If there is one thing we at Allure have in common with your dermatologist, it’s that we will never (ever) stop reminding you about the importance of wearing SPF daily. What many people don’t know about sun protection, though, is that sunscreen application shouldn’t just stop at the hairline. Your scalp — though it may be covered by your hair — and your hair itself are both at risk for UVA/UVB damage.
“UV rays can make hair brittle and appear frayed,” says New York City board-certified dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla. “Sunlight is drying and can lighten hair simply from exposure, [and] your scalp, like any other skin on the body, is susceptible to skin cancer.”
To protect the scalp, Mariwalla prefers chemical blockers (like avobenzone) because they don’t leave a white cast. New York City board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein, on the other hand, recommends looking for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide on labels. “These are physical blockers, and the key is to rub the sunscreen into the scalp, not to just spray it on the roots,” she says.
Antioxidants and plant-derived oils can also prove helpful in protecting and calming the scalp and skin from the sun’s harmful rays. “Antioxidants will scavenge free radicals caused by UV damage and can help prevent the damage that can lead to skin cancer,” says Mariwalla. One oil in particular that can help: sunflower seed oil. “It contains fatty acids that can help the dryness associated with hair exposed to harsh sun conditions,” she adds.
Below are 17 products that help protect your skin, scalp, and hair from sun damage.
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