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The Sneaky Ways the Sun Might be Causing Damage to Your Hair

Posted by Ella Pflueger on

The Sneaky Ways the Sun Might be Causing Damage to Your Hair

We may be rounding out the last few weeks of sweet, sunny summer, but it's never too late to learn how to protect your hair from the sun. It’s a little known fact that too much sun exposure can be harmful to your hair and scalp.

But, there’s no need to go running for the nearest umbrella just yet, because this blog is here to help! We’ll guide you through the best ways to protect your hair from harm, so you can keep your locks looking silky and smooth, no matter the season! 

The Effects of Sun Damage on Your Hair and Scalp

Similar to your skin, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can have harmful impacts on your hair. UVA and UVB rays, two types of UV rays emitted from the sun, can damage cuticle structure and protein (aka keratin) of your hair. These rays also react with your hair’s natural melanin which causes a breakdown of your natural (or dyed) hair pigments. This leaves hair dull, dry, and more easily prone to breakage and splitting. 

UV rays are equally harmful to your scalp too. When exposed to too much sun, like any other area of exposed skin, your scalp is prone to sunburn. Sunburned scalps can be particularly bothersome and painful, as they can result in redness, irritation, and flaking (and nobody likes dealing with dandruff.) What’s more, sun exposure can reduce the scalp’s production of sebum, causing your scalp to dry out and become itchy. 

While sun damage to your hair/scalp can happen to all hair and skin types, those with thinner, finer, lighter hair are at a higher risk of damage. In contrast, research has found that thicker, darker hair can provide extra protection from the sun’s harmful rays. This is because thinner, lighter hair lacks the added volume and pigment to shield the scalp from the sun, whereas darker, coarse hair tends to be oilier, so the thickness and oil can shield the scalp from damage. Hair that is color-treated, naturally dry, or previously damaged is more vulnerable to UV damage. 

If your hair is dry, color-treated, or previously damaged from over-processing, it will be more vulnerable to UV rays.

Protecting Your Hair and Scalp

Luckily, you don’t need to give up your fun in the sun for the sake of your hair. Here’s a few tips to keeping your hair and scalp safe from the rays: 

 

  • Apply sunscreen to your scalp. While traditional sunscreen can always be used, there are a ton of SPF products designed to protect your scalp that won’t leave a filmy residue on your hair. High SPF products that come in spray, oil, and stick form are the best for protecting your scalp and many can be easily applied to your hairline (the most vulnerable area of your scalp.) 
  • Wear a hat. While it may seem obvious, hats are one of the best protections for your scalp. If you’re seeking additional sun defense, look for hats labeled ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50+. Plus, no matter the season, a good hat never goes out of style! 
  • Wear a swim cap. Chlorine-damaged hair is more vulnerable to sun damage. So next time you head for a dip in the pool, consider grabbing a swim cap to shield your locks from both the pool and the sun. 
  • Make sure to hydrate. Your scalp, like any other part of your skin, can dehydrate, so make sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • Avoid the sun if necessary. If your hair and scalp are in need of a little recovery, it may be best to spend some time under the safety of a roof or umbrella. Once you’re ready to head back out into the sun, make sure to do so carefully. 

  • If you find your scalp feeling dry, itchy, or flaky after too much sun exposure - or even if you simply seek greater scalp hydration - our Lotus hydrating scalp oil is just the product for you! Lotus is packed with intensely soothing, all-natural ingredients that promote softer, stronger, and healthier hair, so it's the perfect way to help restore sun-damaged hair. Lotus is also designed to eliminate the redness, dryness, flaking, and many of the other symptoms of a sun-damaged scalp. With Lotus, rejuvenating your hair and scalp has never been easier!

     

    Sources:

    International Journal of Cosmetic Science: Transepidermal UV Radiation of Scalp Skin Ex Vivo Induces Hair Follicle Damage that is Alleviated by the Topical Treatment with Caffeine | Healthline: Sunburned Scalp | Healthline: How to Repair Damaged Hair | Cleveland Clinic - Health Essentials: Best Ways to Protect Your Hair from Sun Damage | Skin Cancer Foundation: Ask The Expert - How Can I Protect My Scalp Better?