How Does Sun Bleached Hair Work and is it Good for You?

Women with sunglasses and wavy hair smiling in front of the sun.

Hot summer days call for cool shades and protective sunscreen. Don’t forget to protect your hair too! As the summer comes, do you ever notice your hair drying out or maybe even getting lighter in color? Well, it’s that time of the year to really watch out for the sun — more specifically, UV radiation.

What is UV radiation?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation which comes from both the sun and artificial sources like tanning beds and black-light lamps. Overexposure to UV radiation is damaging to the skin and hair if you don’t take the appropriate measures to protect yourself.

There are three main types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. These different types of UV rays are based on their wavelength. The UVA rays have the longest wavelengths, followed by the UVB rays, and then UVC rays which have the shortest wavelengths.

There are three main types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

UVA and some UVB rays reach the Earth’s surface, while all UVC and some UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer. As we spend time outdoors, we mostly come in contact with UVA and a small amount of UVB rays — even when it’s cloudy out!

How Do UV Rays Affect Your Hair?

Research shows that excessive sun exposure can impact your hair in a couple of ways, which includes UV radiation causing your hair to change color. Basically, sitting out in the sun for long periods of time can bleach your hair.

The sunlight bleaches out the melanin (the pigment that gives skin and hair color) and removes the color in your hair. This color change is due to high exposure to UVA radiation, and the result depends on your natural hair color and undertones. Everyone’s hair color will lighten if they spend enough time in the sun, but the color change is more noticeable in lighter hair.

You can think of this process as a photo that’s been left in the sun and the colors fade over time. Although some might think that the change in hair color looks nice, there’s more you should know before spending hours trying to bleach your hair outside in the sun this summer.

Damage From UV Radiation

While UV radiation can lighten your hair color, it can also destroy hair proteins and cause hair damage, such as dryness, reduced strength, stiffness and brittleness. In this case, the type of UV radiation responsible for hair protein loss is UVB radiation. When the proteins are damaged, it’s easier for the sun to penetrate your hair and make your strands more fragile.

Contrasting UV ray damage on hair versus skin is important. While UV rays are a main cause of skin cancer, they cannot create that same degree of damage on hair. It is common understanding that hair does not contain living cells.

With this in mind, your actual hair strands are unable to develop malignant, cancerous cells. The damage that occurs by UV ray exposure on hair is usually replaced by new, healthy growth, even if it takes a longer period of time during the hair growth cycle.

Protect Your Hair

Summer is one of the best times of the year, but make sure to take the proper steps to protect your hair from the sun. Try to stay in the shade when you go out, especially during midday hours. Wearing a headscarf or a wide brimmed hat is not only cute, but it’s great for blocking the sun. There are also SPF products specially made for hair and scalp protection.

Wondering what else you can do to maintain your hair during the summer? Read our full blog here for more healthy summer hair tips

Others enjoyed reading

Minoxidil vs. ProCelinyl™: A Tale of Two Serums

Minoxidil vs. ProCelinyl™: A Tale of Two Serums

When it comes to treating hair loss, unexpected and repurposed ingredients constantly pop up with claims to regrow hair at a fraction of the cost. Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, is one of the most familiar—we know it beats out ingredients from your herb garden, but how does it stack up against modern, scientifically crafted solutions like ProCelinyl™?
A Shocking Trend in the Hair Loss Industry that They’re Trying to Keep Secret

A Shocking Trend in the Hair Loss Industry that They’re Trying to Keep Secret

The frustration with hair loss is an overwhelming constant: the hunt for advice, the optimism of trying new products, the ultimate disappointment that follows, and the increased distrust with each product you try. Isn't it a little strange how every brand promises improved results using the same ingredients that were used 40 years ago? Read on as we pull back the curtain on the hair loss industry.
Finasteride vs. ProCelinyl™: A Story of Side Effects

Finasteride vs. ProCelinyl™: A Story of Side Effects

You’ve likely heard of the old standbys: minoxidil, commonly branded as Rogaine, and finasteride, the generic name for Propecia. Let’s get into the basics of finasteride for hair loss and how the prescription medication stacks up to ProCelinyl™, a breakthrough ingredient that is fundamentally changing the hair loss industry.
Can Vitamin Supplements Outperform Topical Hair Serums?

Can Vitamin Supplements Outperform Topical Hair Serums?

Supplements are all the rage these days, and therefore you may have heard a few newer buzzwords emerging that make each product sound revolutionary. We’re used to nutrients and pharmaceuticals, but what are nutraceuticals, exactly? And how do they compare with ProCelinyl? Let's take a deep dive in this blog.

"Clean Beauty" is Dirtier Than You Think

You may have noticed a new buzzword popping up over the last few years: clean beauty. It sounds simple and straightforward enough, but why have the cosmetics and wellness industries jumped on the clean beauty bandwagon? Let’s take a look at some key sales metrics to see why clean is starting to overtake natural when it comes to marketing beauty products.
What are Vegan Phytoactives and Are They Effective for Hair Growth?

What are Vegan Phytoactives and Are They Effective for Hair Growth?

The inclusion of phytoactives in cosmetic formulations is a hot topic. When it comes to creating that niche though, differentiation often boils down to a question of style versus substance. Is the new angle being explored—particularly when it comes to vegan phytoactives—just a question of branding and marketing, or is there a substantial difference in the underlying product?