How Much Time Does Human Hair Take to Decompose?

Human hair can last for a number of years, frequently two years, before breaking down with softer tissues. Hair is formed of keratin, the same substance that gives fingernails and skin their durability.

The environment in which decomposition takes place has a significant impact on it. Most bacteria, rodents, and insects don’t consume hair or fingernails, but they can speed up the process overall.

.The entire process moves much more slowly in a sealed grave, sometimes taking years. Decomposition happens significantly more quickly if there is direct contact with the earth or if the corpse is left outside in the open.

The decomposing enzymes are resistant to keratin. Proteolysis is the term for the extremely quick breakdown of fleshy tissue that occurs during this process. Although keratin is more susceptible to environmental stress factors such dampness and invasive plant growth, breakdown eventually has an impact on the materials involved.

Hair and fingernails may last far longer than usual in some severe circumstances when a corpse has been artificially preserved. This time can extend for decades or even centuries, but it necessitates an extremely sterile setting and meticulous upkeep of the relevant tomb or sepulchre.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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