Assessment of UV Radiation Penetration through Human Hair

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Uwe Reischl


Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun is known to create a significant global disease burden. The most serious long-term consequences are malignant melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas. Sunburn is the best-known acute effect of excessive UV radiation while chronic exposures induce degenerative changes in the cells of the skin that lead to premature aging, photo-dermatoses, and actinic keratosis. Baldness is a common aging phenomenon for older men while younger men often choose to remove their head hair for aesthetic and social reasons. The reduction of hair on the head may, therefore, increase the risk of skin cancer. To investigate the UV protection offered by human hair, a series of controlled laboratory tests was carried out to measure the penetration characteristics through various thickness layers of human hair. The results show that human hair can provide excellent protection against UV radiation. A full set of hair can block UV radiation by 99% providing good protection against UV radiation exposure thus reducing the risk of future skin cancer on the head.

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