The majority of us human beings, enjoy the sun! It’s a fact. When the sun is out, Winter or Summer, we walk happily outside to have a few streaks of sunlight bathe our skin. Heck, even reptiles do it too! Although related, don’t mistake liking the sun with liking the high temperatures that generally accompany Summer. To me, these are related but not the same. Just think about the way you experience the sun during these seasons and you’ll know I’m right.
However, the combination of the two can be tortuous to your hair if you don’t take proper protection. That is why it is so important that I talk to you about sun damage to curly hair.
Yes, Summer is approaching, maybe it’s already there where you are, and it is important to take good care of it to avoid any drastic, but necessary, measures you’ll deeply regret. I know sun-kissed highlights look super cool and maybe you want some, but trust me this signals hair damage. Mind you, I always wanted to have some too, but my hair is too damn dark and knowing what it does do it I’ll pass. No, thank you! I’ll settle for what I have, I don’t need to deal with the aftermath of my disregard when our hair already requires so much nurture.
Your suntan could be described as a nice sunburn, however, it is nothing more that your body’s defence mechanism against UV radiation. An increase of melanin is witnessed on the skin (turns brown) when it’s moderately exposed to the sun. Melanin will help absorb UV radiation and prevent its damaging effects.
However, on your dead hair shaft, the sun has a bleaching effect. The moment your hair pierces out of the scalp it is dead, its colour is already determined (melanin) and will last until the life of the hair ends and it falls. There is no defence mechanism triggering more melanin production. No! The melanin that gives your hair its colour is slowly eaten away and you get a lighter hair shade. Yes, thinking of your sun highlights this ay suddenly doesn’t seem so glamorous, does it?
Additionally, if your idea of a great Summer day is staying outside, “frying” under the sun with little to no sun protection then you need to rethink that. Did you know that UV rays trigger an oxygen reaction, known as free radicals, that cause DNA damage on the skin and alter the protein in your hair to cause premature ageing?
Yes, my curly friend the sun can be your hair’s Kryptonite! With continued exposure and reduced protection, the sun will make your hair weak and vulnerable to damage from manipulation, hair tools, environment and chemical treatments which will only increase that condition.
If what I’ve been saying so far didn’t strike a chord with you, maybe it’s because it all happens at a level you can’t really see with the naked eye, and what you do see looks good (highlights), let’s do a little exercise. Try closing your eyes and imagine how your transitioning hair, already messed up, will look and feel with if you continue do disregard the damaging effects of the sun and use no sun protection.
Imagine your naturally dry hair become drier, brittle and rough with split ends. If shine is something you seek in your hair routine, then forget it cause your hair will look like dull dry hay. The cuticle layers of your hair will chip and break as your limp, stiff hair strands rub against each other. Finally, the cortex of the hair will become exposed and by then your hair will be seriously damaged, with little elasticity and easily broken. This is when drastic, but necessary measures, need to be taken.
Let’s hope you didn’t “do yourself a favour” (more like a hair suicide) and inadvertently got yourself a Big Chop earlier than anticipated, with massive breakage at line of demarcation!! How’s that for a vivid image of sun damage to your curly hair? Too realistic?! Well, this thing is REAL!
But to finish off on a good note here (Yeah, I don’t ever wanna leave you chewing your nails in fear) I’ll tell you what you can start doing to protect your curly hair from the sun and ensure your natural hair journey continues without this unnecessary roadblock.
- If, like the Prince of Bel Air, you plan on “chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool” under the sun make sure you have a (1) wide brim hat to protect your hair or maybe a beautiful wrap from (2) The Wrap Life.
- You can try (3) Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Sun Protect Spray Conditioner which has UVA/UVB protection and will protect your hair against colour fading and free radicals. (4) Kerastase Soleil Aqua-Seal is another option and it’s a leave-in spray that offers waterproof and offers sun protection by absorbing UV rays.
- Alternatively, you can try some natural sun protection for your hair by using oils. Here, read this blog post where I talk about it and give you some options.
- You can also try and avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm, which is when the sun rays do their “best” work.
- If the beach and/or swimming pool are your go-to programs when temperatures rise, then be careful with the deadly combination of sun and seawater or chlorinated water. Protect your hair at all times if you want to avoid an “hairpocalypse”. Take preventive measures and don’t forget your after hair care.