How The Sun Could Potentially Be Damaging Your Hair

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

It's 2018, by now we should all know the damaging effects the sun has on our skin. Unless you are my mother, then your 80's child runs wild and still uses oil to get a tan (calling you out ma). What we don't always realize is that our skin isn't the only thing becoming damaged from too many hours out in the blazing heat (or cold, the sun doesn't judge). This year, in particular, I found out the hard way that my skin wasn't the only thing I needed to protect.

Within two months of working outside, I started to notice a drastic change in my hair. It was dry, brittle, and lighter. While the highlights aren't that bad (saving me money), the other factors made me grow hatred towards my once luscious locks. Not only are your strands getting hit, but we often forget that our scalp is, in fact, skin and can burn. Protecting your head is just as important as protecting the rest of your body. But, why?

We all know the harm that comes from the sun, known as UVA and UVB rays. UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B), also known as the short and long wave, are two harmful rays that come from the sun. UVA is what penetrates deep into our skin, causing adverse consequences. Too much exposure can lead to wrinkling, weak immunity, skin aging, and even cancer. So what can it do to our hair?

Just like a flat iron, the sun slowly takes its toll on your strands. It can damage the cuticle, also known as the outer cover of your hair lock. Too much of this can lead to split ends, brittle strands, discoloration, frizziness, thinning, and so much more. Basically, this ray is like bleaching your hair without the fantastic products your hairdresser gives to nourish it back to life. Certain types of hair, like fine or light colored strands, are even more vulnerable.

Are you a girl who styles your hair daily? That's not necessarily a bad thing, but this on top of the sun can drastically damage your head more than you realize. These heating irons (and even chlorine pools) weaken each strand and lets that sun do its worse. These tools can damage your keratin levels (a protein that keeps hair healthy and durable) and lets the sun seep in even more.

Don't worry though, even if you love laying out there are still ways you can save those locks from severe damage. After I had realized my hair was becoming brittle and breaking off, I immediately took precautions. Once I cut off some of the dead (I miss you already), I started taking care of my strands the same way I would my skin. Don't let the sun win. You too can use these tools and have healthy locks all year round.

Photo by Sercan SOLMAZ on Unsplash

Stay indoors during peak times.
Some of us can't do this, but if you can, you should. You can quickly go to any weather site and see when the peak time will be and try to avoid the outdoors during those hours. This typically falls under the hours of 10A.M to 3P.M. This is when those UV rays are at its strongest. Try to schedule your outdoor activities around this, or at the very least, only stay out for a short period of time. If you find this difficult, you can also try to find shady areas while outside.

One key thing to remember is that clouds don't mean you are in the shade. Just because it is cloudy doesn't necessarily mean you are protected. In fact, this is when most people get harmful exposures. It is inevitable that when it is overcast, we just assume the sun is not at full force (after all, it doesn't feel like it is). We usually stay out longer because of this and risk being exposed to the rays that are still seeping into our skin and strands.

Wear a hat.
It is not just a fashion piece, it is protective gear. While you can't protect all of your hair with a hat (well, some of you can), it will keep your scalp and roots safe. You can get a straw hat that will act as an umbrella for the loose strands or even reach for an umbrella when heading to the beach (think Sex and The City). A tan might seem cute, but those brittle ends won't.

Get a UV filtered product.
We buy millions of products each year, why would you not purchase one that saves those strands? Just like sunblock, you need to have some form of protection for your hair. You can find products that have UV protection or, at the very least, get a heat protectant. While this might not solve the UV problem, it will keep your hair protected from the other harsh tools we use on it. The stronger your hair is, the better chance it has of fighting the sun. You can try these products below that have a UV filter (and create soft, silky strands).

You can even use natural oils as sun protection. Oils like avocado, coconut, and raspberry seed have been known to help block the pesky Rays. Not only this, but they will add shine and smoothness into your locks for a natural styling product. Have thinning hair? It might seem weird, but you can massage sunscreen into your scalp for those areas that are most vulnerable.

Wash your hair and condition.
If you are in a pool, like most of us are during the summer, you are adding harmful chemicals that weaken the strands. Always make sure to rinse off after a dip so that these chemicals don't let the sun wreak havoc. Again, summer isn't the only time the sun can do damage. Make sure you are purchasing shampoo and conditioner that works best for your hair type and try to get a deep conditioner once a week to every other week. I personally love Biolage but find what works best for you.

We love our hair and, if you are like me, feel a tad miserable when we have bad hair days. Don't let the sun cause brittle strands. It takes two seconds to protect your locks (and only a few dollars). Once the damage is there, you could be wasting money and cutting off more than you had intended. Let me know in the comments below what you use to protect your locks from all the heat it deals with.

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