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How To: Prevent Sun Damage to Your Hair and Scalp

You already know that you need to shield your skin every day with a broad-spectrum SPF, but one area is often neglected when heading out for some fun in the sun. Here's how to keep your hair and scalp safe from the rays—without hiding out under the nearest umbrella.

The Sun's Effects

There’s more to sun damage than a few days of discomfort; a burn puts you at risk for skin problems later in life, and the skin on your scalp is no less prone than anywhere else, even if you’ve got a full head of hair.

The effects on your hair are less dire, but notable: Both UVA and UVB rays can damage the cuticle structure, leaving strands fried, splitting, and subject to breakage. If your hair is dry, color-treated, or previously damaged from overprocessing, it will be more vulnerable to UV rays.

Preventing Damage

Start with a protective hair serum to shield hair from the sun. Sachajuan’s UV-filtering formula pulls double-duty as a styling aid: Simply work a quarter-sized amount into damp or dry hair. Waterproof or not, we still recommend reapplying after a dunk in the ocean.

For your skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher at least 30 minutes before venturing outside. Choose a lightweight, oil-free formula; it will absorb into your skin quickly for coverage that’s complete but not greasy. Here’s the part people forget: Apply to any exposed areas of the scalp, and remember to reapply every two hours (whether you swim or not).

Reversing and Repairing Damage

If you’re feeling the burn, use an after-sun treatment like Davines SŪ Hair and Body Wash. It contains anti-inflammatory ingredients to gently cleanse and soothe sensitive skin and condition sun-drenched strands, aiding in their repair. Coconut oil and aloe vera have also proven particularly therapeutic on sunburned skin.

Finish up with a restorative conditioner like Sachajuan’s Hair After the Sun, which is specially formulated for UV exposure. Not only will a deeply hydrating formula calm frizz and quench parched strands; it will also make the cuticle less susceptible to future damage. Just work a nickel-sized amount into your hair until fully absorbed.

Most importantly, avoid the sun while you nurse a burn—and once you're ready to get back out there, proceed with caution.

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