How To Protect Your Hair From The Sun – Say No To Sun Damage

Hair Exposure To The Sun

Who doesn’t love to get out to enjoy the sun sometimes? It has a lot of positive effects which include helping your mood. However, it has its negative effects too, and not just on your skin, but your hair as well. This is why I’m going to let you know just how to protect your hair from the sun whenever you go out and you know that you’re going to be exposed to a pretty good amount of sunlight.


Why Too Much Exposure Isn’t Good For Your Hair

Hair In The Sun


When your hair gets too exposed to the sun, the UV rays could have some harmful effects. Speaking about these UV rays, there are actually two types that affect your hair. They are UVA and UVB, with the UVA rays being a lot more than the UVB.

UVA causes your hair colour to fade with time, especially if you’re spending a significant amount of time in the sun. Melanin which is a pigment that’s found in the hair and is therefore responsible for hair colour, plays a role in determining how much your hair colour fades with exposure to the sun. The darker your hair is, the less your hair actually fades, which means that if your hair is blonde, you’re going to notice the fading effects a lot more than a brunette.

Hair is made of proteins, which give it strength and help with its structure. UVB rays cause these proteins to break down, causing your hair to get brittle, basically making it unhealthy. The melanin pigment in your hair helps with absorbing some harmful rays which helps to protect the proteins to a certain degree. It’s very important to note that protein loss due to UV rays occurs with every hair type, so you have to make sure you don’t take this lightly.


Some Other Relatable Effects Of Sunlight On The Hair

Dry Hair

When you’re out in the sun frequently and for long periods of time, you may observe your hair becoming dry and brittle. The sun does an amazing job at taking out as much moisture out of your hair as it possibly can, leaving your hair to feel this way.

Even though the sun affects your hair, it could harm your scalp as well, leading to sunburns. This is actually caused by UVB rays. If it’s summer, it could get dusty and this could pile up on your scalp. Due to the fact that it could get very hot, your scalp produces more sebum, and you also tend to sweat more, which could contribute to how greasy your hair is.

Honestly, summer is when a lot of people just decide to let their hair soak in on the sun, but they don’t really know that exposing their hair that much has adverse effects. Are you someone that has noticed their hair getting more frizzy at this time? You’re not the only one. Even if you usually battle with frizzy hair, over-exposure to the sun could make it worse, and you could develop split ends more often as well.


What You Could Do To Protect It

A Woman Wearing a Hat

  • Try a hat: I know that not too many people are into hats, but I’m telling you right now that wearing a hat could protect your hair from the harsh rays of the sun. If you do want to purchase one, its brim should be wide enough to protect your face and definitely your neck. With this, you would have optimum protection for your hair. If you already have something like this, great! If you’re not too keen on this style, you can get something smaller, as long as your hair’s covered.
    • A hat with a UPF 50 is perfect: Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is used to measure just how much a piece of clothing protects you from the UV rays. In this case, your hat would offer you 98% protection from the rays, and just letting only 2% pass through it. I think that’s pretty amazing, so getting a hat with a UPF 50 is definitely worth it.
  • Put on some oils: If you really want to figure out how to protect your hair from the sun, it’s a good step to start with applying oils. When you put oils on your hair, you’re doing it a favour because it’s going to receive some protection from the UV rays, unlike when you don’t add any at all. With this being said, oils actually serve as natural sunscreens for your hair and help to prevent your scalp from getting sunburned. Some of these oils are;
    • Coconut Oil
    • Avocado Oil
    • Grape Seed Oil
    • Almond Oil
    • Carrot Seed Oil
    • Jojoba Oil
  • Be besties with your conditioner: People, you need to pamper your hair with a conditioner. With the sun’s drying out effects, you need something that’s going to replenish the moisture that your hair has lost. Your lovely conditioner is perfect for this, so make sure you use it.
    • Try a leave-in conditioner: If you’re not really into rinsing off your conditioner after washing, a leave-in conditioner would probably be a better option for you. It’s going to help with protecting your hair from UV rays, so it’s a good option. Whatever works for you to keep your hair hydrated.
    • Use a deep conditioner: Compared to regular conditioners, deep conditioners are thicker and are meant to be left in your hair for a longer period before washing them out. This helps to repair damage that your hair has suffered, and it adds moisture to it. At this point, you know that anything that moisturizes your hair would definitely help with minimizing the damaging effects of the sun.
  • Take it easy with shampooing: When you wash your hair too often, you could end up making it dry and brittle. These same effects are exactly what the sun does to your hair. This means that if you go out in the sun with hair that’s already in this state, you’re already losing the battle. If your hair is dry, its moisture levels are not so great, which is what you don’t want. You want your hair to retain as much moisture as it can, so mind how you wash it.
  • Use Sunscreen For Your Hair and Scalp: Many people don’t think their hair is just as important as their bodies, when they’re applying sunscreen. In fact, some don’t remember that their scalp is also part of their skin, which causes them to neglect it completely. Of course, you could use the sunscreen that you use on your body for your scalp, but it may not provide the same level of protection for your hair. It’s best to get a product that’s specially formulated for protecting your hair and your scalp as well.


What Happens To The Hair With Moderate Sun Exposure?

Moderate Exposure To The Sun

We’ve seen how being exposed to the sun for too long causes your hair to get damaged. Now, what if you’re only moderately exposed? What if you do spend some time in the sun, but you’re careful about how much exposure you’re getting and you’re taking the necessary steps to make sure that you’re not over-doing it? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, then the sun is actually working in your favour. Let’s see how.

When you’re in the sun, it causes your body to produce vitamin D, which is not just important for your overall health, but having healthy hair as well. Someone with a deficiency in this vitamin isn’t provided with the nutrients that would help the hair to grow, which means that they could have hair loss as a result of this.

Enjoy The Sun, But Take Caution

Enjoy The Sun

The fact that the sun has the potential to do damage to your hair, doesn’t mean you should totally stay away from it. As I mentioned, it’s still important to have some exposure because it has some benefits too. Just make sure you’re not being exposed for too long, and take precautions to maintain a healthy hair and scalp while you’re out there. Cheers!




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Chizoba Onyekwuluje


  1. I absolutely hate wearing hats. It makes my head sweat and my hair get super greasy. That said I do moderate my time in the sun and use tons of conditioner and essential oils. I think I should be relatively protected from this sort of damage. My biggest problem is hair loss. I can’t seem to get it as full and thick as it used to be. I used to get headaches when I would wear a ponytail from the weight. Now I barely can cover my scalp if I try to pull it up. Its so sad.

    • I definitely understand many people won’t be comfortable with hats for different reasons. However, from everything you’ve said, you seem to be doing a really good job with keeping your hair protected. If you’re suffering from hair loss, it’s probably because of wearing a tight ponytail too often. You’re putting tension on your scalp, and as a result, it’s harming your hair. You should try to wear your hair down more often, or switch to a style that won’t put so much stress on your hair. There could be other reasons why you’re experiencing hair loss as well. I have a detailed post on Top Causes Of Hair Loss. You should check it out, and it will give you an idea of some other factors which may be contributing to it. I would also advise you to see your doctor, just so that you can really understand what’s going on. I hope this helps.

  2. You make some really good points… Usually we think of the harmful effects the sun’s UV rays have on our skin, but don’t think much about our hair. Thank you for sharing your tips!

  3. Hi Chizoba, thank you for a very interesting and informative article about how to protect your hair from the sun.

    I must admit many things you mention I had not even considered. When I am in the sun the last thing I think about is covering my hair unless of course, it is very hot!
    However, after reading your article which makes a lot of sense to me I am definitely going to be following your suggestions.

    Great site… keep up the good work!

  4. This is a great article, since my way can not be too long in the sun because she has sensitive hair, so we will take a look to these oils and hopefully one of those will help!

  5. I do spend a lot of time in the sun for sure, and it’s not always possible or comfortable for me to wear a hat, especially when it is really hot out. It makes me sweat terribly. So the oils sound like what I should do. My hair is very dry, so protecting oils will give me the benefit of sun protection plus probably make it look silkier.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Great website. I’m going to bookmark it for sure!


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