You may have heard of friends complaining about their hair getting bleached by the sun, causing their dyed hair to discolor. But is ultraviolet(UV) radiation really bad for you beyond bleaching your hair?

What does it affect?

The UV light causes your hair shaft to lighten and become more brittle. Melanin pigments in your hair help to offer protection against this by preventing UV from breaking the bonds in hair protein, but as you grow older, the pigments are lost. This causes your hair to become white or grey while you lose the protection of melanin.

Moreover, if your hair is light-colored or fair, you’re more vulnerable to UV damage. This is because light-colored hair lacks the melanin pigment to protect it from UV or the thickness to withstand its effects. Darker hair tends to be more oily and so with its thickness, darker color, and oiliness, it’s better protected than light-colored hair.

How can I prevent my hair from getting damaged?

The easiest way is to wear a hat or use a parasol to protect your hair from getting damaged by the sun, just like how you’ll want to prevent tan on your skin.

If you’re going to be swimming in chlorinated pools like public swimming pools, make sure to rinse your hair properly with clean water afterward as chlorine can damage your hair’s keratin. The damaged protein allows the sun and heat to penetrate your hair more easily, causing a weak hair strand.

Make sure that the hair conditioner that you use is good for your hair color, type, and climate. If your hair conditioner is incompatible, it’ll cause your hair to look greasy or flat.

With the sun already frying your hair, you don’t need additional heat tools like hair dryers to add to it as increased heat levels will make your hair brittle and remove its natural luster. Turn your hairdryer down to the lowest heat settings and if possible, take a shower half an hour earlier and let your hair airdry.

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