Do you love the balayage look and want it on yourself but don’t want to damage your hair by bleaching it? You might have heard that bleaching can damage and weaken your hair strands. So, you take a more natural route: bleach your hair with the sun’s rays. But is everything that is natural good for you? Photobleaching can be harmful to your hair and equally damaging as getting your hair bleached at the salon. Still want to do it? Here is your guide on what exactly photobleaching is, why it is harmful, and some better alternatives.
Did You Know?
The MC1R gene, a critical determinant of hair color, is also associated with aging, the risk for sunspots, and the likelihood of freckles. You can learn in-depth about your skin health and traits using your existing ancestry genetic test DNA data.
What Is Hair Photobleaching Or Sun Bleached Hair?
Photobleaching is the lightening of hair due to sun exposure.
Over time, the sun can turn your black hair to brown or lighten brown hair to blonde hair.
If you spend time outdoors, you will notice that your hair has darker roots and lighter strands.
It is an effect of photobleaching.
How Does Sun Bleached Hair Work?
Your hair contains a pigment called melanin in them.
Melanin is responsible for dark hair and skin, which means it colors your hair and skin.
The sun’s UV rays react with the melanin in your hair, turning it colorless.
While this might seem inexpensive to bleach your hair, it can also have harmful side effects.
Why Does The Sun Lighten Your Hair?
The sun lightens your hair through a chemical reaction called oxidation.
The same chemical reaction happens when you bleach your hair at a salon.
Oxidation occurs when a substance comes in contact with oxygen.
In this case, the sun’s rays bleach hair by naturally depleting its melanin.
Does Sun Bleached Hair Go Back To Normal?
The sun’s rays alter the level of melanin in your hair by depleting this pigment.
Your hair, unlike your skin, is dead tissue.
That is why you can get rid of a tan but cannot make sun-bleached hair return to normal.
You will only return to your natural hair color once your hair grows out and you decide to chop off the bleached part.
Does Sun Bleach Everyone’s Hair The Same Way?
Photobleaching is a phenomenon that depletes the melanin present naturally in hair.
The effects of photobleaching will be more noticeable when you already have less melanin in your hair.
It means that people with blonde or lighter hair colors will get more affected due to photobleaching than people with darker hair.
Genetics Of Hair Photobleaching
Photobleaching is a result of light-induced hair aging. The hair becomes paler in color, and the softness and shine of the hair can change as well.
The photochemical effects on hair color highly depend on certain color pigments in the body called melanins and chromophores.
The melanin pigment is of two types: pheomelanin and eumelanin
Our hair color is a result of which one of these pigments dominates the other.
Whether a person has more pheomelanin or eumelanin is determined by their genetics.
The dominant type of melanin in red hair is pheomelanin, while blonde hair is a mix of eumelanin and pheomelanin, with the former more present than the latter.
Research suggests that pheomelanin is more sensitive than eumelanin to sun-induced hair lightening. Thus, people with dark-colored hair may experience more photobleaching.
Hundreds of genes affect the amount of melanin in your hair.
Out of this, researchers have identified as many as 48 genetic markers that might affect hair photobleaching.
However, they have not identified any particular gene that specifically influences photobleaching.
Which Ethnicity Is Commonly Affected By Hair Photobleaching?
Europeans are more affected by photobleaching than any other racial or ethnic groups.
People of non-European descent have lower chances of experiencing photobleaching.
The Danger Of Sun Exposure For Bleached Hair Look
Photobleaching your hair is potentially dangerous, even though it might be effective.
The sun’s UV rays break down keratin, the protein in your hair.
Over time, this will lead to weak and brittle hair.
Sun exposure can also dry up your scalp, leading to further hair damage.
Additionally, you also run the risk of developing skin cancer due to prolonged sun exposure.
Other Safer Ways To Get Sun Bleacher Hair*
Lightening your hair through sun exposure is probably not a good idea.
It can damage your hair and also increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
Here are a few safer alternatives to photobleaching that you can try:
- Honey: When you mix honey with water, it causes a chemical reaction that releases hydrogen peroxide. Don’t worry; it is much less than what you will find in traditional hair bleaching products. You should mix four parts of honey with one part of water and apply it to your hair to get results. This method takes a lot of time to show results. So you must be patient with it. Use a blow dryer occasionally to speed up the process, and cover your hair with a plastic bonnet.
- Chamomile tea: Some people see great results using chamomile tea in their hair, while others don’t. To test whether this method works for you, dip your freshly washed hair in tea or pour it on your head. Keep it on your hair for 20 minutes and see if it has had a lightening effect.
- Bleach or dye: If you want faster and more visible results, you can always go to a hair salon and get your hair bleached. When you bleach your hair under a trained hair stylist, you will have control over how much bleach you want in your hair. Also, some treatments are only done in a salon, which will give your scalp and hair time to recover from any possible damage from the bleach.
*the alternatives provided are for informational purposes only. Please seek professional assistance before trying any method for hair lightening.
Photobleaching can be highly harmful to your hair.
It can dry out your scalp, weaken your strands, and even increase the risk of getting skin cancer.
Rather than getting sun exposure to lighten your hair, you should take steps to protect it from damage.
Always wear a hat or scarf if you are going out in the sun, and start using hair sunscreens.
Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to prevent your scalp from drying out.
If you want to bleach your hair, visit a professional to get it done rather than exposing yourself to the sun’s rays.