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How to Protect Hair From UV Sun Damage

May 20, 2022

5 Min read

As the days turn warmer, most of us are stocking up on sunscreen to keep our skin safe from the damaging rays of the sun. You might be surprised to hear UV protection for hair is just as important in your routine before you show off your summer style. Read on to find out how unprotected hair is impacted by the sun and what you can do to minimize damage.

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How is hair damaged from the sun?

UVA and UVB light hits the protective cuticle of your hair when your strands are exposed to the sun. Radiation from these rays negatively impacts the amino acids and proteins that help maintain the barrier that protects the inner core. As exposure continues, the cuticle eventually weakens, leaving the cells present in the core susceptible to rupture and structural damage.

UVA rays fade the color from your hair as they impair the cuticle. The classic “sun-kissed” look commonly seen in the summer is often a sign that damage has already taken place. UVB rays weaken the cuticle further, causing your strands to look dull and brittle.

Another element of damage to consider is caused by the sun’s heat. Just as using hot tools can have a negative impact on cuticle health, long exposure to heat from the sun will zap your hair of the moisture it needs. Because the hair you see is no longer alive and has no cell regrowth, this damage is cumulative and will get worse with repeated exposure.

When you combine these two elements, time out in the sun can have a harsh effect on the health and manageability of your hair. Fortunately, there are several options that can minimize this effect, letting you enjoy the sun without sacrificing hair health.

UV protection for hair

The following suggestions offer UV protection for hair and can help keep the elasticity and shine that symbolizes healthy strands. For maximum protection, use a combination of these techniques when you can.

Keep it covered

The best protection from harmful UV rays is to limit sun exposure. Wearing a hat or head wrap is a great way to enhance style without risking damage to your hair. As an added bonus, a wide brim hat can protect your hair and your face simultaneously, giving you double the benefit.

If you’re uncomfortable with wearing some type of head covering, there are other ways you can minimize exposure. Just like recommendations for protecting your skin, try not to go out when the sun is at its most intense. If you must head outdoors, choose shady spots to spend the bulk of your time so your hair isn’t constantly being hit by UV light.

Get a healthy start

Any time you choose to participate in activities that could cause hair damage, ensuring your hair is healthy at the start gives you a better chance of minimizing the effects. Other options that provide UV protection for hair will be less successful if your hair is already showing signs of damage. For maximum effect, focus on improving hair health before summer hits.

Although there are hundreds of specialty products available that promise amazing results, hair health starts with the products you use most. If you haven’t already, choose a shampoo and conditioner that is made for your hair’s unique needs. There are many store brands that target common hair complaints, but you can also take a more personalized approach through customized hair products.

Other products you can incorporate include hair masks, conditioning sprays, and hair oils. Don’t forget your scalp when choosing products to improve hair health. Healthy hair starts at the root, so make sure you’re giving your scalp the extra attention it needs.

Finally, limit the use of hot tools for a period of time. Heat styling can be damaging to your hair’s cuticle and you want as much protection as possible before summer hits. When you do use hot tools, make sure to use products that offer heat protection to minimize their damaging effects.

Use protective products

When it comes to sun exposure, there are several products available on the market that are designed to protect your hair from damage. Heat protectants were developed to protect your hair from hot tools, but they can also be used to mitigate heat damage from the sun. Any products that support cuticle health can also offer a protective effect by increasing your hair’s tolerance to sun damage.

Perhaps one of the most targeted approaches is to find a sunscreen that has been created for hair. Many of the most popular sunscreen brands have adapted their products to create sunscreen sprays meant to protect your hair and scalp.

Hair sunscreen products come in the form of powders, sprays, and lotions. Powders are meant to be rubbed in at the hairline and part. Sprays and lotions are designed to be spread throughout the entire length of your strands.

After-summer restoration

Even if you’ve taken all the proper steps to keep your hair protected from the sun, it is likely that some damage has occurred if you’ve spent any time outside. Once summer is over, it’s time to help your strands recover so you can think about prepping for winter. If you still have the products you used to get your hair healthy before summer, some of these can be used again as restorative agents.

Hair masks are a great way to add moisture to thirsty strands, especially those that offer ingredients known for repairing your cuticle. Remember that your scalp has seen the same sun exposure and is often neglected when applying sunscreen. A soothing scalp treatment could be just what that sensitive skin needs.

 

You may find that the hair issues you targeted before summer have changed after months in the intense sun. If you’re ready to try a custom approach, take the Prose hair consultation to get a formula designed for your specific needs.

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What does your hair need to thrive? Take the consultation to find your formulas.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Prose Staff is here to share the best hair tips and tricks to help you achieve all your hair goals with custom hair care, breakthrough innovation and more

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  1. Wearing a cap or head wrap is an extraordinary method for upgrading style without gambling with harm to your hair or use hair sunscreen items come as powders, splashes, and creams. BTW, thanks for this blog I learn a lot looking forward for another exciting and informative one…

    1. So true! We love wearing a hat or hair scarf to help protect our hair from the sun 🙂

      -Keely, SEO & Community Manager