The sun’s light waves are categorized by their intensity. There are three categories of light waves. These are UVA, UVB and UVC. The UVA and UVB can both damage the hair in a variety of ways. The UVA rays can burn the hair cuticle which is the outer hair layer. The cuticle contains a web of tiny overlapping scales. Then the scales are damaged they can not lay flat, like they are supposed to, and will look lifeless, brittle and dry. UVA rays can also burn and damage unprotected scalp. It is even possible to burn the part of your hair where scalp is unprotected. UVA rays can damage the skin on the scalp in many ways and activate free radicals which accelerates aging. A several sunburn on the scalp has even been known to cause some cases of hair loss.
- Start by avoiding trouble. Minimize your hair’s exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the rays are the most potent. If you must be out during those times, wear a cover-up to shield your strands from sun exposure.
- Start the summer season with a salon trip to eliminate split ends and handle hair repairs. If your hair normally dries out during summer months, consider having a preventive professional deep-conditioning treatment to ward off potential damage.
- Use of sun protection filters will protect the hair from UVA and UVB damage. Physical filters sit on the hair’s surface and reflect, rather than absorb, ultraviolet rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are some examples of physical filters used in most sunscreens. They repel radiation at all wavelengths (including infra-red waves), which is essential as burning and damage involves the interaction of all wavelengths at varying degrees. On the other hand, chemical Filters absorb ultraviolet light like a sponge and prevents the sun’s rays from penetrating and attacking the hair. The fact that they can be mixed into any base, dissolved into gels, lotions, moisturizing cream bases and waterproof formulations making them cosmetically acceptable for use on the hair.
- Straw hats have always been a popular choice for beach-goers. You can even wear a scarf underneath the hat to ensure no sun exposure.
- When you are unexpectedly thrust into the sun without your favorite hair protection, comb a dollop of regular sunscreen with a minimum of 15 SPF through your hair. Apply to exposed scalp to prevent damage and/or sunburn. The sun breaks down the protective ingredients in sunscreens, so don’t forget to reapply them every hour when swimming, sweating or playing sports.
Don’t despair if you find yourself with damaged hair from salt, sun or chemicals. Select a product that can help with hair damage recovery by restoring, hydrating and lubricating hair exposed to damaging summer conditions. Consider using a detox or after-sun shampoo that is designed to remove salt, pool chemicals and damaging environmental toxins.