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The summer months can take their toll on our hair and scalp.
Spending prolonged periods in the sun can leave hair feeling drier and exposed scalps sore, so it is essential to keep on top of your haircare routine no matter the weather.
Like our skin, our hair and scalp are vulnerable to burning and sun damage; the sun’s UV rays can leave our locks dry and coarse and even cause salon colour to fade. As for the scalp, it’s worth remembering that if you step out in the sun without protection, it can very quickly burn.
We all know a healthy scalp not only improves the speed of hair growth but also increases the strength of hair shafts, yet scalp and hair protection is often overlooked when heading out in the sun.
Trichologist Stephanie Sey explains how to stop your scalp from burning in the sun and how to take better care of your hair this summer
‘If you have been out in the sun a lot and not put sunscreen on your scalp, then you might be wondering if you have sunburn or a dandruff flare-up,’ explains afro hair specialist and trichologist Stephanie Sey.
‘If it’s sunburn, you will have a very red sore scalp and peeling rather than flaking as such. If you are a dandruff sufferer, you may notice that your dandruff may have improved somewhat in the warmer weather.
‘However, don’t slack! It’s important to make sure that you are still looking after your scalp and hair during this time.’
Ahead, Stephanie shares her top nine tips to help take better care of your scalp and hair this summer.
1. Don’t give you up your haircare regime
Whether you suffer from dandruff or not, one of the golden rules of good haircare is maintaining a routine. ‘Let’s not have a carefree attitude in the summer,’ stresses Stephanie. ‘It’s important to keep up our usual haircare regime. If you do struggle with dandruff, use a medicated shampoo, such as Nizoral, to treat the cause.’
Nizoral has been formulated with Ketoconazole, a NHS-recommended ingredient for anti-dandruff shampoos, which effectively relieves and prevents the symptoms of dandruff
2. Cover up!
Any exposed skin can burn, including your scalp, so simply cover up to avoid a sore and red hair parting. ‘Wear a hat when you’re out in the sun for protection against sunburn and to shield your strands from damage,’ advises Stephanie.
‘UV rays from the sun can break down the cuticles on your hair strands – and wearing a hat will protect the hair from damage and your scalp from sunburn.’
This chic beach hat has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50; its kettle brim helps protect your skin too whiling keep the sun off your eyes
3. Wear SPF
Despite our best efforts to protect our skin from sun damage, the scalp and hair parting line at the top of your head are especially susceptible to sunburn and UV sun damage.
Stephanie says: ‘The sun’s UVA and UVB rays can damage your scalp and hair. Make sure you apply sunscreen to your scalp – paying particular attention to the areas that are exposed.’
This scalp SPF is just the ticket for preventing red, tender scalps with its water-resistant formula and high UVA/UVB protection
4. Wear your hair up loose
Did you know that your ponytail or bun could be hurting your hair? Wearing your hair in the same style every day can add stress and weaken the hair follicle causing breakage. ‘Tight hairstyles can damage the hair further if you already have dried out hair from the summer heat,’ explains Stephanie.
So ditch the elastic bands for something gentler on your hair, such as silk scrunchies that help prevent hair damage.
You can’t beat a 90s silk scrunchie, and this is one of the best on the market under £10 for creating less friction and protecting your hair from breakage
5. Condition the hair
A good hair treatment is just the thing to rescue dry, damaged, stressed-out locks. ‘Try a rich deep conditioning treatment once a week to give your hair a moisture boost,’ recommends Stephanie.
‘If you are going to be swimming a lot, it is a good idea to put some conditioner through your hair before swimming or make sure you rinse it very well afterwards.’
This bestselling hair mask contains Core Repair technology designed to repair and replenish proteins (hair is 95 per cent protein) and protect against future damage
6. Use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush
Stephanie explains how a comb with thicker teeth and wide gaps allow larger amounts of hair through, making it ‘gentler for detangling hair especially when wet as some brushes can tear and snag strands’.
Ideal for all hair types, a wide-tooth comb is great to have on hand when coming out of the shower.
Not only is a wide-toothed comb great for detangling, but they can also help distribute product evenly through hair
7. Give your scalp extra TLC during the summer months
‘Wash your hair regularly to remove any dirt, sweat, dead skin cells, bacteria and fungus,’ recommends Stephanie. ‘And massage gently with a vibrating massage tool – this will help you relax and increase blood flow to the area as well as improve circulation.’
If you can’t get your hands on a vibrating massage tool, a silicone scalp brush will evenly and gently massage the scalp area, too, sloughing off dead skin and oil (which can cause dandruff and even hair loss).
When it comes to exfoliation and the removal of dirt, dead skin cells and product build-up, brushing is more beneficial as fingernails tend to scratch and sensitise the scalp
8. Use oils
A good hair oil can add shine, tackle frizz, nourish your hair and even help to fix damaged tresses and promote hair growth.
Stephanie says: ‘Using an oil such as coconut oil can lock in moisture and act as a natural antioxidant protecting the strands from free radical damage.’
Formulated with argan oil and vitamin E, this luxuriously fragranced hair oil offers long-lasting frizz control, helping to improve overall condition and elasticity.
9. Spend less time in the sun
‘Spending excessive time in the sun can be bad for the skin particularly, be careful not to allow your scalp to burn in the sun as this will exacerbate flaking and drying,’ says Stephanie.
While seeking shade is the sensible thing to do, particularly during the height of the day when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, it’s still vital to wear SPF. And always stay out of the sun until your scalp heals if burned.
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