Summer, a time when an Aperol spritz and a spritz in the ocean become one. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, we are bronzed and the smile is on the dial.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our mane, for she is sombre, brittle, parched, and has lost lustre. UV rays have utterly triggered her and she can no longer keep up with the tour.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation damages hair fibre, induces dryness, reduces strength, loss in colour, stiffness, and brittleness - love to hear it. Photochemical degradation of hair results in attack on both hair proteins and melanins.
Melanin is a natural pigment in the hair that determines the colour of your hair. There are two types of melanin, the brown-black pigments (eumelanins) and the less prevalent red pigments (pheomelanins). Hair protein degradation is induced by wavelengths of 254–400 nm. Research suggests that these changes are caused by UV light-induced oxidation of the sulfur-containing molecules within the hair shaft.
Who is more responsible, UVA or UVB radiation?
Both are at fault and sent to the naughty corner. UVB radiation is responsible for hair protein loss and UVA radiation is responsible for a change in colour. Colour changes depend on the hair type, being more pronounced in light coloured hair, however, lightening is the main effect of radiation in every hair type. Just quietly, Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength and is associated with skin ageing and Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and associated with skin burning.
For hair damaged by sunlight, in most cases, the amino acids of the cuticle are altered to a greater extent than those of the cortex because the outer layers of the fibre receive higher intensities of radiation. This exposure can cause rupture and detachment of the external layers, resulting in splitting of the ends.
How do we turn this ship around and make our locks beam with happiness?
The skin has sunscreen as a means of protection, the hair needs and deserves the same type of treatment. Protecting the cuticle is very important for keeping hair shaft's integrity. One can achieve this by avoiding noxious impacts i.e. seeking some shade, taking refuge under an umbrella, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, avoiding UV primetime, which is smack bang in the middle of the day or by implementation of hair care products with UV filters, which in turn acts as a shield.