Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why is my hair getting darker?

            On my birth identification card, it states that I am a blond. Yet somehow along the way, my identification card seemed to switch with another girl named “Nova” and the last time I checked it read dirty blond. To me it sounded like some Nikita episode where the CSI is searching for the wrong girl. I’m constantly pacing through Seventeen Magazine trying to find my hair color, but the only color distinctions there are, are either blond or brunette. It’s always frustrating to see that there are no “boxes” on identification sheets that state my “hair species.” Looking through my child photographs, I view a Goldilocks that belongs with the three bears! What happened? How is it that overnight it seems as if I changed my look?

When you think about hair, most people would believe that hair would get lighter due to sunlight. But, in many blond haired teenage diaries, it reads about their growing tension of wanting to pluck their hair out, due to not full-filling their Cancun Barbie exterior. Could it be a “puberty hormonal change” as most like to blame for things such as our acne, or is there a deeper concept?
             Mr. Orbe, my AP Bio teacher states the reasoning for my ‘species’ of hair: “Two genes are responsible for hair color – one that inserts color for pigment and another that inserts color into follicle. Epistasis (the phenomenon where the effects of one gene are modified by one or several other genes) occurs when one gene locus shoots off other gene which could happen due to pigmentation.”  Hair color is also dependent on the amount of melanin (insoluble pigments that account for the color of e.g. skin and scales and feathers) produced in the hair root and new hairs growing in without pigment.  If more melanin is present, the color of the hair is darker. Our stem cells (base of hair follicles) are responsible for producing melanocytes, the cells that produce and store pigment in hair and skin.” Hair follicles can produce and have different that colors lead to my dirty blond strands.

Besides hormones, hair color can be affected by diet, living location, climate and most importantly your genetics. “As body ages, biological changes, both physical and chemical, can cause pigmentation changes (gain/ loose freckles, moles, liver spots, etc.) Those same changes can cause hair to lose and alter pigmentation.” Did you know that surprisingly dark-haired people could even have genes that cause blond hair?
              Overall, there’s no way to control you genes, and what color they produce. Therefore blondes are left to be amused by their mirrors during their preteen years. Although we can’t stop our darkening and lightening, we should all embrace our colors because they make us distinctive. Whether your hair is dyed hot pink or you’re a dirty blond, you should own it.

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