are created, your skin becomes darker. (Of course, this only answers the last half of our question: Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin?” What about hair, right?)

Again, you ask: Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin?” OK. This is where things get hairy. There is melanin in our hair but it’s dead.

Your hair can’t make more melanin. What is there is inert. It stays that way until an “outside force” as they say affects it.

why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin

Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin? Image: MyHealthTips

Enter something like hair dye or in this case sunlight. When your hair is exposed to significant sunlight for long periods of time, your hair gets lighter in color because the UV rays break the melanin molecules down into less colorful compounds. (Science does not have 100 percent conclusive proof of exactly how this happens though and that’s another questions anyway!)

Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin?” The melanin in skin and hair is meant to safeguard other tissue. In our skin it is renewed so our skin darkens. In our hair it is not.

Why does the sun lighten hair but tan skin?” Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

American Live Wire . . . Listen and be heard.

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.