Everyone knows that as soon as the sun comes out, it’s time to slather on the sun cream to protect our skin. But how many of us take the same care of our hair during summer? A combination of sun exposure, chlorine and salt water can cause hair to become dried out and brittle, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking good care of it.
There are three types of light waves – UVA, UVB and UVC. It’s the UVA and UVB waves that can cause the damage. UVA waves have a long wavelength, meaning that they can penetrate hair to its deepest layer, which can affect the strength and elasticity of the hair. UVB rays can damage the cuticle of the hair, making it appear dull and lifeless. Investing in sun protection for your hair will help prevent damage, either by absorbing or reflecting the UV rays depending on the type you choose.
Going for a swim on holiday may do wonders for your wellbeing, but can take a serious toll on hair. Chlorine strips the hair of its natural protective oils, leaving it damaged and porous – especially if hair is chemically lightened or treated, or if the hair is naturally fine. To limit the damage, saturate your hair with clean water before getting into the pool so that it’s less likely to absorb the chlorinated water, and rinse your hair immediately after getting out to flush the chlorine out. If you’ve already found that spending too much time in the pool has dried out your hair, try a conditioning hair mask or oil mask containing fatty acids to replenish vital moisture.
A surprising amount of us forget that, like any other exposed skin, the scalp can also get sunburned. The best way to avoid this is to keep your head covered with a hat, especially when the sun’s UV light is at its strongest between 10am and 4pm, or apply sun screen directly to the exposed scalp.
Already caught the sun? Shower in cool water and avoid using too many hair products that can irritate the burn further. If necessary, take over-the-counter pain relief and apply a cold compress to ease the irritation. Typically, a sunburned scalp doesn’t cause hair loss – you may lose some hairs whilst the skin on the scalp peels, but in most cases they should grow back.
Just taking a few precautions when you’re on your holiday can make a world of difference to your hair, so make sure you’re giving it the TLC it deserves this summer.