Smiling woman in business suit covering her head with her hand from the sun.

Skinfluencer or not, you’re likely well-informed on the importance of . It’s why you have separate bottles dedicated to your face and body. But should you go one step further and add scalp sunscreen to the equation? The short answer is yes. Keep scrolling to learn about sun protection for scalp and hair.

Scalp Sunscreen: A Must-Have or Nice-to-Have?

The skin on your scalp is similar to the skin that blankets the rest of your body. It’s susceptible to sun damage, which can pose both short- and long-term threats to your overall hair health.

In a , researchers found that UVB can prolong the telogen (resting) phase of hair growth, leading to increased hair shedding and over time. It can also cause dullness and since it breaks down hair proteins. Meanwhile, UVA has been linked to “shrink” and inducing . Simply put, prolonged sun exposure without scalp sunscreen can spell serious trouble for your crowning glory.

If scalp SPF is so important, then why is it not as well-known as facial or body sunscreens? One reason could be a misconception that a thick head of hair provides adequate protection against scalp sunburn. True, your locks offer some coverage, but it’s not a guarantee. can reach your scalp through the gaps between strands.

What to Look for in Hair Sunscreen

The checklist for choosing a scalp sunscreen pretty much consists of the same things you’d consider for any . Broad-spectrum protection with an SPF of at least 30 is ideal for shielding your hair and scalp from UVA and UVB rays.

However, don’t pick the first product you see at the supermarket. Is it water-resistant? Does it have alcohols or oils that can affect your scalp? Check all the details and know that you'll probably need to kiss a few frogs before you find The One.

In addition, scalp sunscreen comes in many formats. Spray and powder formulations are the most popular because they’re easy to use and reapply. Cream or gel types, on the other hand, are not as common but they’re often infused with moisturizing properties – a suitable choice for those with or damaged hair.

When and How Should You Apply Scalp Sunscreen?

If you add scalp sunscreen to your daily haircare routine, make it a part of your morning ritual. The best time to apply it is after showering. Wait until your hair is 100% dry before applying it, so it has more time to soak and work effectively.

Consider keeping a travel-sized version in your bag for touch-ups. You need to re-apply the sunscreen to your scalp every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or doing other summer activities. Trust us, scalp sunburn hurts AF!

Are There Downsides to Scalp SPF?

One downside to wearing sunscreen on the scalp is build-up. Residue can grease up your hair and make it look limp and lifeless. Add styling products to the mix, and you may also end up with .

Still, the benefits of scalp sunscreen outweigh this potential drawback. Besides, there’s a solution to it: cleanse your scalp thoroughly. Use Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo, which boasts a pH-balanced formula that removes traces of residue off the scalp and nourishes hair. It also helps relieve itching while leaving your strands smooth and manageable.

If you’re always outdoors, scalp sunscreen is an absolute necessity. It may feel weird the first time you apply it but this habit helps prevent hair damage. For added coverage, put on a hat, pashmina, or . Because you can’t overprotect yourself!