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Can sunscreen repair hair damage?

Repair hair damage caused by sun exposure

Did you know that sun exposure can cause hair damage? Well, it’s true… so there’s definitely an indication for sunscreen in hair care products. While sunscreen can’t repair your hair damage, it can certainly prevent it.

Dr Zoe Diana Draelos recently published an article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology discussing this very issue.

It is not possible for hair to be “sunburned” as such because hair is a non-living substance, but it is very highly sensitive to both Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation and visible light as well. This type of damage is called “photodamage” –the same term given to skin tissue damage also caused by light and UV exposure.

How does the sun damage your hair?

Most of the studies have been conducted on textiles made from fibres like wool, cotton, silk and rayon and have been noted to undergo discolouration in response to sun exposure.

Natural human hair contains two colours:

  • Eumelanin (brown-coloured pigment)
  • Pheolmelanin (re-coloured pigment)

The lighter-coloured your hair, the less pigment contained to photo-protect your hair from radiation making blonde hair more susceptible to damage than brown or black hair. Dark hair will start to lighten after about 300 ours of sunlight.

Is your blonde hair turning yellow?

After 300 hours of sunlight your beautiful blonde locks will begin to yellow, and after 300-1200 hours will start to lighten. This is called “photobleaching”. Remember the good old days when we used to put lemon in our hair and sit under the sun?

Tsk! Tsk! This destroys the proteins in the hair, namely the protein called “cysteine”. Proteins are what give our hair its tensile strength, making it resilient to breakage by friction or tension. The strong amino-acid bonds in these proteins are what naturally stop our hair from breaking when we wash it, brush it, tie it up, tease it, stretch it, straighten it, curl it or style it.

What about grey or white hair?

Grey and white hair do not contain any pigment, so of all hair colours are the most susceptible ot UV damage than hair with pigment. The amino-acid bonds in the hair proteins are not as strong as pigmented hair, making it more susceptible to mechanical damage (through friction or tensile stretching, eg when brushing).

So how do we photo-protect our hair to avoid hair damage by the sun?

Sunscreen of course!!

One of the main ingredients of hair care and hair style products should always be a form of sun and indoor light protection, including light filters/blockers, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide or light absorbers, such as vitamin C and other such chemicals.

Sunscreen technology is a rapidly evolving area of research and hair maintenance is an important part of beauty so…

In the future there may even be a regulation whereby hair care products are given a SPF number – much in the same way that skin care products currently have an SPF rating.

PRP Hair rejuvenation is a great way of utilising your body’s ability to repair itself by stimulating hair follicles to increase in size and grow stronger, thicker hair with increased diameter.

Remember: hair includes our precious head hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes too!!