Should you use sunscreen on your hair?

The hair fiber is one of the parts of the hair that suffers the most when exposed to the sun for several hours. How could you take care of it to avoid long-term damage?

Last update: September 26, 2021

Hair and skin are regions of the body that are exposed to the sun's rays. However, the use of sunscreen on hair often goes unnoticed.

In this sense, it is necessary to understand that the scalp is also skin. Therefore, it suffers from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays.

And while hair sunscreen is key to counteracting the effects of overexposure, the power this product has to deal with the consequences of being in contact with salt water or chlorine should not be underestimated. So before planning the summer, think about how to protect your hair.

What does sunscreen do for hair?

Sunscreens are a type of product that can be purchased in gel, spray, cream or oil. They have special molecules that act as a filter for UV rays.

These create a barrier to protect the hair and scalp. They prevent color damage, hair breakage from being generated and even reduce the probability of skin cancer.

It should be noted that it is necessary to look for a sunscreen that is absorbed by the hair. Especially, that is not very thick. Also, some of these products have alcohol, which is why it is recommended to look for ingredients with a botanical extract, such as aloe vera, coconut oil or argan oil.

Steps to apply sunscreen

  1. The product must be shaken to mix all your ingredients. Notably, it is similar to a dry shampoo or conditioner.
  2. Spray a few inches of the hair and go from the roots to the ends.
  3. For people with long and abundant hair, it is recommended to divide it into sections, and then apply sunscreen to each of them.
  4. Hair must be wet or dry. However, if you travel to the beach or the pool you can take this product with you and spray every so often.
Sunlight damages hair. Exposure that is prolonged without protection leads to hair problems.

Damage caused by the sun to the hair

If the holidays and the summer are near, it is best to incorporate sunscreen. Hair, when exposed to the sun for long periods, can suffer some consequences.


Colored hair is one of the most susceptible to damage in your hair fiber. This is because it has already gone through a chemical process, which makes it much weaker.

Blonde hair, being bleached and having less melanin, weakens more easily than brown hair. Especially when coming into contact with salt water.

What's more, type A UV radiation alters color pigments. Also, disinfecting agents such as chlorine tend to give blonde hair a greenish color.


The salt crystals in seawater behave like mirrors that receive UV rays. This leads to hair burning. For this reason, it is advisable to take a fresh water shower or carry some in a container to apply after leaving the sea.

Structural damage

By leaving the hair exposed to type B UV rays, the bonds that bind keratin fibers are attacked by free radicals. This leads to lack of shine, split ends, and a brittle appearance.

Ideas to take care of hair from the sun

Although sunscreen is a product that provides great benefits, for its effect to be enhanced it can be accompanied by other actions. Discover them and apply them!

Have extra hydration

Protecting the quality of the hair is a task that should not be missed in the summer. The first thing is use shampoo and conditioners with antioxidants.

Then, you can apply a hair mask and finish with hydrating oils, such as tea tree. This is in order to keep the cuticle closed.

Diet with antioxidants

Including a diet based on foods like blueberries, grapes, broccoli and spinach, in addition to vitamins C and E, is a practical way to neutralize free radicals. That is to say, block molecules that affect hair health.

Protect the head

Covering hair with a scarf or hat is a useful tactic to protect it from the sun. Even so, the hair should be allowed to breathe every so often so that there is no accumulation of sweat.

Hats help reduce exposure, but it is important to remove them from time to time so that the hair takes in oxygen.

Finally, you have to understand that, unlike solar skin products, hair products come from a newer field of research. There is no doubt that extra care must be applied at home after a visit to the beach or the pool.

In addition, haircutting is one of the processes that benefits hair health after sun exposure. So it is an activity that is worth including it in the list.