Sunshine and Your Hair

Woman with long black hair
Q: I used to have healthy black hair, but from last couple of weeks I'm seeing that my hair is getting reddish. I don't understand why this is happening. I use coconut oil since from my childhood.
I also shampoo my hair but not on a regular basis. Friends, I do not use any such stylish things for hair which consists of chemicals; I always avoid chemicals due to their side effects. Any help from your side?

A: My initial thought is to ask if you spend much time outside in the sun, as hair can be affected by sunlight in the same way as any other pigmented substance. Just as colored fabrics, paper and even painted surfaces can be faded by the sun, hair is also subject to bleaching by the sun. Sometimes, the hair is even more susceptible, depending on its level of porosity.
The effect of sunlight can also be highly increased if you swim in chlorinated water as well. The chlorine will dry out the hair and in combination with the effects of sunlight can bleach the hair faster than you might think. If your hair is being lightened by the sun, however, the color change is likely going to be only on the outer layers of the hair.
Another consideration is your age and hormonal levels. As we grow older, from a small child to pubescent, to an adolescent, to a young adult and onward, our bodies change and in some cases, our hair along with it.
Illness, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, medications taken and many other factors can have a deleterious effect on the condition of the hair as well. While some of these could be responsible for the color change directly, it is more likely that they would affect the condition of the hair, which makes it more susceptible to outside influences.
I wish I could offer more definitive information, but being honest, there are so many possible factors that could be involved here, I simply don't have sufficient information to give an opinion. My suggestion is to sit down and think about the possible causes of your hair's color change.
Speak to family members as to whether any of them remembers similar experiences with their own hair. Finally, if you have any reason to suspect that the changes in your hair could have a medical cause, please visit your doctor.
Photo: Kenneth Man/Shutterstock
See also:
Hair and sun exposure
Sun block for hair
Why does the sun lighten our hair, but darken our skin?
Hair and the aging woman