Does Your Hair Need SPF? Experts Say Yes & The Reason Why Makes Sense

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Protecting your hair from excessive heat is a no-brainer. Using curling tongs, straighteners and other styling tools can fry the hair follicle, encourage split ends and leave you with a frazzled, unhappy head of hair that can be difficult to remedy. So, we take preventative measures with products such as heat protective sprays, (my personal favourite is Vo5’s Heat Protect Spray.) But have you considered how exposure to UV rays is damaging your hair? Does your hair need SPF? Read on to find out.

Many of us like to think that we know what we’re doing when it comes to SPF. We know it’s the best solution for protecting your skin from premature ageing and is one of the best tools for preventing skin cancer, not to mention the pain and inconvenience sunburn brings.

However, Paul Windle, co-founder of London-based hair salon Windle & Moodie stresses the need to pay as much attention to your hair as you do to your skin, telling Bustle:

“The scalp is like your skin on your face and body and can be damaged by the sun. Be mindful of too much sun exposure, as UVA/UVB rays zap moisture from the hair. It breaks down the keratin in your hair causing it to become brittle and dry.”

But that’s not all. UV rays oxidize and degrade your hair in a similar way to bleach, and can burn your scalp just like they can the skin on any part of your body — especially along your parting, or in areas where the hair is thin, says Annabel Kinglsey, trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic. “The amount of damage depends upon how long you spend in the sun, and the intensity of the UV rays," she explains. "Being by the beach and in the water also increases damage, as rays are reflected, doubling exposure."

So what can you do about it? Besides the obvious solution of wearing a hat, SPF is the answer. No, not the sticky lotions you may be envisioning, but a whole host of high-performance, targeted treatments that you can slot into your beauty routine and give you healthy, hydrated, and protected tresses.