How does the sun damage your scalp and hair?

Summer is almost here and that means shorts, watermelons, and strong sun rays. Now, these days you may not be out as much as other summers but we all know that sun rays reach us in a lot of different ways. Whether you’re taking your pup out for your daily walks, dipping in your backyard pool (we’re jealous!), catching some sun rays on your balcony, or even chilling on your couch catching some sun rays coming through your window — though all these activities are incredibly enjoyable, the strong sun can damage and weaken your hair and scalp.

How does the sun damage your hair?

Your hair shaft is made up of dead cells that are filled with and surrounded by keratin (protein). So unlike skin, your hair strands don’t require protection from carcinogenesis caused by UV radiation. 

However,  the sun weakens your hair’s protein structure, sucks out moisture, and reduces elasticity so your hair breaks more easily. When dry, weak hair gets combined with wind, hot humid air, saltwater or chlorine, hair becomes even more damaged!

In addition, color-treated hair, which is already deprived of its natural moisture, is more prone to become more brittle during summer months. Colored hair needs even more moisture during this time period. 

The sun’s rays act very much like bleach on hair, says dermatologist Dr. Wilma Bergfeld. Bleach reacts with the melanin in your hair and removes the color in an irreversible chemical reaction. Yikes! 

What about scalp and sun damage?

As you know, your scalp is your skin. And as you’re aware of how harmful UV-rays are to your face and body, the same exact damage can happen to your scalp

What are some signs of sun damage to your scalp and hair?

Your hair can suffer from discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, and frizziness. The more damaged your hair is, the harder it is to manage it, which then in return causes more damaged, and it becomes a bad, unhealthy cycle. 

Frizziness can increase during the summer months as well. Because the sun dries out your hair, it becomes extra thirsty. So when there is a humid day, your dry hair drinks up that moisture, which expands the hair cuticles, and poof you got your frizzy hair!

What can you do to make sure your scalp and hair stay healthy during the summer?

1. The best thing is to wear a hat when you know you’re gonna get heavy-duty sun exposure.

2. SPF hair products that help protect your scalp and deflect UV rays from your strands.

3. If you’re a regular swimmer, in chlorine or saltwater, consider wearing a swim cap. You can also put in a mask in your hair before you go for a swim to help protect it.

4. Hair scarves or tying your hair up in a bun or braid help less of your hair gets exposed to the sun.

5. MOISTURE, MOISTURE, MOISTURE — Use a prewash on a weekly basis so you can strengthen and restore elasticity to your hair strands.

6. Gently brush or comb your hair — dry hair is already weak, so lay off any harsh brushing. 

7. Hydrate — this is a no brainer! Make sure to drink plenty of water during summer. Your scalp, just like your skin, can dehydrate if you don’t replenish your liquids. 

Photo by Vicko Mozara on Unsplash