If you’re looking for a scalp sunscreen, you’re already on the right track. As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick tells Elite Daily, “It is very important to wear sunscreen on our scalp as the scalp is often exposed to the sun regularly without us even realizing it. It is a known area to develop skin cancers as a result of cumulative sun exposure. […] One report showed that
13% of skin cancers occur on the scalp.” So, how to choose the right sunscreen for your scalp? Dr. Garshick says that when it comes to shopping for the best scalp sunscreens, you should look for a formula that provides broad-spectrum sun coverage against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher ( as is the case with any type of sunscreen). “As long as enough sunscreen is applied and is SPF 30 or higher, it shouldn't matter if it is a face or a body sunscreen,” she says. “The most important component is just making sure you use sunscreen, so it is best to find one that you like and will use.”
That said, Dr. Garshick does recognize that it might be difficult
for someone with hair to apply a cream or lotion sunscreen, so she points out spray sunscreens and powder sunscreens as great options. “ For someone who is bald, there is no problem just extending the same sunscreen you're applying to your face directly onto your scalp,” she notes.
Ahead, you’ll find 10 great sunscreens — including a couple of picks that come recommended by Dr. Garshick — that you should be able to use comfortably on your scalp. Scroll on to see them all.
1 The Best Scalp & Hair Sunscreen Mist
This easy-to-apply mist is an excellent (and lovely-smelling) way to protect your hair and scalp. Made by sunscreen experts COOLA, this
lightweight spray has an SPF of 30, is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, and is made with plant-derived antioxidants to offer even more protective benefits for your hair and scalp. The icing on the cake is its refreshing ocean-water-and-sage scent. User review: “Such a game changer for me. Where has this product been my whole life!? I've been getting my scalp burnt since I was a little kid so I am pumped!! Sprays great, smells great, checks all my boxes.” 2 The Best Powder Sunscreen For Your Scalp
Dr. Garshick recommends
Supergoop! Poof 100% Mineral Part Powder for a grease-free way to keep your scalp protected from the sun. “[It] goes on feeling like a dry shampoo but actually provides mineral, zinc-oxide SPF 35 coverage and is designed specifically with the scalp in mind. It is both easy to apply and reapply. It should be used as the last step of your hair routine and can be sprayed from 1 [to] 2 inches away and then blended in with your fingertips or brush.” User review: “Finally my scalp doesn’t get burnt and my hair doesn’t get greasy from spraying sunblock in it. This product is incredible!!” 3 The Best Brush-On Powder Sunscreen
If you prefer a powder sunscreen that you can brush onto your scalp, pick up
Colorescience’s Total Protection Sheer Matte SPF 30 Sunscreen Brush. “This powder is great not just for reapplication on the face and body, but can also be easily applied to the scalp as it goes on as a lightweight powder and offers SPF 50 coverage,” Dr. Garshick says. “It is available in different shades and is a great option for those with both sensitive or acne-prone skin.” User review: “This is the best sunblock for use on the face and scalp.” 4 The Best Budget-Friendly SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray
spray sunscreen from Alba Botanica is designed to go on clear — and at just $10, it’s a pretty great deal. The coconut-scented formula won’t make your hair greasy or knotted, and once it absorbs, it feels dry, so you won’t even notice it’s there. This is an SPF 50 chemical sunscreen with 80 minutes of water resistance, so you can trust that it won’t leave behind a cast, unlike its mineral sunscreen counterparts. If you don’t want a scented sunscreen, you can also buy an unscented version for sensitive skin, or an unscented SPF 70 version with even more sun protection. A refreshing “Sport” formula is also available for purchase. User review: “Use this for scalp sunblock. This is perfect for scalp sunblock. We prefer lotion for everywhere else. Great scent.” 5 The Best Scalp Sunscreen & Leave-In Conditioner In One
Here’s a unique product: It’s a
scalp sunscreen and leave-in conditioner — so it’s an amazing choice for people with dry hair or scalps. SPF 30 and antioxidants like green tea and vitamin E offer sun and environmental protection, while aloe vera, cocoa butter, hydrolyzed silk, and sunflower seed oil help infuse hair with moisture and shine. Also a great choice for color-treated hair. User review: “I highly recommend this product. So many of us forget to apply sunscreen to the part of our bodies that see the most sun...the top of our heads! The problem with applying regular sunscreen to your part is it leaves a greasy residue in your hair. I had been looking for a sunscreen for my scalp that wouldn't leave my hair all greasy. Since using this product, I have not burnt my scalp once! Upon the first application I thought it was going to do the same thing regular sunscreen does, but then it absorbed so nicely, I couldn't even tell I had it on. Great product!” 6 The Best For Shaved & Bald Heads
any sunscreen can be used on a bald or shaved head; but this Bee Bald sunscreen was designed specifically for that purpose, and it’s really cheap — so why not give it a try? In addition to providing SPF 30 protection, this sunscreen also helps mattify shine and prevent the buildup of oil, which is another feature that makes this great for bald heads. User review: “Ordered this product because I was new to shaving my head and wanted something that would give me sun protection with out too much of a glossy shine. Did research and this product was recommended on various sites so I gave it a try. After a fresh shave I applied it and it went on easily and without a greasy feel or overly shiny look. Was outside for a few hours and this did a great job of protecting my scalp. I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking for UV protection and/or a product that does a nice job of moisturizing your scalp.” 7 The Best Korean Sunscreen
If you’re looking for a traditional sunscreen to use on your scalp, rather than a sunscreen that was formulated
specifically for your scalp, you’ll want to pick one with a light, non-oily feel — such is the case with the cult-classic Sunprise Mild Airy Finish sunscreen from Korean beauty brand Etude House. Its famous for its dry, or “airy” feel — hence its name — which is why it’s such a favorite among people with oily skin. So, you can probably trust that this won’t leave your scalp feeling sticky or greasy, since it doesn’t do that to your face. That said, in addition to its mineral sunscreen filters, it does contain hydrating ingredients like centella asiatica, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid, as well as other good-for-skin botanicals like acerola cherry and açaí berry. User review: “I love this sunscreen! It was recommended to me by a friend and I’ve been using it daily for several months now. It goes on very smoothly and is much thinner and lighter than regular sunscreen. It applies evenly, absorbs quickly, and has a light fresh scent. The best part is that it’s completely non-greasy! You can put makeup on over it right after. I have sensitive skin and break out easily and I haven’t had any issues with it. If you have dry skin you may need to use a moisturizer with it because it’s not very moisturizing. Overall I love this as an everyday sunscreen and plan to keep using it.” 8 The Best Japanese Sunscreen
Shiseido sunscreen is another great spray fomula that would be nice on your scalp, because it’s super lightweight and designed to be used on the face, body, and even hair. Like the Etude House sunscreen above, this has a high SPF of 50, so it’s a great option for anyone who burns easily. It’s also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so feel free to sweat or take a swim. User review: “This is a great product, easy to apply and works very well.” 9 The Best Sunscreen Stick
Another good sunscreen option for scalps is a
stick sunscreen, since you can easily glide it down your hairline without worrying about it running into your hair. Though *technically* formulated for kids, anyone can use this clear zinc sunscreen from Badger; even adults will appreciate its yummy, tangerine-and-vanilla scent (which is totally naturally derived, by the way). The $10 mineral sunscreen stick is formulated with just a handful of ingredients — most of which are certified organic — including non-nano zinc oxide for SPF 35 protection, and skin-nourishers like olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and vitamin E. User review: “Easy to apply and smells great. [...] it provides great sun protection. No sun spots etc. Great Product!” 10 The Actual Best Way To Protect Your Scalp
Sunscreen is great, and vital, sure — but to really prevent your scalp from becoming burnt, a
sun hat is the most effective option. This one from FURTALK is a particular fan-favorite, and it also comes at a great price. It’s stylish and versatile, designed with a lanyard to prevent it from blowing away in the wind, and offers UPF 50 protection to keep your head (and face) protected from the sun. Pair this with one of the sunscreens featured above to ensure your scalp remains completely protected on sunny days. User review: “Love this hat. Bought it for a beach vacation to protect my scalp, ears and face. Spent 1 week in the sun with no sunburn. Packed well. Would buy it again.” Expert: Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City.
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This article was originally published on
July 14, 2018