SPFing: Hair Care

Posted by Ellen on Mon, 06/09/2014 - 12:00 AM

When it comes to your tresses UV protection can be a little tricky.

You see, the thing is no matter how potent the SPF in your shampoo or conditioner may be, you’re ultimately washing the protection benefits down the drain. Now that doesn’t mean attempts at SPFing your tresses are pointless. Trace amounts do lock in and with continual care a protective layer builds up.




But first, a refresher on UV rays and how they manage to damage your hair.  Ok, so you’ve got UVA and UVB rays. UVA are long wave ultraviolet A rays -- the reason why your hair happens to lighten during the summer months. UVB are short wave ultraviolet B rays -- the reason why your hair becomes dry, brittle, and breaks during those same months.


There’s more than just what meets the eye though, these rays are damaging the hair from its outer cuticle to the inner structure. The most damage is done to the hair shaft, a layer of protein known as keratin just beneath the cuticle. UVB rays breakdown this layer, which gives hair its elasticity and strength. Fortunately for those who have darker hair, brunette and black, containing more melanin pigments than lighter hues, such as blonde and red, the protein breakdown doesn’t occur as quickly. The melanin acts as a UV filter blocking the rays. For those with chemically treated hair though -- bleached, straightened, permed --  the damage occurs rather quickly and is more intense.


Damaging effects include:



Split ends




While UV protection can be tricky, it is possible and no matter your hair type there’s an option.




Additional Tips:

On days when you know you’re going to be really active, working up a sweat under the sun, twirl your hair into a bun and tuck it under a hat. Sweat contains acids that when paired with UV rays lead to trouble.

It’s not just your hair that suffers under the sun, your scalp does too. So make sure you apply full strength SPF directly on your scalp where you part your hair, as well as on the tops of your ears.