Protecting Hair From UV


UV And Hair

Hair offers a natural protection against UV damage, but when hair is exposed to UVA and UVB rays for extended periods, damage to the hair occurs.

Hair is more prone to damage from UV, when its condition is already compromised from other sources. This includes color treated hair, drying effects from chemicals such as pool chlorine, and general dehydration.

UV damaged hair becomes discoloured, dry, fragile and brittle. This UV damage is irreversible. The UV rays destroy some of the protein amino acids [keratin] inside hair, weakening the hair structure which leads to loss of moisture and dehydratation of the hair.

UV Hair Protection

The best protection for your hair from UV damage is to cover your head whenever possible. This protects not only hair but its follicle and the skin as well. However, wearing a hat is not always appropriate or practicable.

UV hair protection is available in different formats.

  • Shampoos and Conditioners with UV protective ingredients that remain on the hair shaft with rinsing.
  • Leave In UV protection rinse
  • Spray On UV protection
  • UV Protection Mousses

The aim is to protect your hair with a suitable hair treatment product that moistures and protect at the same time. These products contain proteins, protective oils and sun blockers.

Measuring Protective Factor

Skin sunscreens are designated an SPF [Skin Protection Factor] rating according to their protective capability. UV protection for the hair is also rated, using either:

  • Keratin protection factor (KPF)
  • Hair protection factor (HPF).
  • Percentage Protection factor - using a % increase in protection over the hairs natural protection.
  • EHMC Benchmark - Most leave in products contain a UV filter for hair care are formulated with ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC). The %EHMC active ingredient is a reliable measure of its UV protection.


Evaluating UV Hair Protection Products

A quick 1-2-3 guideline to use at the counter is:

  1. A leave-on formulation containing a UV filter, prior to exposure - offers the best protection
  2. Rinse-off products will usually give less protection, although a certain deposition of the filter on the hair fibre can be achieved.
  3. The amount of EHMC typically found in such products ranges from 0.1% to 2%. Suncare leave-on gels’ contain as much as 8% EHMC

Without a degree in chemistry, the chemical composition of cosmetics can send most of us into a headspin. Unfortunately with so much unreliable marketing hype, knowing the key active ingredients in UV Hair Protection Products is about the only way you can really be sure the product will do what the packaging claims it can.

Additional protection UVA filters such as butyl methoxydibenz- oylmethane (BM-DBM) found more in rinse off products. Some cationic UV filters show a certain affinity to human hair and still remain after rinsing.

Lipophilic UV filters combined with cationic conditioners – increases the retention of UV filer with rinsing.

Polymeric sunscreen - binds to the hair. Silicone bases offer additional benefits in combing and shine. For instance, Polysilicone- 15 with UVB absorbing chromophores.

Mousses with 3% SLX led to decreases of combing force after irradiation and washing.

Whenever compared with other UVB filters, Polysilicone-15 showed superior performance in reducing hair damage.

Sources : Measurement of UV Protection in Hair Care - Philippe Maillan, Formulation Chemist, R&D Cosmetics, DSM Nutritional Products

Take special care of color-treated hair. Hair that has been dyed or highlighted is especially prone to UV damage. Color-treated hair is already damaged.


Using UV Hair Protection Products

If you need additional UV protection for your hair, it generally means you are in more extreme environments such as beaches, swimming pools, skifields, and hot-drying climates. These ambient conditions can cause the hair to become dehydrated, activating its natural response to produce more oil. This in turn, leads to more washing of the hair, further drying it and so the downward spiral begins. The following guidelines will help with hair care for different types of hair.

Fine Hair - wash hair with a gentle shampoo and use a light leave-in conditioner with UV protection. Use a sun-protection spray containing a UV filter.

Curly hair - use a moisturizing shampoo and a leave-in conditioner to minimize dryness. Apply a nourishing hair mask whilst you are away to deep condition your hair. Use a sun-protection spray containing a UV filter.

Frizzy hair - use a rich leave-in conditioner with UV protection each morning and apply a hair mask every other day during the holiday. Use a sun-protection spray containing a UV filter.

Pool Swimming - Chlorine from the swimming pool is extremely damaging when combined with the effects of the sun, wet your hair in the shower before hand and protect your hair with a leave-in conditioner preferably one containing a UV filter. Wash your hair thoroughly after swimming.

In all cases, screen your hair from the effects of the sun and seawater as much as possible and re-apply spray on UV protection after swimming.


Home Remedy UV Hair Protection

If you are planning prolonged, uncovered exposure of the hair to the sun, massage a few spoons of sesame oil into your hair and scalp. Sesame oil contains the natural sun protection factor SPF.

For additional protection mix the sesame oil with 10 drops of carrot seeds oil, which is very rich in antioxidants.


Related Pages

UV Damage To Your Hair

UV Hair Protection Products Ingredients

UV Hair Protection Products

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