When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun, there are plenty of options out there â€” sprays, oils, lotions, powders, and even clothing with SPF. But what about protection for your hair and scalp? Sure, a hat seems like the most obvious way to cover up, but it isnâ€™t always an option â€” especially if youâ€™re out in the water. Hereâ€™s what you need to know:
1. Just like your skin, your hair can burn.
The hot Malaysian climate and strong UV rays act on your hair in a similar way to bleach; they oxidize and degrade the disulphide bonds that hold it together, reducing cystine content and causing brittleness, dryness, breakage and lack of manageability. Chlorine can be similarly drying, and as pool water often contains traces of copper, it may even turn blond hair green. Salt water is also bad news; being osmotic, it leaches water out of each strand, rapidly reducing moisture content and elasticity. You might not always be able to feel the burn, but the sunâ€™s rays will take a toll on your hair.
2. Donâ€™t forget to protect your scalp.
The scalp is an often-neglected area when it comes to sun protection and has a heightened rise of developing cancerous cells due to frequent UV exposure. Apply sunblock to your part when youâ€™re going to be spending a good deal of time outside and reapplying after swimming. If youâ€™re someone with fine or thinning hair, adding protection to your scalp is even more important. It is highly recommended to use a water-resistant zinc sunscreen.
3. Pick products with a UV filter.
The best way to shield your hair from such damage is by wearing a hat. However, applying a hydrating hair mask containing UV protection before swimming or sitting in the sun will also be of great benefit. This waterproof leave-in cream protects hair from UV, salt, and chlorine damage. For everyday, look for a leave-in conditioning spray that contains UV filters.
4. Take care of a scalp burn.
If you get a minor burn on your scalp, you can treat it the same way you would a sunburn elsewhere on your skin by using aloe vera. Make sure you keep the affected area out of the sun until it has healed by wearing a hat or headscarf. Stay away from heated styling tools, like blow-dryers and hair straighteners, until your burn has healed. Brushing, especially near the scalp, must be done very gently to prevent pulling, scratching, and further irritation. If you have a severe burn, seek the advice of a medical professional to avoid infection and scarring.