Having questions about whether your hair is alive and decompose at all? The truth is your hair is dead. It is already dead the moment you can see it. Only the follicle of the scalp where the hair is rooted is alive. Even though your hair is dead all along, hair does not decompose easily after falling. The hair is still biodegradable and only decompose around 2 years. The reason why hair remains strong is because of a pigment known as keratin.
What is keratin?
Keratin is a protein pigment that lacks water and is there insoluble. Ever wondered why your bathroom sinks always get clogged with fallen hair? This is the reason, hair is impermeable and so it cannot be dissolved by water. Hair is too powerful to be dissolved by water. This has been a course of fascination for many and they have wondered what happens to the hair after it is removed from the functions of a normal body that would monitor it.
What happens to the hair after one dies?
There has been this myth that the hair continues to grow after you die. Well, that myth is not true. The growth of hair is connected to certain blood vessels that are found at the hair follicles. These blood vessels would feed the roots of the hair to ensure their growth and for it to go through the skin. When they get to the epidermis, the cells that are found around that area are no longer alive. That is why when you cut your hair, you don’t feel dead because it is already dead. Also, when you consider the fact that humans are made up of 70% of water, it is reasonable that the body completely shrinks in size after the death of a person because everything is lost to moisture. So, when the body shrinks in size it looks like the hair is growing longer.
Does hair decompose after death?
The decomposition of the hair depends on the environment it is found. In some environments, hair would decompose within a few years while in some environments, it could take decades or even centuries before the hair starts decaying. Organisms such as rodents, insects or microorganisms would affect the hair at which hair decomposes. Although they do not consume the hair, they help fasten the process. It depends on the situation, if the hair is under the ocean, it can break down easily but if it is the right conditions, it would remain intact for a long period but this does not change the fact that hair is biodegradable and would break down.
Hair comes in two colors due to eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin is a pigment that gives darkness to the hair while pheomelanin gives hair the red color. The hair has it’s own combination of eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin comes with 2 subtypes which are black and brown. If your hair contains more black eumelanin, it would be a dark color. However, if there is no black eumelanin and lost level of brown eumelanin, the probability of being born a blonde is high. The older you grow, the more your eumelanin level drops which lead to your hair turning grey.
For the pheomelanin, this pigment adds red and orange color to your hair. The reason why there are few people with red hairs in the world is that it is rare for a person to be born with a high concentration of pheomelanin. It exists in small quantities for everyone and has more stability than the eumelanin. Eumelanin can be easily broken down through the process of oxidation while pheomelanin cannot be broken down easily. Pheomelanin can still be found within the hair after it has been exposed to harsh conditions. So, when the hair is exposed to wet climate for a long period, it loses some and what is left is pheomelanin causing the hair to change color to red. This means that the probability of your hair turning red after your die is high. For reference purposes, you can look up the ancient Egyptians. The mummies found in movies usually come with a red color despite being in the tomb for centuries and have decayed. It takes a long period for the oxidation process to take place in the tomb because it is a controlled condition.
This shows that although hair biodegradable and can decompose, it would take a long period before this occurs. It could last up to centuries even before it starts decomposing. It would eventually decay even though it is one of the last things that would occur.