The benefits and harmful effects of the sun on your hair

In summer, what's good for some hair types is bad for others: it all depends on the nature and sensitivity of your scalp. Just like your skin, your hair needs attention, so you can enjoy your holidays without having to pick up the bill when you return.


In very small doses, the sun is excellent for all hair types. Through the intermediary of vitamin D, it acts on the life cycle of the hair and allows the hair keratin grow faster and stronger: if you want to let your hair grow, the holidays are a great time to do it.

What's more, the sun also gives your hair unique highlights, the kind that, along with a tan, give us an air of health and successful holidays that no hairdresser can reproduce artificially.

Venetian blonde: Venetian aristocrats during the Renaissance understood the power of the sun on their hair, so they had a mixture of lemon and saffron applied to their hair, then exposed it to the sun for a long time, taking care not to expose the skin on their face at the same time, which had to remain as white as possible.

Hair-blond-eteNeither red nor blond, Botticelli's sumptuous Venetian blond


We may be more wary today of the sun's action on the skin, but all too often we still forget about the skin that the scalp is made of. An oversight that can be costly.

  • By drying out the epidermis and altering the pH of the scalp, infrared often triggers dandruff, just like peeling skin. A lesser evil, in our opinion...
  • More serious and more insidious, high doses of sunlight slow down the evacuation of the fatty acids contained in sebum. These acids stagnate under the epidermis and are immediately transformed into sebaceous impurities that compress the roots and hamper their activity. As a result, hair can become thinner and less well irrigated.
  • More seriously, excessive exposure to the sun accelerates the negative action of free radicals on the tissues surrounding the hair follicles. In the same way that rust attacks iron, these free radicals attack perifollicular collagen, causing it to lose its suppleness and potentially putting the hair roots in a straitjacket. Another reason, which can add to the compression of the roots and the reduction in their activity!

If your hair already tends to thin out or fall out too much (androgenetic alopecia), beware of the sun and be aware that autumn hair loss can be increased fivefold by carelessness over the summer. Precaution, precaution, therefore.


Simple but essential: cover your head every time you spend a long time in the sun, as no hair care product can fully protect fragile scalps.


People whose hair gets greasy too quickly during the rest of the year are generally very happy at the seaside. All of a sudden, their hair becomes healthier and lighter: not because of the sun, which makes the scalp sweat and stimulates sebum production, but because of the sea water, salt and plankton, which purify and tone the scalp.


A little water exercise for your hair: while you're in the bath, put your head under the water and let the sea water soak into your hair and scalp. While still underwater, massage the scalp using the following movement: place your fingertips slightly apart on the scalp and press down firmly, moving back and forth as much as possible without moving your fingers. The principle is to slide the skin of the scalp along the skull.

Then move your fingers and start again somewhere else. Don't forget to catch your breath often! For those who don't like apnea, the same result can be achieved by dipping your head in the water several times and performing the massage with your head out of the water each time.

In the evening, rinse your hair thoroughly, or better still, wash it with an ultra-gentle shampoo. If you don't take this precaution, the salt sticks to the skin and cancels out the benefits of seawater. The hair is apparently less greasy, but the scalp is covered in a magma of salt, sand and sebum, which is very detrimental to the natural evacuation of the latter.


For greasy hairFor oily dandruff and the itching that often accompanies it, a sea bath is synonymous with a rejuvenating bath.


Dry hairThey don't like anything. Just a little sun for highlights... but not too much. The combined action of infrared rays and salt (or chlorine from swimming pools) makes the scalp thirsty and can cause serious damage to hair that is dry by nature or weakened by cosmetic manipulations such as mini waves or colouring.

Under the microscope, hair that has suffered from these summer aggressions has a very distinctive keratin, with an irregular surface that looks like it's bristling with scales, when it should be smooth. When styling, these scales cross and criss-cross, making the hair rough and difficult to detangle, brittle on the lengths, split ends.


On the beach, apply a hair protector to your hair to preserve the cohesion of its keratin and prevent it from devitalising.

If you put your head in the water, rinse your hair with fresh water afterwards - it's easy to take a small bottle with you.

In the evening, rinse your hair using just a conditioner. Add the juice of half a lemon to the last rinse: the acidity helps smooth the hair's keratin.


As with sensitive skin, the sun and sea can have a devastating effect on dry hair. If this applies to you, don't hesitate to follow the advice above. You'll prevent your hair from becoming devitalised and your head of hair from looking like a thatched roof.


If your hair has a problem, if it's falling out or thinning... don't wait until the new season! Get a complete check-up now (Clauderer diagnosis): summer is an ideal time to encourage hair regrowth and prevent unpleasant autumn surprises.

Jean-François Cabos

Jean-François Cabos is the creator of a unique hair care method based on the research he coordinated, which led to the publication of the book "Cheveux, Racines de Vie" with Hélène Clauderer by Robert Laffont (Collection "Réponses/ Santé").

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