Does UV Exposure Cause Hair Loss? How Do I Protect Myself? - Imami Hair Restoration

If you’re heading to the beach, you can’t forget to apply sunscreen on every exposed part of your body. But does that include your head? Your hair offers some protection for your scalp, and there are even sunscreen products like shampoos. Unfortunately, that means your hair is taking the brunt of the damage.

Ultraviolet light is a problem for both the skin and hair. It makes the hair shaft brittle and easily damaged. You can tell when this has happened because your hair will have turned a lighter color. That damaged hair is more likely to fall out, which means that UV light can indirectly cause hair loss. Fortunately, the melanin that gives color to hair and skin also protects us from UV rays, but we lose melanin as we age. UV rays also break down melanin, so it can get worse just from getting a lot of exposure.

UV light is a type of harmful radiation which can affect our DNA. It damages the cells that make up the hair shaft, and damages the natural moisturizers that protect and keep our hair healthy. It also provokes swelling from the immune system, which affects hair growth, and it can make certain medical conditions worse, leading to direct hair loss.

UV light can also cause temporary hair loss by changing your hair’s growth cycle. Some hair loss happens when a hair shaft falls out to make way for a new one, but the hair growth cycle stops, so no new hair is made. There’s a hair loss treatment that uses UV light to start the cycle again, but it only works in a controlled environment. Exposing your hair to direct sunlight won’t have the same benefits.

So does UV exposure cause hair loss? The simple answer is that it technically doesn’t, but it’s still unhealthy and can lead to hair loss. You can use products to shield your hair and scalp, or a hat can be an easier and more effective solution. But you can’t keep that hat on forever! If you’re embarrassed to take off your hat and reveal your hair, a hair transplant will offer better coverage and increased confidence.

Contact Imami Hair Restoration to find out what hair loss treatment is best for you.


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Sebetić K, Sjerobabski Masnec I, Cavka V, Biljan D, Krolo I. UV damage of the hair. Coll Antropol. 2008 Oct;32 Suppl 2:163-5. PMID: 19138021.