As the temperatures rise, it’s likely you’ll be spending more and more time outdoors under the hot summer sun. Most people remember to pack a tube of sunscreen for outdoor adventures, and you may even apply special facial sunscreen and SPF lip balm.
But have you thought about your scalp?
Too many people forget about the damage the sun’s rays can do to the delicate skin on the scalp, thinking that a head of hair will be enough to protect it. However, hair often isn’t enough to shield your skin from damaging UV rays, especially along your part. This is why it is necessary to use sun protection measures for your head and scalp.
The potential dangers of the sun
Leaving your scalp unprotected from the sun can have some serious consequences—especially if you spend a lot of time outside this summer. First and foremost, an unprotected scalp is at risk of getting a nasty sunburn, especially along your part or all over if your hair is thin.
You don’t want to deal with a painful and itchy scalp (and the flakiness that’s likely to follow) if it can easily be avoided. Blisters may also develop if your sunburn is really bad, and these can be extremely painful, especially if you’re trying to brush or style your hair.
However, the occasional sunburn isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Skin cancer is also possible, and melanomas are quite common on people’s scalps. Think about it: With all the time you spend outside in the sun, you’re subjecting yourself to a lot of UV rays over the years! And, because it’s not easy to see your scalp on your own, it’s possible that skin cancer can go undetected for a while.
Finally, while sunburn on your scalp is unlikely to damage your hair itself, the sun’s rays can also cause damage to your strands. Intense sun can dry out your hair, making it look and feel brittle and lifeless and causing it to be more susceptible to breakage.
Top ways to protect your scalp
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can protect your scalp (and hair!) throughout summer and the rest of the year to cut down on the potential for sunburns or more serious consequences. Use these tips to keep your scalp and hair in good condition all summer.
- Sunscreen for your scalp: While you could put normal sunscreen onto your scalp, you may not like the texture and feeling it causes on the skin or the oily effects it can have on your roots. Fortunately, there are many specially formulated sun screen products designed for your hair and scalp, such as non-greasy lotion formulas or spray-on misting products that can also help your hair. Some leave-in conditioners are also formulated with SPF to protect your strands at the same time.
- Hats: If you’re not keen on applying sun block lotion directly on your scalp, your best option for protection is to wear a hat. Make sure the hat is thick enough to provide adequate protection—thin or loosely woven hats will still let a lot of UV rays through. It’s also ideal to find a brimmed hat with a brim at least three inches wide. This not only protects your scalp, but also your ears, face and the back of your neck, too!
- Shade: Even if you’re wearing sun block lotion and/or a hat to protect yourself from the sun, it’s a good idea to relax in the shade more often than not. Umbrellas, awnings and even tree cover can provide shelter from direct UV rays so you can relax and enjoy the weather while not having to worry about being harmed by the sun. And, being in the shade offers greater protection from sunburns in other areas of the body, as well as heatstroke, to keep you safer.
It’s not enough to just protect your face and body from the sun this summer. Protecting your scalp is also, if not more, important. After all, your scalp is one of the first things the sun touches as you relax or have a blast outdoors.
Finally, remember that proper nutrition and hydration are extremely important to maintaining a healthy scalp and head of hair, not only in summer, but year-round. Drink lots of water and get lots of nutrients to keep your scalp healthy and your hair shiny and strong.