The pigment melanin is responsible for a person’s natural hair color. Melanin is produced in melanocytes, which are also found on hair follicles. Melanocytes are responsible for converting the body’s own amino acids into colored pigments. These pigments are called melanin. There are two different types of melanin: eumelanin and phaeomelanin.
While the proportion of eumelanin determines the intensity of the black and brown coloration of the hair, phaeomelanin is responsible for the red tint. Phaeomelanin dominates in light blond, blonde and red hair. This melanin is much finer and smaller in structure than the eumelanin.
Depending on the proportions of the melanin types, the hair takes on different colorations:
Blond hair with little eumelanin and a lot of phaeomelanin.
Dark hair with a lot of eumelanin and little phaeomelanin.
Red hair with little eumelanin but a lot of phaeomelanin.
When the production of melanin decreases, the hair turns gray. This is a normal aging process. The melanin is replaced more and more by air bubbles deposited in the hair shaft. The less melanin and the more air bubbles, the whiter the hair appears.
Colorless cuticle cells sit on the surface of the hair. If these cell platelets lie parallel and smooth on top of each other, the hair has its own beautiful shine; in the case of diseases, due to hormone imbalances or by taking medication, this structure can be disturbed; the cuticle cells shift against each other and the hair appears dull and sick.
But a person’s genes also have a direct influence on the structure of the hair: whether hair is straight or curly, thick or thin depends on the genes.
In order to classify a person’s skin type, the “Fitzpatrick scale” is used all over the world. The skin type is determined by the amount of melanin (pigment) in the skin cells. According to Fitzpatrick, the following skin types are distinguished:
Type 1: fair, pale skin, freckles, reddish-blond hair. Type 1 gets sunburn very quickly.
Type 2: Light skin, light to medium dark hair, light to medium dark skin. This skin type usually gets sunburned often.
Type 3: Medium-dark hair, medium-dark to olive skin, medium-dark to dark eyes. Type 3 gets sunburn less often.
Type 4: Dark hair, dark eyes, and dark olive or tan skin. Type 4 tans easily and rarely gets sunburned.
Type 5: Dark hair, dark skin and dark eyes. Skin tans quickly and heavily, and rarely sunburns.
Type 6: Very dark skin, dark eyes and dark hair. The very strong pigmentation of the skin prevents any sunburn. The skin is brown and does not tan further even with strong sun.