Why does the sun burn your skin and not your hair?

Why is the sun hot enough to bnurn your skin but does not singe your hair?


Actually, it’s the UV rays messing with your skin cells. And these same rays do lighten your hair.

Someone will be along with a more detailed answer…

I guess I’m bored enough to read a thread with a vague title. There aren’t many of us, and that might hold a lesson for you.

The sun is a mass of incandescent mass,
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees.

The sun when it’s turning is not literally burning
Your skin or for that matter your hair,
Cos that would be oxidisation from the radiation
When what is occuring is absorption of the rays

(apologies to TMBG for lifting the first verse)

Moderator’s Note: Edited thread title for clarity.

well, damn. The changed title ruins my opening joke.
but, it should draw a more complete answer now.

It does fry your hair. Certainly gives you highlights, and really works in concert with chlorine if you desperately want to crispify yourself.

Mom? What the hell?

Because your skin is alive and undergoes various biological inflammatory responses to being burned - whereas your hair is dead (just an excretion of keratin) that undergoes simple chemical responses to heat and UV, such as bleaching of organic colouring.

Okay, what people have been dancing around here is that a sun “burn” is not a “burn” in the sense of “apply heat to cook” burn. What we call a “burn” is actually mostly an inflammatory cascade response to interna cell damage while a heat “burn” has much more external cell damage. In other words, while electromagnetic radiation causes both sun “burns” (Ultraviolet) and heat “burns” (infrared), the actual physics are somewhat different. What remains the same is the body’s response. Cells are damaged, so inflammation and (we hope) repair mechanisms are activated.