We know we need to slather sunscreen on our bodies to prevent sunburn but what about our scalps? Surprisingly, a full head of hair may not be very effective at blocking out much of the sun’s damaging rays to our heads.
A study from Australia found that hair only offers a protection factor of five to 17. It is usually recommended that we use sunscreen with an SPF of 30, and reapply it every two hours.
The researchers stated that a significant number of melanomas occur on the scalp. They reported that one study showed that 13 percent of melanomas occur on a person’s scalp.”1
With that in mind, what are the best ways to provide protection from the sun on the top of our head?
1) Wear wide brim hats
Hats that have brims that extend three inches around, that shade the face, head, ears and neck, are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as shields from two of the most common forms of skin cancer: basal and squamous cell carcinoma.
The Skin Cancer Foundation also says that “people with melanoma (the deadliest skin cancer) of the head and neck are almost twice as likely to die from the disease as patients with melanomas on other parts of the body.”2
2) Rub sunscreen on hairless scalps
Men who have hairless domes and a baby’s with wispy coverage on their crowns should be protected by sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 rubbed into their scalps directly. They should all wear hats whenever possible.
The Environmental Working Group has listings of the sunscreen products they have reviewed. You can select one they recommend from this link.
3) Try sunscreen products for hair
Using sunscreen spray for hair is not likely to help protect your scalp from the beating sun, says the Beauty Brains. You would have to apply a thick layer like you do with sunscreen on your skin.
If your hair is thinning, there is even less protection for your scalp and back of your neck.
The best plan is for everyone to wear a hat but if you cannot wear a hat, you can consider spraying on hair sunscreen.