Whether you’re the victim of the genetic lottery or you’re losing your hair through illness, stress, or medication, you probably do what you can to protect each valuable strand on your head. If so, then you should certainly be aware of the effects of sun exposure on your scalp and hair.

Sunlight is not only good for you—but it’s also vital to human health. It helps regulate your body’s internal clock, boosts vitamin D production (which is vital for bone health), and improves mood by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. However, overexposure to UV light from the sun can cause serious damage to your skin, including premature ageing and skin cancer.

This article outlines the effect of sun exposure on the hair and scalp and how best to manage it.

The fact is UV rays from the sun can have a damaging effect on both your skin and hair. In fact, studies show that exposure to UVA radiation results in colour changes in the hair, and UVB radiation is responsible for the loss of hair protein, primarily keratin. While melanin pigments offer some protection, UV rays can break these down, too, reducing their protective function. 

Additionally, sun exposure can be a major contributor to thinning hair, as damage occurs when ultraviolet (UV) rays reach your scalp and penetrate past the epidermis or the skin’s outermost layer. Unchecked, UV radiation is responsible for accelerating the ageing process, including contributing to cell deterioration within the dermis—the middle layer of skin that contains collagen and elastin fibres.

The Sun’s Oxidising Effect On Hair Strands

We recognise the effect of oxidation in the form of rust on a metal object or perhaps the browning of an apple when exposed to oxygen. This chemical reaction also occurs within our hair strands when we spend too much time in the sun. 

Prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays compromises the cuticle, the outside covering of the hair shaft that protects the more fragile components within. This manifests as dry, brittle hair strands that break easily, becoming unmanageable after a time. The result of overexposure to the sun acts very much like bleach on our hair, stripping the colour, moisture, and protein from it. 

While all hair types and colours are affected by UV rays, fine and light-coloured hair is more susceptible to damage. Therefore, people who already have thinning, fine, or greying hair are at risk of suffering further damage to both their hair and scalp from sun exposure. 

While darker, thicker hair bears up better under the UV rays, it is not immune to the drying effects of the sun. Redheads, blondes, and those with very fine, flat hair shafts are particularly susceptible to sun-damaged hair. 

Several studies have highlighted the effects of excessive sun exposure, citing it as the “most frequent cause of hair shaft’s structural impairment.” ¹  As previously mentioned, melanin offers direct and indirect protection to the hair shaft, but as this (colour) starts to degrade, the effect of the sun’s rays becomes more profound. Another study ² concluded that the effects of photochemical oxidation equate to the chemical processing of the hair, resulting in a reduction of breaking and stretching strength of the hair shaft. 

Once we understand how the sun affects both our hair and scalp we learn that sun exposure combined with thinning hair can lead to even more hair loss. It’s an unfortunate cycle; the scalp becomes more exposed to UV rays as the protective layer of hair thins, and the sun has more impact on the finer, lighter hair remaining making it even lighter and more prone to breakage.

How To Minimize Thinning Hair and Improve Scalp Health

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat if you’re spending time in the sun.
  • Use sun protection products on the scalp and hair, such as sunscreen spray.
  • Use a hair mask regularly that contains a mix of the right proteins and other nutrients to strengthen the hair. 

These preventative measures will certainly assist you to keep your hair and scalp in the best condition possible, but what more can be done?

Prevent Hair Loss Early On

We definitely subscribe to the adage that prevention is better than cure, and especially so when it comes to our hair. Granted, some hair loss such as that caused by male pattern baldness, the side effects of some medical treatments and autoimmune diseases, are unavoidable. But that’s not true for everyone. 

Therefore, if you have noticed your hair thinning, or you are experiencing scalp issues, then we encourage you to talk to a qualified trichologist as soon as you can. There are a host of reasons why you could be battling with hair and scalp issues, and not all of them are strictly medical. 

For example:

  • Chronic stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on our bodies and affect hair growth
  • Bacterial or fungal infections can cause scalp issues which can result in damaged follicles and scar tissue
  • Over-styling and the use of relaxers, weaving and braiding can result in permanent hair loss if not caught early.
  • A lack of correct hair care, a poor diet, and various “lifestyle” related illnesses can cause hair to thin over time. 

Don’t Wait!

If you’re suffering from hair and scalp issues, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible. If there is any chance that your hair loss can be arrested, then we are certain we can assist you. 

And of course, in the meantime, be sure to care gently for your hair – no matter how much or how little – and your scalp. Stay aware of the effect of sun exposure on your scalp, and do what you can to protect these valuable assets. 

Get in touch today for a consultation.

Sandra
Sandra
2024-06-12
Dear Eleanor, Teresa and Ashley, I just wanted to thank you all first and foremost for the hospitality. The warmth from the moment one walks in to meet Ashley to then commencing the treatments with Eleanor and Teresa is unmatched. Eleanor and Teresa, I can't thank you enough for the confidence you instilled in me. I came to you when I was at my wit's end. But gently and slowly, you educated me about my hair and treated me back to a place where I started wearing my hair out for first time in over 10yrs, I can wear it out. Thank you for the treatments Thank you for the care Thank you for the education Thank you for the words of encouragement
Whitney Koranteng
Whitney Koranteng
2024-05-25
Hi came across Fulham and scalp through a talk they did. My hair was in desperate need as it was dry with patches. I had a consultation and I found out that along with my dry hair I had traction alopecia due to back to back braiding styles along with CCA due to PCOS. The consultation was amazing. I did not realised how inflamed my scalp was due to hair practices but my lifestyle. I was recommended treatment in the clinic and a treatment to take home. I have been coming back for the past 8 months to receive treatment and trims and I have seen such an improvement in my hair. They have helped me with having a consistent hair routine. I would highly recommend as I was losing hair foicles and had no reason why.
J M
J M
2024-05-16
Trichologist’s Teresa and Eleanore are absolutely lovely, friendly and approachable. Super lucky to have found this Clinic, especially one that specialises in my Afro hair. I’ve taken on all the advice that they’ve given me and my hair has been improving in under 2 months. Naturally, I am feeling 100% confident with my hair. I’m still going on the journey. Their products are absolutely stimulating, and my hair loves it! Ashley is a star. The GREATEST compliments cannot even define the magic these ladies have worked so hard to help me accomplish. Thank you!🌟 Looking forward to my next appointment.✨
Swiss Note
Swiss Note
2024-05-15
Unbelievable place, Magical, I’m so thankful for YOU “Hair & Scalp clinics” work‼️‼️ The treatments you can purchase have worked wonders daily, weekly or monthly use depending on preference, what you can offer, scheduling. It has been so beneficial for me, I can’t lie I came into this unassuming and sceptical as I had scalp issue all my life now it’s all CLEAR UP FROM ME. THANKs to this amazing family run Afro all sorts of hair treated establishments
Ifẹ A
Ifẹ A
2024-05-04
This place has genuinely changed my life! I went from relying on the daily use of wigs to finally being able to understand and appreciate my natural coils. I would never have been able to wear my natural hair out a year ago (mostly due to the fact that I had so many bald spots and basically no hairline!) so I am shocked daily at how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. If you decide to visit, please do listen to the advice of these wonderful experts, it really does work! I’ve also realised how much we over complicate black hair, healthy black hair is actually super simple to achieve. Thank you everyone at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic! Each day I wear my hair out, I’m appreciative of the day I discovered this wonderful place!
Beth L
Beth L
2024-04-08
I’ve been getting desperate with my 4C hair situation, so I’m so glad I found this clinic. Eleanore and Ashley were so accommodating and nice! I learned a lot of new things. Now, my hair has improved a LOT after following Eleanore's advice. Highly recommend.
Judith Worrell
Judith Worrell
2024-04-03
I feel and look confident after my treatment and trim from Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic and recommend anyone struggling with traction alopecia to confront the issue and contact the clinic as I did I have no regrets just new hair growth and a great look.
Courteney
Courteney
2024-01-12
Booked a consultation and the information I received was life changing. Didn't realise how badly I was maintaining my hair. Since getting my hair treated and trimmed, I have been given a healthy hair routine that has given me confidence and happiness. For anyone thinking about it definitely do it. Your not just paying for the treatment but also the knowledge. Customer service and attention to detail was 5*
Cabir TOPO
Cabir TOPO
2024-01-09
Sonia
Sonia
2024-01-02
My hair was damaged from keratin treatments. After doing some research I found this place online. I was nervous about contacting them for fear of judgement and blame. In May 2022 I got in touch. Even before I arrived the receptionist really reassured me and was very kind. Eleanor did my consultation. Her and Teresa are professional, empathetic, warm, supportive and knowledgeable. I didn't really know how to look after natural hair. However this has revolutionised things for me. My hairs unrecognisable to before. Its grown a lot and is the healthiest it's ever been. I'm so glad I found this place. I attend regularly for treatments. I can't recommend this place enough!!
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