How to protect your hair from sun damage this summer

Anabel Kingsley, Consultant Trichologist and Brand President of Philip Kingsley, reveals her top tips to prevent sun damage to your hair this summer.
Anabel Kingsley, Consultant Trichologist and Brand President of Philip Kingsley, reveals her top tips to prevent sun damage to your hair this summer.

Summer is here (finally!), but the warmer weather means more sun safe measures need to be in place not only for our skin and scalp, but our hair too.

“UV ray exposure can cause a huge amount of damage to your hair, and the longer the exposure, the worse the damage,” Anabel Kingsley, Consultant Trichologist and Brand President Philip Kingsley, tells Yahoo UK.

In fact, studies have found that UV radiation can lead to loss of hair strength and shine, make it brittle and more prone to split ends, and create greater hair friction.

So, how can you protect your hair this summer? Kingsley reveals her top tips to Yahoo UK below.

“Unlike skin, your hair is not a living tissue, so it doesn’t get sunburnt in the same way your skin does. However, UV rays definitely damage hair,” Kingsley explains.

“UV rays act on strands in a similar way to bleach as they can oxidise hair pigment, damage hair protein, degrade the protective fatty acids found on the outer cuticle, increase porosity and weaken the chemical bonds that hold it together. All of these chemical changes can result in breakage, brittleness, loss of shine and smoothness, the formation of split ends and dryness.”

If you suspect your hair might be sun damaged, Kingsley says the most obvious sign is that the colour will lighten as the UV rays can oxidise the hair pigment.

“Other cues to look out for is that your hair feels rough and dry and that it tangles and breaks more easily,” she adds.

Woman holding at damaged splitting ends of hair, Haircare concept
Sun damage can lead to split ends. (Getty Images)

Along with UV rays, Kingsley warns that both salt and chlorinated water can also affect your hair’s condition, which is why she recommends using a hydrating cream on your hair’s strands.

“Apply a UV protective cream to your strands. I love our Swimcap cream, which was originally made for the US Olympic synchronised swim team,” Kingsley explains. “It protects hair from UV rays as well as salt and chlorinated water all whilst giving your hair a hydrating treatment.”

Kingsley also suggests wearing a cap or hat, allowing your hair to air dry where possible, wearing your hair in a braid or bun at the beach, and eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables as this is imperative to hair health and growth.

If you do notice your hair becoming damaged from the sun, Kingsley recommends treating is with a weekly pre-shampoo deep conditioning treatment to restore elasticity, strength, and moisture – using it twice a week if your hair is particularly dry.

“As sun damaged hair is weaker and more porous, you should take extra care when you style,” she adds. “Try to minimise your use of tools that can cause further damage, like hot hair dryers, straighteners, curling tongs and boar bristle brushes. If you bleach or colour your hair, be mindful that your hair is more fragile.”

If you notice any signs of scalp damage, Kingsley recommends keeping your scalp out of the sun and applying soothing lotions that contain aloe vera and, in severe cases, see your dermatologist.