If you want to know how to protect hair and scalp from sun then check out my article. Here I’ve listed out tips like using scalp sun protection powder and sunscreen and more.
Are you someone who enjoys outings to the beach, or a trek up a mountain?
Well, if you dislike either of these and spend a lot of time outdoors maybe due to the requirements of your job or personal commitments, you need to answer this one important question – do you or do you not keep your head covered when you are outdoors?
Related: Sunburn On The Scalp
Well, I’m pretty certain that if your answer was a yes, then you might not have clicked on this article!
Nevertheless, whatever may be the reason you’ve clicked on this page, we’ve got you covered.
This article is going to talk about everything you need to know about sun damage to the hair and scalp and ways to prevent it.
So here are the details guys!
What does sun damage do to your hair and scalp?
While human hair is a protection against sun, the harsh rays of the sun can cause considerable damage to the hair too! This can manifest in various ways like:
- · Damaged strands that are broken or have split ends.
- · Colored hair that has become discolored.
- · Hair that becomes extremely frizzy and frayed.
- · Hair succumbs to dryness and becomes coarse.
- · Your scalp getting sunburnt and becomes red.
- · Peeling off of the scalp skin.
- · Excessive sweating on the scalp, making the scalp prone to dandruff formation.
- · Hair that becomes brittle and more prone to hair fall.
- · Hair that looks lifeless and stands very limp because of the high humidity.
- · Scalp skin that is more prone to cancer.
How to Protect Hair and Scalp from Sun
1. Spritz hair sunscreen over your hair and scalp
While a lot of people use sunscreen on their skin every time they go out because their skin is exposed, they most often forget that their hair is also exposed and requires protection too. Well, you’ve read it right, there are sunscreens for your hair and scalp too!
From sunscreen sprays, to sunscreen powders, hair mists, they come in different types.
It is very important to use sunscreen on your hair and scalp every time you go out, especially making sure that the exposed areas like hair partitions, bald patches etc are well-lathered up.
2. Add scarves and hats to your outfit
Covering your head is very important whenever you go out in the sun. This will help protect your scalp and hair from damage.
So you could wear a hat or a cap, a scarf or a shawl and cover your head so as to protect your hair and scalp from the harsh rays of the sun.
A lot of people skip covering their heads on cloudy days. Well, this practice must be avoided.
Covering your head on a cloudy day too is just as important as covering your head when the sun is fully out, because the UV rays of the sun are still in the atmosphere and can still cause your hair and scalp damage.
If you do not wish to cover your head at all, then maybe walk around using an umbrella.
3. Avoid using heat on your hair
Any sort of heat applied on your hair is bad. Most often we tend to use blow dryers, flat irons or curling wands.
These devices can severely damage the hair as it applies direct heat on the hair strands damaging the external protein covering of the hair.
When the external shaft of the hair strand is damaged, it becomes extensively exposed to the UV rays of the sun every time we go out, in turn damaging the inner cortex of the hair strand.
Therefore, using heat styling tools rarely on the hair and often using cooler and lower temperature settings on these devices are advisable.
4. Wear hairstyles that protect your hair
If you are someone who is often exposed to the sun, then wearing a protective hairstyle like box braids, wigs, hair twits, etc, will help prevent excessive damage to your hair and scalp.
If you do not wish to wear protective hairstyles, then you can use hairdos that will help limit the sun damage caused to your hair and scalp.
You could tie your hair up into a bun or a ponytail. This will lessen the exposure of the scalp and limit the damage to a lesser area of the hair.
5. Use the right type of shampoos to wash your hair
Say no to shampoos containing sulfates, parabens and coal tar! These products are deadly damaging to the hair and coupled with the harsh rays of the sun, it will only spell trouble.
The ingredient coal tar in particular makes the hair and scalp more sensitive to the effects of sunlight. Therefore, it is important to look and see whether your shampoo has these ingredients before buying it.
Here’s a tip: Coal tar is often found in shampoos meant to treat dandruff. So if you are buying an anti-dandruff shampoo, make sure to buy one without the ingredient coal tar.
6. Go out during the right time of the day
This is something you need to consider – the timing that you choose to set out of the house. Most often, the sun is at its peak during midday say after 11 a.m. to around 3 p.m. in the noon.
So choosing not to be outdoors at this time is preferable. You could either go before or after this time, so you can save your hair and scalp from damage.
If you do go out during these hours in inevitable circumstances, then you can make sure to keep your head covered or maybe remain in shady areas for the most part at least to reduce the amount of damage caused.
7. Keep your head covered when sun tanning
Well a lot of us love to go out for a picnic to the beach and lay down on the sand and tan.
While we lather sunscreen over our bodies to protect ourselves from sunburn while tanning, we often forget about our hair and scalp.
While we may apply sunscreen for our hair and scalp, when exposed in the sun for long hours, it is important to keep the head covered when tanning.
So wearing a hat, a scarf or a bandana will do your hair and scalp good.
8. Use Pre and post sun recovery hair mask
There are special sun recovery hair masks that are meant for pre and post sun exposure use.
You could use these hair masks to be able to get extra protection from sun damage over your hair and scalp (of course in addition to your other sun exposure hair care methods).
Apart from sun recovery masks you could also use deep conditioning hair masks and moisturizers as these products will help provide nourishment to the hair and reduce it from getting excessively dry, frayed and frizzy.
You could even use a leave-in-conditioner that has special UV protection ingredients that are meant to coat the hair strands and protect it from UV damage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about sun protection for the hair and scalp
1. Is it true that reflective surfaces are bad for the hair?
While most often people think that this is a myth, it definitely isn’t. Reflective surfaces are bad for the hair because it can reflect the UV rays of the sun back onto your hair. So avoiding surfaces like water (at the beach, lake or swimming pool), snowy areas and sandy places when the sun’s rays are sharp is always recommended.
2. Why do they say that chlorine causes damage to hair when exposed to sunlight?
Chlorine is a chemical and chemicals are damaging to the hair in any form. So when the chlorine comes in contact with sunlight it makes your hair very vulnerable to excessive damage. Therefore, it is not advisable to swim when the sun is overhead at midday.
Also, make sure to rinse your hair with plain water, both before and after you swim. This will reduce the amount of chlorine that sticks to your hair.
3. Best sunscreen (SPF) for your scalp and hair?
Sunscreens are available in different SPFs (sun protection factors) like SPF 15, SPF 30, SPF 50 and SPF 100.
The number indicates the extent to which the UVA and UVB rays of the sun will be blocked out and protect your hair and scalp.
While SPF 15 is very minimal protection and is not recommended, using SPF 30 and above will be ideal. Most often a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or even a SPF 50 is good enough to protect your hair and scalp.
Here’s a tip: Choose a water-resistant, waterproof or sweat-resistant sunscreen for the best effects and reapply after a couple of hours when outdoors for extended periods of time.
4. Can the hair and scalp completely recover from sun damage?
Well, yes it can, if the right protection and preventive measures are used to protect the hair and scalp, also making sure it receives good nourishment both internally (by consuming foods rich in antioxidants) and externally.
The final takeaway
I hope this article has been able to answer all your questions about how the sun damages your hair and scalp and what the best ways are that you can use to protect your hair and scalp from this damage.
If you’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors or maybe you’ve headed out during the peak time when the sun’s rays are sharp, then make sure to follow the necessary precautionary methods at all costs.
Leah LOVES hair. So much so, she dedicated an entire website to it! One of the founders of Hair Everyday and Chief Editor, Leah enjoys reviewing all the hair products and showcasing the best. She believes her most underrated articles are her hair care tips!