Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Why are bald heads so shiny, when the skin elsewhere on your body isn't? © Getty images

Why are bald heads so shiny, when the skin elsewhere on your body isn't?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

It's all because of the vellus hairs and sebaceous glands.

Asked by: Dave Jefferies, Barrow-In-Furness

Advertisement

Most of the skin on your body is actually covered with tiny hairs called vellus hairs that give your skin a slightly velvety, peach-fuzz look. With male pattern baldness, the hair follicles shrink and turn into skin cells, so there are no hairs at all – not even vellus hairs.

But the scalp is particularly shiny because of the sebaceous glands. These secrete oil and are found all over our skin, but the scalp has a lot more and this oil coats the skin and provides a more uniform reflective surface. What’s more, studies suggest that more active sebaceous glands could actually play a role in early hair loss.

Read more:


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts.

Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content