Sunscreen protects skin from premature aging caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays. With such unsightly issues as wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots caused by the sun, not to mention the threat of deadly skin cancer, it is no wonder sunscreen is an everyday essential. But what about sun protection for your hair? How does sunscreen help hair, and is it even worth the effort? While there is some debate over this question, there are certainly some strong arguments for using this kind of defense.

Why bother?

Sunscreen hair products that offer protection from the harmful rays of the sun have been a growing trend in the world of hair care. In the curly community, one particularly strong argument is that sunscreen can help your hair maintain your moisture and protect it from heat - two common hair concerns for us.

The sun and your hair color

Another one of the major ways sunscreen helps hairs is that it protects color-treated hair from losing its color. You've probably experienced natural lightening of your hair color during the summer months, this is because the sun essentially bleaches unprotected hair. This can be a problem especially for chemically colored hair. While some have argued that hair products with sunscreen formulas are only partially effective because it’s impossible to completely cover each strand enough to prevent all damage, having a little protection is still better than no protection at all.

The sun and your scalp

Another benefit of using sunscreen for hair is the way it protects your scalp. Most people never stop to think about how much sun exposure their scalps get every day. This sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, dry scalp, irritation, and premature hair loss. It is important to protect your scalp from sun damage because it is the bed of healthy hair.

The real issue with sunscreen for hair seems to be providing proper coverage. Make sure you apply enough product to your strands to make them slightly damp and pay attention to the roots as well as the scalp.

Sun damage to hair is often confused with other signs of unhealthy hair. When hair is damaged by the sun, it will show certain signs such as

  • faded color
  • dryness
  • brittleness
  • lack of volume
  • frizz

Since any exposure to the sun leaves strands vulnerable to moisture loss, you should make sure your uses rich conditioners after exposure to the sun as part of your plan to protect hair.

When shopping for sunscreen products for your hair, check the ingredients for UVA-absorbing ingredients like

  • Oxybenzone
  • Avobenzone
  • Dibenzoyl methanes
For a full list of ingredients, read the Curl Chemist's full article here

Coconut oil can also be used as a natural protectant, find out how here.