The Sun Is Killing Your Hair

You can't escape it in sun-soaked Southeast Asia, but you can do something about it


Photo: Imaxtree

Everyone knows you need to pile the SPF on your face when you go outdoors. But did you know that your mane needs sun protection as well? That's because the sun’s rays damage hair proteins, which can lead to dry and brittle strands, not to mention hair loss due to a decrease in hair pigments.

To combat this problem, here's what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to protecting your tresses:

1. SPF or UV shield your hair

Using products with sun protection benefits can protect your natural and salon-enhanced colour, and also reduce hair protein loss. For a spritz-and-go solution, try the DrGL Sun Protection Mist SPF29/PA++ (Hair/Face/Body), $88, which dries quickly and won’t mess with your hairstyle. If you’re going for a swim, spray on the water-resistant Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil, $50, a UV defence mist. There are also leave-on treatments like the Dove Intense Repair All Day Repair Cream, $7.05, and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Photo-Age Defense, $63, which are loaded with UVA and UVB inhibitors that provide invisible protection from sun exposure.

2. Face or body sunscreen isn’t a substitute

Unless otherwise stated, the texture of most face and body sunscreens aren’t suitable for application on the hair, especially in Singapore’s humid climate. The formulas are usually too rich, which means you risk clogging hair follicles. This can lead to an oily scalp, irritation and even hair fall.

3. Wear a hat whenever possible

Don’t neglect your scalp, especially if you spend lots of time in the sun. You're exposing it to harmful sun rays that can lead to skin cancer, so a hat is a good way to protect it - yes, even if you risk looking like a Korean tai tai.

4. Rinse your hair before and after a swim

Headed to the pool? Best to rinse your strands before diving in as wet hair absorbs less chlorine, that powerful cleaning agent that helps kill germs in the water. Unfortunately it affects hair too - the chemical’s stripping agents are activated when it comes into contact with sun-soaked tresses (which is why you may have heard of blonde hair turning green) so be sure to rinse your mane immediately after you get out. 

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