We all know that hair comes in a great variety of shapes, lengths and textures. But what actually is the root of all this diversity? We’re going to take a closer look at another crucial aspect that makes our hair unique to us – colour.
Colours and Pigment
Blond, black, grey, brown, beige, white, auburn, red – there are a huge number of different hair colours, but amazingly, all of them are due to varying amounts of only two pigments – eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Eumelanin is a dark pigment, which creates all colours from blond to jet-black. In addition to providing colour, eumelanin has the ability to absorb UV-A and UV- B radiation, offering protection from the sun. It is for this reason that it is also found in a specialised kind of skin cell, known as melanocytes, which reproduce when the skin is exposed to bright sunlight to provide us with a form of ‘natural sunblock’. This does not mean people with darker skin should not wear suncream, however – despite the popular myth.
Pheomelanin, a structurally similar molecule to Eumelanin, is a paler colour – providing a reddish colour in the hair. As with hair structure, the natural colour of one’s hair is largely determined by genetics, although other factors can play a part. Hair tends to bleach in the sun, for example, and as we get older, the ability of our hair follicles to produce both kinds of melanin is diminished, leaving us with greying, silvery or even white hair.
Hair Dye and Hair Loss
There is a widespread belief that excessive hair dying can cause hair loss. However, according to Dr. Elena Koleva, dermatologist at The Belgravia Centre, there is absolutely no scientific proof that excessive colouring causes an individual to lose their hair. “There is no evidence to show that colouring of the hair can cause hair loss”, said Dr. Koleva. “There is a chance that too much colouring can cause weakening or breakage of the hair shaft, but not hairloss from the root, unless of cause the bleach damages the skin so extensively it causes chemical trauma – or possibly scarring alopecia, which is very uncommon”.
Changing the colour of your hair is unlikely to cause hair loss, because dying only effects the hair above the skin. The follicles – the structures responsible for hair growth – are within the skin itself, and therefore should be unaffected by any properly used dye. After all, new hair that grows up from the follicles will be your natural colour. Although hair dying can damage your existing hair by making it dry, buying a specially formulated shampoo and intensive, strengthening conditioner designed to nourish dry and coloured hair can help correct this.
A colourful range of solutions
If hair dye is not the cause of hair loss, and aging is, can the Belgravia Centre do anything to help? The answer is yes. Our hair loss experts regularly treat a number of hair loss conditions and our bespoke treatment plans will help boost the condition of your follicles so that they continue to function healthily. If your hair is thinning or a receding hairline is developing and you’re interested in finding out more about our range of hair loss treatments, contact us on 0800 077 6666 or contact us online to arrange a free, no obligation appointment at our Central London clinic, or complete our online diagnostic form for a remote assessment and treatment programme.