Asian woman wearing a hat outside

While many of us are sticklers for using sun protection on the skin, not a lot of people know that hair and scalp are also vulnerable to UV rays. It's easy to forget that the scalp is also skin. It may have a bit more foliage than the skin on our face and body, it can also burn and age. This can be a problem for your hair. Here’s why you need to level up your SPF game to include your mane.

Your Scalp Is Skin

Technically speaking, your hair doesn’t need sunscreen because it’s not composed of living cells. UV light can trigger an inflammatory response in the skin, also known as sunburn, damaging the skin cells. It causes premature skin aging and increases the risk of skin cancer. It doesn’t happen to hair, but it can happen to the scalp.

Physically protecting the scalp from direct sunlight is one of hair's primary functions. If your hair is naturally thin, or if you have a thinning hair part, you need to incorporate sun protection for the hair into your routine. UV rays can and cause redness, irritation, peeling, swelling, and temporary hair fall.

If you’re, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a hat with a UPF of 50+. UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor is a grading system used on fabrics, like SPF for sunscreen. A UPF 50 hat blocks 98 percent of the sun’s UV rays and allows only 2 percent to pass through.

If You Damage Your Hair, There’s No Going Back

Since hair is not living tissue, it cannot regenerate and heal itself. Once the damage is done, whether by harsh chemicals, rough handling, or UV rays, it can’t go back to its original state. Hence, protecting your hair from every possible threat is essential.

can damage the hair differently from the skin. In general, heat from the sun causes moisture to evaporate from the hair, making it dry, brittle, and prone to damage. Prolonged exposure can do more damage. UVB rays are responsible for hair protein loss, while UVA rays destroy the pigment and cause discoloration, says the National Institutes of Health.

Both attack the hair cuticle, which only a haircut can repair. Luckily, there are sunscreen products available specifically for hair and scalp. They usually come in leave-on sprays and sticks. If you can’t find any of these products, the Skin Cancer Foundation suggests layering on powder foundations with SPF 15 or higher on the scalp for added sun protection. It’s better than nothing.

Prevention and maintenance are essential to keep your hair healthy. Hair products with keratin can help improve the appearance of damaged hair by filling in the hair cuticle and smoothing it down. These can protect your scalp and hair from UV damage on top of physical barriers such as hats and sunscreens.

Dove makes keratin shampoos for different hair types and needs that are good for daily use. Dove Intense Repair Keratin Tri-Silk Serum Shampoo strengthens the hair and gets rid of roughness and dryness. Dove Hair fall Rescue+ Keratin Tri-Silk Serum Shampoo fortifies the scalp and prevents hair fall. Finally, Dove Nourishing Oil Care Keratin Tri-Silk Serum Shampoo nourishes both the hair and scalp with weightless Nutri-oils, making hair bouncy and glossy again.

Sun protection for the hair and scalp is just as important as SPF for the skin. If your hair is always dry, discolored, and rough, it’s time to start shielding it from UV rays to prevent further damage.