Sunscreen On Your Scalp Is Just As Non-Negotiable As Your Face (Thank Us Later)

You likely know by now that wearing sunscreen is one of the most important ways to protect your skin. What you might not know, however, is that it's just as important to protect your scalp — and that sunscreen specifically for your scalp actually exists! Think about it. When you're walking in the sweltering sun, you may not want to wear a hat. But the sun, beaming down from above, could be searing your scalp, especially along any parts in your hair. Just like remembering to wash behind your ears in the shower, protecting your scalp from sun damage can be easy to forget.


Your scalp is an important part of your body. Not only is it responsible for the growth of your hair, which assists in regulating body heat, but it also protects your head from damage and skin infections. Sun-damaged skin could affect the scalp's ability to perform those functions. And because this sun damage can worsen over time if preventative actions aren't taken, it's essential not to overlook your scalp.

Why protect your scalp from the sun?

Despite the protection from your hair — if you have it — your scalp can still become sunburned, leading to pain and even peeling. And should your scalp develop a more severe skin issue, such as scalp melanoma, it can be more challenging to detect, considering you might not often check your scalp. In fact, Dr. Fatima Fahs explains to The Zoe Report that skin cancer on the scalp is more common than many people may think. As a board-certified dermatologist, Fahs warns, "The scary reality is it can go undetected for a long time because it's not an easy-to-see area. Scalp melanomas can be subtle pink bumps that are difficult to spot."


When your scalp is damaged by the sun for a prolonged period of time, you could also eventually develop actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis. Solar keratosis is defined by growth patches of skin that can be rough and flaky. While typically found in older folks, solar keratosis occurs when the skin can no longer heal on its own. And even though it is usually harmless, treatable, and sometimes may go away without intervention, in more severe circumstances, solar keratosis can lead to skin cancer. Of course, with proper prevention, any potential risks of developing skin issues on your scalp can be mitigated. 

What to look for in scalp protection products

Depending on your scalp and hair needs, there are several kinds of scalp sunscreens to get acquainted with. Mists and sprays might be among the most user-friendly options. With these, all you need to do is spritz a bit on your scalp, targeting exposed skin, and you're good to go. Should you be worried about your hair feeling greasy, however, brush-on sunscreen powders could work well, though they could be slightly trickier to apply. Sunscreen sticks are also a viable option, which can be fabulous for rubbing down your part and around your hairline. And, as far as SPF goes, you should never use sunscreen below SPF 30, and remember not to be skimpy with your application. 


Another benefit of wearing scalp sunscreen, aside from sun protection, is that some products are formulated with extra nourishing ingredients, both for your skin and your hair. Many spray formulas contain moisturizers that can remedy dryness and boost the health and strength of your strands. And powdered scalp sunscreens can work like a dry shampoo, combatting too-oily summertime tresses.