How is the eyebrow colour created?
The colour of a person’s eyebrows is created by the absorption and reflection of light. These processes depend mainly on the pigmentation, which is caused by the content and type of melanin. Melanin is an organic dye that is produced by specialized cells, the melanocytes, and absorbs light.
If there is a lot of melanin in the eyebrow hairs, they appear darker. There are two different types of melanin in the eyebrows: The two melanins are often present simultaneously, but in different amounts. They absorb and reflect different wavelengths, resulting in different colours. The colour of the eyebrows can differ from the colour of the hair on the head. – Eumelanin tends to produce dark, brown-black colours
- Phaeomelanin is responsible for lighter, blonde-red colours
What influences the colour of the eyebrows?
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- Genetics: The colour of the eyebrows is primarily genetic. Many different genes regulate the production of the eyebrow pigment, melanin.
They decide which type of melanin (eumelanin or phaeomelanin) is produced and regulate the amount produced. The content and ratio of the two types of melanin then determine the colour of the eyebrows. If less melanin is produced in old age, the eyebrows appear grey.
- Structure of the eyebrows: On the surface of the hair is the outer layer of the cortex (hair cuticula). There are so-called scaly cells on this layer, which can stick out more or less. The more cells that stand out, the more dull and less luminous the colour of the eyebrows appears.
- Solar radiation: The melanin in the eyebrows absorbs sunlight. If too much of this radiation hits the melanin, it can be destroyed. The eyebrows therefore bleach out.
However, this effect is less pronounced with the eyebrows than with the scalp hair, because eyebrow hairs fall out earlier. They are replaced faster by unbleached hair. – Cosmetic measures: Dyeing as well as the application of bleaching agents can also change the eyebrow colour.
Genetics play a very important role in eyebrow colour. The genes that a person inherits from his parents code for the pigmentation of the eyebrows. They control the amount of melanin that the melanocytes produce and which is stored in the hair.
They also determine whether eumelanin (black-brown hair) or phaeomelanin (blond-red hair) is produced. There are many different genes that are responsible for the colour of the eyebrows. Usually dark eyebrows are inherited dominantly and lighter eyebrows are inherited recessively.
Eyebrow colour is not or only minimally dependent on nutrition. It cannot be controlled, e.g. by ingesting more substances that are important for melanin production. However, a healthy diet supports the formation of firm, healthy hair.
These often have a brighter effect than with an incorrect diet. In the case of malnutrition, the body may lack the substances needed to build hair (such as biotin). This can cause dull, slightly paler eyebrows. However, a proper change in eyebrow colour does not take place.