Summer is around the corner and although most individuals are adequately prepared for sun exposure to their skin, many neglect the effect of sun damage to the hair. The sun has the ability to cause harm to hair strands and scalp that may leave your hair dull and lackluster. When venturing outdoors, there are precautions you can take to maintain your healthy hair throughout the summer.
How does the sun damage hair?
- Weak Hair: When your hair experiences an influx of heat and/or sun it may cause the vitamin in your strands to become brittle, which results in breakage and uneven hair length.
- Split Ends: Another common effect of sun exposure on hair is split ends. Excess heat will cause your hair to dry out and break at the ends leaving them split and unhealthy.
- Thinning: Excess exposure to the sun has the ability to remove the proteins from your hair, which causes thinning and sometimes even shedding due to its weak composition.
- Skin Cancer: Although you are not at risk for skin cancer on your hair. Your scalp may be at risk because of the exposed skin to UV rays. Sun burns on the scalp can be very painful with burning and flaking side effects.
- Frizzy Hair: One of the least damaging effects of sun exposure is the development of uncontrollable frizz. Excess heat is known to cause frizz in hair and prolonged sun exposure may increase this frizz.
How can I protect my hair from the sun?
Where a hat
Hats are a stylish and serves as a preventative measure against sun damage on the hair and scalp. Wide brim hats are especially beneficial because they cover more of the hair than baseball caps. If using a baseball cap, try tucking your hair underneath your hat for added protection.
Use SPF product
Many individuals are not aware that there are serums, conditioners, and sprays specifically formulated to protect hair from the sun. These can be found at your local drugstores. Although there are shampoos and conditioners that provide UV protection, the protection is limited since it is being rinsed off.
You can also create your own SPF hair solution by mixing 2 teaspoons SPF 25 sunscreen with one cup of water. Mix the solution together in a spray bottle and apply lightly throughout the hair before going in the sun. Spray sunscreens also work well on the hair, but use them sparingly as they are sometimes greasy.
Beware of the part
Parting your hair exposes the scalp to the sun. If you are not using a hat or sunscreen to protect the exposed area, pull hair back so that no scalp areas are showing. For best results, apply sunscreen directly on the exposed scalp for the ultimate protection.
Plan out your outdoor activities
Studies show that the sun is at its peak from 10am to 3pm meaning the UV rays are at their highest. Avoiding those times will lessen your chances of sun damages. Even if you go outdoors after or before those times, you should still protect your hair as long as the sun is out.
How do you reverse previous sun damage to hair?
- No alcohol: When dealing with sun damaged hair and scalp, it’s best to stay away from irritant chemicals such as alcohol in hair products.
- No heat: Using heated styling tools will cause further damage to your strands and cause even more breakage to your already fragile hair.
- Treat peeling and burning: Apply vinegar to your scalp before your shampoo can reduce burning and peeling. Anti-dandruff shampoos are also very efficient when trying to treat scalp peeling. For burning it is best to use a minty or cooling shampoo to soothing the irritation.
- Use leave-in conditioner: Sun damage leaves hair extremely dry. In order to restore your hair’s moisture apply a leave-in moisturizing conditioner to lock in hydration.
- Examine your scalp: Scalp exposure to the sun may result in skin cancer. It’s best to take precaution by inspecting your scalp for any unusual spots, moles or growths. If you notice something out of the ordinary, contact your dermatologist for further investigation.
This summer don’t neglect your locks! Protect you hair from sun damage to maintain healthy, full hair year round.