Why does your hair get darker when you age?


What hair color did you use to have?

Did you have a full head of bright blonde locks when you were a kid? Chances are that your hair color drastically changed over the years. Some people’s hair transforms from a white looking blonde color to a darker blonde or even chestnut brown. But why does your hair change color when you get older?

Different pigments

A lot of people think that your hair color stays the same up until the moment that you get old and it slowly starts to turn grey. But apparently old age (or hair dye) is not the only way to change the color of your locks. Did you know your hair color also changes because of your genes? The changes in your hair color are caused by something called melanin, a collective name for different kinds of pigments that determine your hair color, skin color and the color of your eyes. The pigments responsible for hair color are called ‘eumelanin’ and ‘pheomelanin’

Hair color

Eumelanin determines the color of your hair. More eumelanin means that your hair will get darker. Pheomelanin determines the ‘warmth’ of your hair; people with red hair have a lot of this pigment. If your hair is a paler shade of blonde, you have less pheomelanin than someone with golden locks. The combination of eumelanin and pheomelanin creates the hair color that you currently have.

Dark hair

So now we understand why we all have a different hair color. But why does the color of our hair change when we get older?  The amount of melanin that your body produces is determined by your genes. But when you are younger, not all of your genes have been activated, resulting in lesser amounts of melanin. That’s the reason your hair looked different when you were younger. When you get older, those genes get activated. That causes more eumelanin to be produced, resulting in a darker head of hair.

Now you know why everyone looks so different in their baby pictures!

Also read: Aha! This is why your cat likes licking your hair

Source: Max Vandaag | Image: Unsplash, Tim Mossholder