Can I Put Sunscreen in My Hair?

My love affair with sunscreen in all its shapes and forms is certainly no secret, but if applied to the hair, could it work its protective and anti-aging magic there as well?  Can I actually put sunscreen in my hair?

I suppose the short answer would be yes, but whether it would be effective is doubtful.   The difficulty lies in applying enough to actually protect the hair. We’re all familiar with how to apply sunscreen on the skin.  The key to effective protection is applying adequate amounts as well as making sure that we apply to all exposed areas.  You know how that spot you missed always seems to get sunburned?  Now think about trying to coat each and every one of the 100,000 strands of hair on your head with sunscreen.  You get the idea.

Drugstore shelves are hardly teeming with hair care products that promise to protect the hair from UVA and UVB exposure.  Shampoos and conditioners get rinsed out, leaving behind little if any sun protection.  Leave-in treatments with SPF claims seem to contain more moisturizing ingredients than adequate concentrations of active sunscreen ingredients.  Exposure to the sun may harm the hair but summer heat, humidity, salt water and chlorine are much more damaging.  Instead of putting sunscreen in your hair, here are a few tips to keep your tresses healthy this summer:

  1. Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week to replenish lost moisture.
  2. Add a clarifying shampoo to your routine once a week to remove chlorine and chemical buildup.  For a DIY version, mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of water, pour over shampooed hair, then rinse.
  3. For those of us who color our hair on a regular basis, use a shampoo and conditioner that is made especially to protect dyed hair and prolong the color.
  4. Before jumping in the pool, wet your hair thoroughly.  The strands can only soak in so much.  By wetting your hair, they will absorb much less of the chlorinated water.
  5. Lastly, wear a hat.  Sometimes, the best way is the simplest.

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