The effects of UV damage on hair

How to protect healthy hair and avoid UV damage

If you spent too long stuck indoors this winter and are dying to spend all summer soaking up the sun, this blog is for you!

As a Canadian team, we too spend too many hours in the dark, cold weather and love to worship the sun in the few short months we get. However, like with skin, protecting hair from UV rays is super important. Don’t stress! We will make you aware of the effects of UV rays on hair and also walk you through to keep yourself protected. 

Spoiler: we’re going to be talking a lot about the SU line of hair care products with UV filters. Read to the end to see what we recommend as a hair care routine for UV defense.

What are UV rays and what do they have to do with my hair?

UV rays are sneaky little rays of light that come in three different wavelengths. 

UVA rays are the longest wavelengths and can penetrate deep into the skin and hair shaft. They are to blame for premature signs of aging.

UVB rays have a medium wavelength and mostly affect the outer layer of your hair. You can thank UVB rays for making your hair feel dry and brittle.

UVC rays are the hottest and least worrisome of all the rays. They are mostly absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and don’t pose any risk. We love an unproblematic queen.

As you might’ve guessed, the sun is the biggest source of UV rays, but they can also come from artificial sunlamps and tanning beds. The lesson: be aware of what you’re exposing your hair to!

UV rays and hair damage

Wait, so are my daily walks and family beach days really damaging my hair?!

Yes and no. Short amounts of time in the sun are completely healthy! Prolonged exposure without any protection can cause UV damage and hair breakage. Here are some of the effects:

  • Fading + Discolouration: UV rays can cause your hair colour to fade and lose its vibrancy. Blondes may notice their locks turning brassy, while brunettes might experience colour fading and a lackluster appearance. If you’re partial to bright or pastel colours, you might see your colour start to fade much faster. 
  • Dryness, brittleness and split ends: UV rays can zap the moisture out of your strands, leaving them dry, brittle, and prone to split ends. Dryness can compromise the integrity of your hair and make you more prone to frizz. (Ps - if that’s something that you struggle with in the summer, try our Cezanne smoothing treatment for sleek, soft and silky locks all summer long)
  • Weakened hair: The structure of your hair can take a hit from UV exposure. These rays can break down the proteins that make up your hair, leading to weakened strands that are more prone to breakage. That means you’ll need to be extra careful when it comes to styling your hair and using hot tools.
  • Oxidative stress: UV rays can also generate free radicals, which can outnumber antioxidants, causing oxidative stress. This stress can further damage hair, or make everything much worse.

It’s obvious that UV damage and hair health go hand in hand. Luckily, safeguarding your hair from damage and defending hair health is easier than you think. Read on for our UV protection tips for hair!

Preventing UV damage to hair

Let’s start with the obvious…create a physical barricade between your hair and the sun. That could mean sticking to the shade as much as possible or adding a cute sunhat or scarf to your summer outfits. Function over fashion, though! Be sure your hat is actually shielding hair from UV rays.

Finally, this is our favourite tip - use products with built-in UV protection for hair. We highly recommend the Su line from Davines for the best hair care for UV protection.

Formulated with UV filters for healthy hair, they provide protection from the elements while also nourishing hair! Choose from SU hair and body wash, hair milk, aftersun conditioning mask, aftersun body cream or all four!

To sum it all up, we don’t need to be scared of the sun but we do want to be aware of the effects of UV exposure and protect ourselves!

Start the summer right with a deep conditioning treatment at your favourite salon (Durham babes, book with us here!). Additionally, it’s important to invest in hair care that will protect your hair all summer long.