Let’s assume you are planning a holiday in the tropics. You remember about taking sunscreens with high UV filter, and a decent pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. But do you remember about protecting your hair? On hot summer days, the hair also needs protection. Many disregard this, but Hair in the sun can be exposed to severe damage and if you lack protection, you may even develop a sunstroke.
The sun’s rays make the skin darker and the hair brighter. But how much our hair reacts to the sun depends entirely on various factors. The lightest hair types and those inherently thinner and more delicate tend to get bright really quickly.
Natural highlights look impressive – they’re often better than those that have been poorly dyed at home. Lightly brightened hair makes us look younger, complementing our skin and facial features. This is why many women like this effect very much, and deliberately put their hair out in the sun. But if the exposure is long and repeated for several days, the effects may be deplorable.
Only part of the sun’s rays reaches the Earth’s surface, the rest is blocked by the ozone layer in the atmosphere – so thankfully we’re exposed to the less dangerous sunlight. However, the fact that they are less dangerous does not mean that they’re completely harm-free. On the contrary, UV radiation causes skin burns, and in extreme cases even skin cancer can develop. And as already mentioned, if a hat isn’t worn, sharp sun may even cause a sunstroke. Therefore it’s no trifle, the skin, the eyes and hair in the sun need protection!
The sun’s rays tend to unseal the hair’s casing – as each strand is made from overlapping scales. The UV light then penetrates into the cortex layer. This means that our hair is much more vulnerable to drying out, as quick loss of water and oxidation of melanin occur. So, the sun dries our hair, which turns them dull, brittle and susceptible to destruction. Besides, if we submerge ourselves in seawater or chlorinated pool water, then we can truly return from the holiday with hair that’s in a very bad condition.
Natural hair in the sun is damaged to a lesser extent compared to hair that’s dyed. Artificial colouring may even potentially cause complete destruction of the melanin, and the increased sun exposure will only intensify this effect.
First of all, it is worth to avoid being in the sun in the early/late afternoon hours when the radiation is strongest. If this isn’t possible, then remember to at least use a hat or any other headgear. It is always worth taking a headscarf or hat for a holiday, preferably one in a bright colour that will reflect sunlight and make you less warm. We should also use head-covering when swimming in the sea or swimming pools – not many people use swimming caps when going abroad, and yet they could really help your hair out.
Interestingly, there are many cosmetics on the market that protect hair from the radiation effects. They contain the same UV filters as sunscreens that we normally lubricate the body with and are contained in shampoos, conditioners, you name it. Within their composition there is also a lot of nutrients and moisturizers that prevent excessive water loss.