Sun damage is real and it does create problems for melanin men and women despite what many of us have been raised to believe. Here is a real reason for this. Not many studies being conducted just on African Americans, or Black people as and many times we are left in the dark about ourselves in regards to our health.
“…although people of color, including African Americans, contract skin cancer far less frequently than their Caucasian counterparts, their mortality rate is significantly higher. The five-year survival rate for Caucasians with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is 91%, however, the five-year survival rate for African Americans with melanoma is 58.8%, a startling and shocking disparity” melanomaprevention.org
Yes, our skin need protection from the sun but do you know what else does? Our hair! The sun can be damaging to our tresses and even though I know this, I still took my happy ass to the Bahamas and did not use the proper precautions for my hair. Healthy living is always the right way to care for our bodies AND our hair so here are some tips to take when out in the sun and to fix sun damage to your tresses.
Gorgeous scarves hats to protect hair from sun damage
How does the sun damage our hair?
What exactly is sun damage you ask? Here’s a breakdown from a curly-haired polymer scientist and cosmetic chemist on what happens to your hair when sun damage occurs:
UV radiation…can cause cleavage of molecular bonds in the hair, ultimately leading to fracture of the cuticle and the cortex. This can lead to dry, brittle hair, rough texture from damaged cuticles, split ends, and breakage.
This effect is particularly devastating for those of us who rely upon the wonders of hair dye to enhance our natural coloring, because the molecules used in hair dyes to add color to hair are even more susceptible to degradation via ultraviolet radiation.
Here are some simple solutions to protect your hair from sun damage while you frolic in the sun this summer and fall. I knew my hair was damaged after the trip because my hair was very dry even though I made to sure to moisturize it before and after water play but there was A LOT OF WATER PLAY!
Cover it up!
The best way to protect your hair from sun damage is to never get it and the easiest way to do that is to keep it out of the sun’s rays. A scarf, hat, bandanna, etc., are all great options to use to keep your hair from the glaring sun and it’s powerful VU rays. Using an umbrella is another option or just simply try to head out later in the day when the sun has gone down. While these are not always the best options for many of us, especially if we are are in the ocean or a pool, before and when finished with water play, make sure to cover hair up to minimize your hair’s exposure.
How To fix sun damage to your natural hair
Get the moisture back – Dryness and lack of moisture will be the biggest problem you will face so returning moisture to your strands will be your #1 objective. I enlisted the help of a pre poo on my very next washday after the trip and some popular oils for that are Argan, Jojoba and or Olive oils.
Use products with UV protection – This will help for preventing sun damage and from it getting worse if your strands already have been damaged. You may have to pay a tad bit more for them but they are worth it! You can find them in shampoos, conditioner and especially in some stylers like the ones below.
Beef up with Deep Conditioning Treatments – I hope you are doing a deep conditioning treatment after every wash day but if not, make sure to do them pronto after you notice sun damage. Use heat and use with oils that penetrate the hair shaft like coconut oil to help moisturize deep into your strands.
Pay close attention to your ends – It may be time for a trim or your ends just may have had enough from the sun, but remember to protect those ends and watch out for the sun to them. I didn’t and my hair became frizzy as hell while in the Bahamas but I forgot to get my bi-annual trim this past spring and the sun just did a number on my ends as a result. Keep them covered and sealed when in the sun and get those trims regularly.
Top Sun protection sprays and masks for your natural hair