Asian woman with long hair sitting on the beach

Our hair and scalp are not immune to the harmful effects of the sun. In fact, they’re even more susceptible to UV damage because of how exposed they are and how little protection they get. The common misconception is, “Oh, my hair is the protection,” but the truth is it’s just as at risk.

According to a 2019 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, UV rays also damage the hair and are detrimental to the health of hair follicles. The research notes that unprotected sun exposure can trigger oxidative DNA damage and premature catagen development. This means not only does UV light damage hair, but it can also slow down growth. Here’s what you can do to prevent this.

Use Sunscreen

Hair sunscreen usually comes in a lightweight spray form that you can apply on your hair like a leave-in conditioner. If you can’t get your hands on hair sunscreen, use regular sunscreen and apply liberal amounts along the hairline to shield it from the harmful effects of the sun. Reapply every two hours or after sweating.

Wear a Scarf or Hat

The hair does protect the scalp from the sun but only to a certain extent. Exposed areas of the scalp — which is still skin — can still suffer UV damage. Adding a physical barrier between the sun and your head can help. A good silk scarf, for example, will protect your head from direct exposure without roughing your hair up. A hat is also a good option if you want a more straightforward accessory.

Minimize Heat Styling

When your hair is sun-damaged, you’d want to subject it to as little stress as possible. Heat styling, such as using blow-dryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons, can add to this damage. This results in dry and brittle hair.

Protect your hair with nourishing shampoos such as Dove Botanical Silicone Free Shampoo for Damaged Hair Restore. This restores dry and damaged hair with Pink Moroccan Rose extracts and is 100% silicone-free.

Avoid Peak Sunlight Exposure

The best thing to do is to avoid peak sunlight exposure. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nearly half of UV radiation is received between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Since the Philippines is very close to the equator, seasons don’t matter — UV rays are intense all year round. You can also check your weather app for the UV index, which will give you an idea of how strong the radiation is on a scale of 1 to 11+.

Shield your hair from the harmful effects of the sun with the same vigilance as when you protect your skin. By following the tips above, you can minimize the impact of UV rays on your hair and scalp.