What is the effect of the sun on hair health? Benefits and harms of sunlight on hair

The sun is undeniably one of nature's most precious treasures. It's something no living being can do without, as it's essential for our growth and well-being. During the summer, we are exposed to the sun and its rays daily, and many of us enjoy relaxing under its warmth. This curiosity often leads to questions about the impact of the sun on our health, particularly our hair. This curiosity persists, even though we're aware of the potential harm the sun can cause to our skin and hair, considering that our hair is one of the most direct parts of our body exposed to these rays.

The Effect of the Sun on Hair Health

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There's no doubt that the sun has a clear impact and numerous benefits for our overall health and, specifically, for the health of our hair. Moderate and regular exposure to sunlight is indeed a very effective treatment for various scalp-related problems, such as addressing hair loss issues. In some cases, the body may suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D, causing the keratinocytes in hair follicles to struggle with regulating hair growth, leading to hair loss. This makes sunlight the primary and best source for supplying hair with the necessary vitamin D and providing the scalp with the essential vitamins needed for healthy, vibrant, and shiny hair.

However, despite the benefits and advantages the sun offers, prolonged and excessive exposure to its rays can negatively impact hair health and cause varying degrees of damage to the scalp. This is why doctors and specialists warn against excessive and direct sun exposure due to the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, a type of electromagnetic radiation originating from the sun. Ultraviolet rays can damage the DNA within cells, potentially leading to the development of skin cancer. Moreover, they generate harmful molecules that can damage both collagen and vitamin A in the skin, increasing the risk of skin cancer and causing skin burns, including on the scalp.

Benefits of Sun on Hair Health

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Some people believe that the benefits of sunlight are only limited to the skin, but research and studies have confirmed that the advantages of sunlight extend beyond the skin to include the scalp and hair follicles. It turns out that there are ways to benefit our hair from the sun without causing significant harm. Let's take a closer look at the most important benefits and advantages that we can gain for the vitality and health of our hair for free through sun exposure:

  • Stimulating Hair Growth: Sunlight contains a high amount of vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in the formation of new hair follicles. Consequently, it helps prevent hair loss and hair thinning. This is why many people expose their hair to sunlight to thicken and promote hair growth.
  • Positive Effects of UV Rays: While UV rays in sunlight are known to be harmful, recent scientific findings have suggested that controlled and moderate exposure to these rays has both positive and negative effects on humans. By exposing the scalp to appropriate doses of UV radiation, it can help address various inflammatory and bacterial/fungal issues on the scalp. Sunlight's rays are considered highly beneficial in killing harmful bacteria and fungi.
  • Natural Hair Lightening: If you're interested in naturally lightening your hair, sunlight, combined with some natural materials and masks, can gradually achieve this effect. However, it's essential not to overexpose your hair to sunlight, as excessive exposure can make your hair brittle and eventually lead to hair loss.

It's crucial to emphasize that in order to reap the benefits of sunlight and avoid countless risks and damage, one should not expose themselves for extended periods without external protection or safeguards. Therefore, it's always recommended to expose yourself to the sun for short periods without overdoing it.

Harmful Effects of the Sun on Hair Health

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Just as the sun offers benefits to hair, it also presents several adverse effects on both the hair and the scalp. These can be summarized in the following points:

  • UV Sensitivity: The outer cells of the scalp are highly sensitive to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, particularly during the summer. Excessive exposure to these rays can lead to hair loss, and in severe cases, even baldness.
  • Depletion of Essential Nutrients: Overexposure to sunlight, especially without proper protection, can lead to the depletion of essential nutrients like vitamin E and vitamin C in the body. These nutrients are vital for nourishing and promoting hair growth.
  • Damage to Scalp's Natural Barrier: The scalp has an outer layer of natural oils that act as a barrier, protecting against environmental and external factors while maintaining moisture. Excessive and prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage this protective layer, leading to dryness and damage to the hair, regardless of whether the hair is oily or normal. This can result in lifeless and brittle hair.
  • Risk of Skin Tumors: Sunlight exposure can contribute to the development of serious skin tumors on the scalp, including melanomas. These tumors can be aggressive forms of cancer that may spread to blood vessels and lymph nodes. They can be challenging to detect and treat.
  • Hair Color Fading: Sunlight, with its UV rays, can damage the color of hair, whether it's natural or chemically dyed. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to the fading and deterioration of hair color.

How to Protect Your Hair from the Sun

Doctors recommend limited exposure to sunlight in the early morning to absorb beneficial vitamins, typically ranging from 10 to 30 minutes at most per day.
  • Avoid Peak Sun Hours: Steer clear of the sun during the hours when its rays are intense and powerful, typically from 10 AM to 5 PM.
  • Use Protective Gear: If you must be outdoors during peak sun hours, consider protecting your hair by wearing a suitable hat, a headscarf covering your entire hair, or using a sun umbrella to shield your body and scalp primarily.
  • Apply Sunscreen Products: Before heading out, make sure to use products specially designed to protect your scalp. These should contain UV filters to guard against direct exposure.
  • Seek Shade: Whenever possible, stay in shaded areas to avoid direct sun exposure.

In summary, no one can deny the importance of the sun in our lives in general, and its impact on our hair, in particular. We all have a constant desire to relax and enjoy its rays. However, it's essential to do so safely, given the sun's effects on hair health. This involves avoiding prolonged sun exposure and following all preventive measures to protect ourselves and our scalp from potential damage. You can learn more about the impact of the sun on your hair health in the summer and discover the best protection methods on our blog.