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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Sunscreen for Hair: The Ultimate Guide by Dr. Alpana

When we think of sunscreen, we often focus on protecting our skin from harmful UV rays, but what about our hair? The truth is, our locks are just as vulnerable to sun damage as our skin. Sunscreen for hair is not just a trend; it's a necessity.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the world of hair sunscreen, exploring its importance, benefits, types, application techniques, and expert advice. By the end, you'll have all the knowledge you need to keep your hair safe from the sun's harmful rays.


Table of Contents


Understanding Sun Damage to Hair

  • How UV rays affect hair structure The two ultraviolet (UV) radiation types, UVA and UVB, that reach the earth can penetrate the hair cuticle, breaking down essential proteins like keratin. As a result, your hair may become weak, brittle, and prone to breakage.

  • Common signs of sun damage to hair Over time, exposure to UV rays can manifest in several ways:

    • Fading of hair color, especially in dyed or highlighted hair.

    • Dryness, frizz, and loss of moisture.

    • Split ends and increased hair porosity.

    • A rough and dull appearance.

Wearing Protective Headwear

Before we move on to talking about how hair sunscreens are oh-so-great and so helpful, let me tell you one thing: Hats, scarves, and headwraps provide adequate protection for your hair and scalp. In such cases, you don't even need a sunscreen for your hair.

However, if you don't like the way protective headwear messes with your style quotient, you might want to look at how you can protect your hair from the perils of the sun.

Right off the bat, let me start with the various types of hair sunscreens and provide you with my recommendations for each type.

Types of Sunscreen for Hair

A. Spray sunscreens

Spray-on sunscreens are convenient and offer even coverage. Look for a product specifically designed for hair.

COOLA Organic Scalp Spray & Hair Sunscreen Mist With SPF 30

B. Leave-in conditioners with SPF

These products combine UV protection with conditioning benefits, making them ideal for daily use. Try the Sun Bum Revitalizing 3 in 1 Leave-In Conditioner.

 Sun Bum Revitalizing 3 in 1 Leave-In Conditioner.

C. UV-protective hair products

Some shampoos, conditioners, and styling products are formulated with UV protection, making it easy to incorporate sun protection into your haircare routine.

D. Natural remedies and DIY options

Some oils, like coconut or argan oil, can provide limited UV protection for those who prefer natural solutions. However, these options are not as effective as dedicated hair sunscreens.

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Hair

A. Hair type considerations

Consider your hair type, whether curly, straight, thick, or fine, when selecting a sunscreen to ensure it meets your needs.

B. SPF rating and its significance

Choose a product with an appropriate SPF rating for your hair type and the level of sun exposure you anticipate.

C. Ingredients to look for and avoid

Check the ingredients for UV-blocking agents like avobenzone, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide. Avoid products containing alcohol, which can be drying.

D. Allergies and sensitivities

If you have sensitive skin or allergies, opt for hypoallergenic or fragrance-free options.

E. Water-resistant options for outdoor activities

If swimming or sweating, use a water-resistant formula to ensure long-lasting protection.

Proper Application of Hair Sunscreen

Step-by-step guide to applying sunscreen to hair

  1. Start with clean, dry hair.

  2. Spray or apply the product evenly from root to tip.

  3. Comb through to distribute the sunscreen.

  4. Style your hair as usual.

Tips for even distribution and coverage

Pay special attention to the ends of your hair and part, as these areas are most exposed to the sun.

Frequency of application

Reapply sunscreen for hair every 2-3 hours when spending extended time in the sun.

Post-sun exposure care

After sun exposure, use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to help repair any damage.

Benefits of Using Sunscreen for Hair

- UV protection for hair and scalp

Hair sunscreens provide a barrier that shields your strands and scalp from harmful UV radiation.

- Prevention of hair color fading

Colored hair is particularly susceptible to fading due to sun exposure. Sunscreen for hair can help maintain vibrant, long-lasting color.

- Preservation of hair health and vitality

Protecting your hair from UV damage will keep it strong, healthy, and best-looking.

- Reduction in frizz and dryness

Sunscreen can prevent the drying effects of the sun, reducing frizz and maintaining your hair's natural moisture.

- Improved manageability and styling

Healthy, UV-protected hair is easier to style and manage, ensuring you look your best.


In the quest for sun protection, don't forget about your hair. Sunscreen for hair is a game-changer, offering numerous benefits, from preserving your hair color to maintaining overall health. With the knowledge and tips in this guide, you're well-equipped to make the right choice and keep your hair radiant and damage-free. Ready to Protect Your Skin Too? Explore our article that delves into various sunscreens for different skin types, sexes, and SPFs.

If you're serious about sun protection, don't miss this comprehensive guide on selecting the perfect sunscreen for your skin type. Learn how to keep your skin safe and healthy under the sun!


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