At this point, we all know how important it is to protect your skin from the sun but did you know your hair can also feel the negative effects of excess sun exposure? You may notice that your hair tends to be dull and lifeless in the summer months, this is no doubt due to the sun. Although the sun can be good for your hair in moderation, when overexposed you can experience intense damage.
How UV rays damage your strands
UV radiation weakens your hair lipids by lifting your hair’s cuticles thus resulting in a loss of keratin. The maintenance of keratin is important in strengthening your hair and revealing shiny, voluminous locks. When the sun causes this loss of keratin, you may experience coarse, dull, breakage-prone hair. Hair that is derived from lipids also tends to appear more frizzy and textured. Not only does the sun damage your hair but it can also disrupt your scalp’s balance. Your scalp health directly impacts your hair health, so a damaged scalp means damaged hair. It is extremely common to get a sunburnt scalp after a day in the sun. This can harmfully lead to dandruff and a dry, peeling, irritated scalp.
Who’s more vulnerable to UV ray hair damage?
While all hair types may experience damage due to the sun, the damage tends to be even greater on thin, color-treated hair. Color-treated hair can also feel the negative effects through color fading. If your hair gets lighter after being in the sun, this is because UV rays damage your hair’s structure and prevent pigment from clinging to your hair fibers. So, if you have colored or bleached hair the sun may turn it brassy or red due to the damage.
How can you protect your hair from the sun?
While the best way to ensure your hair is safe from the sun is by wearing a hat or staying protected by an umbrella, the following are some tips to help strengthen your hair against the sun.
- Use protective hair products. Using hair care products that are made for color-treated hair to protect from environmental stressors can help create a shield between your hair and the sun. It is also important to avoid products that could cause further damage to your hair, like any products that contain harmful sulfates and parabens. FYAB Health’s Hair Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner is sulfate & paraben-free and formulated with strengthening ingredients to effectively protect your strands from environmental aggressors.
- Shampoo less often. Although it can be tempting to constantly wash your hair, washing more than twice a week could strip away your scalp’s natural oils that work to strengthen your strands. Try rinsing with cold water on days between shampooing to refresh your hair without drying it out.
- Avoid heat styling. If your hair is already being exposed to the heat of the sun, you should probably be avoiding any heat styling tools like straighteners, curling irons and blow dryers. Instead, experiment with heatless styling like sleeping in braids or buns and allow your hair to air dry.
- Keep your hair out of pools and oceans. The chlorine in swimming pools can excessively strip your hair of its natural oils and intensely dry out your strands. The same can be said for the ocean because heavy salt content works to draw moisture away from your hair and scalp. It’s best to keep your hair up and avoid pools and oceans if you already have coarse, dry hair.
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Santos Nogueira, A. C., & Joekes, I. (2004). Hair color changes and protein damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology, 74(2-3), 109–117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2004.03.001