Summertime is fast approaching and it’s easy to get caught up in the warmth and forget to adequately protect your hair. It’s common knowledge that the sun has the potential to cause skin damage, increase aging and even trigger cancer, but in addition to treating your skin to the protection of SPF lotions, it’s vital to keep your hair from harm too.
The sun’s light waves come in the form of ultraviolet rays of three types – UVA, UVB and UVC. We’re protected from UVC waves by the ozone layer, but UVA and UVB waves damage hair in a variety of different ways.
UVA rays are packed with radiation and, due to their long wavelength, have the ability to penetrate hair’s deepest inner layer, the cortex. This part of the hair provides strength and elasticity – damage in this area can be irreparable. Failure to protect from these rays can also cause the scalp to burn, which in extreme cases, can cause hair loss.
UVB rays target the hair’s cuticle. When the cuticle’s cells are damaged they’re unable to lay flat, causing hair to appear dull and lifeless.
Sun damage to the hair manifests itself similarly to damage caused by heated products such as hair dryers and straighteners – split ends, faded colour, dullness and brittle hair. Luckily, there are several steps that can be taken to avoid these unfortunate side effects of enjoying the sunshine.
Sun protection for the hair falls into two categories – chemical filters and physical filters. Chemical filters absorb ultraviolet rays and prevent the sun from attacking the hair. Physical filters sit on the surface of hair and reflect ultraviolet rays – their repelling technique helps to stop burning. Both filters are found in a variety of protective products with waterproof formulations, making them cosmetically acceptable for use on the hair.
So next time you’re on holiday with your head buried in a book and a cocktail in hand, don’t forget about your hair, it needs sun protection too!