Rejoice, summer is finally here! Sure, we are undoubtedly turning to our sundresses, sunglasses and sunblock to equip us against the rising temperatures, but have you considered where your hair and scalp fit into this updated regime?
Whether it be scalp sunburn, exposure to the elements, increased sweat production or dry and brittle strands, our scalp and hair also need extra care and attention during the heat of summer. Read on to learn from our Lead Trichologist, Sofia, and Resident General Practitioner, Dr. Simmy Kaur, to discover all the expert tips you need to summer-proof your hair and scalp this season.
COMBAT SWEATY SCALP
“When sweat mixes with dirt, oil, and other impurities on the scalp, it can clog your hair follicles and weaken your hair strands, making them prone to more breakage and damage,” says Sofia, MONPURE’s Lead Trichologist. “This can lead to hair loss and thinning over time if left untreated.”
Additionally, the lactic acid found in sweat mixes with the keratin protein found in the hair, which strips away the hair's protective barriers, leading to brittle, dry, and damaged hair. Consequently, these factors contribute to the overall deterioration of the hair's health and appearance.
The negative effects of sweat build-up on the scalp extend beyond hair damage. According to Sofia, "sweat-induced infections such as scalp acne can cause itching, flaking, inflammation, and discomfort, which leads to the imbalance of the scalp microbiome."
MONPURE EXPERT TIP: Add sweat-control to your formula
While facial exfoliation is a likely mainstay in your skincare routine, you may be forgetting to do the same for your scalp. The biodegradable jojoba beads in MONPURE's Clarifying Scalp Scrub gently lift away any lingering debris, dry skin or oil, while nourishing properties of shea butter and argan oil boost shine and moisture from root to tip. What’s more, its summery scent of sweet orange and rosemary will revitalise your senses.
As a physical exfoliator, scalp scrubs cultivate a healthy scalp microbiome. Along with ridding your scalp of nasty build-up and sweat, exfoliation also primes the scalp for the absorption of other active ingredients, like retinol in MONPURE’s hair growth booster, the Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum.
PROTECT FROM UV DAMAGE
Environmental aggressors like UV radiation and pollution produce a process called oxidative stress. This refers to an imbalance between unstable free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can damage the body’s cells and structures.
Both UVA and UVB rays can be harmful to the hair and scalp. Research has shown that UVB can result in structural damage, while UVA can result in chemical damage.
“It’s important to remember that sunburn affects all skin tones,” says Dr. Simmy Kaur, MONPURE’s Resident GP. “For those with fairer skin it may manifest as redness and inflammation. For people with darker skin, it may just feel irritated or itchy. That’s why it’s so important to use sunscreen all year round, especially near the scalp line and over your parting and areas of hair thinning - areas that we quite often forget.”
Due to its longer wavelength, UVA radiation is capable of penetrating deep into the cuticle and cortex layers of the hair’s structure, which can destroy colour pigment leading to colour fade. Because melanin provides photoprotection, blonde and grey hair, which are low in melanin, are more susceptible to damage and ageing.
“UVA rays penetrate deep into the scalp,” continues Dr Kaur, “and can cause premature ageing. These changes to the scalp skin can eventually lead to hair thinning and loss.”
Alongside burning the scalp itself, UVB radiation can result in the breakdown of what are known as disulfide bonds, which are fundamental to the hair’s structural integrity. Disulfide bonds are the chemical bonds that hold together the hair’s protein structures. This damage can result in the loss of tensile strength, increase the hair’s porosity and create irregularities on the hair’s surface.
Overall, prolonged exposure to UV rays can deteriorate a fatty acid found on the surface of hair cuticles called 18-methyleicosanoic acid, which acts as a hydrophobic barrier (repels water) that provides hair with softness and shine. It also diminishes the essential amino acids cysteine, tryptophan and tyrosine, which strengthen hair and contribute to healthy hair growth. These chemical changes manifest in brittle hair, loss of shine, surface friction, poor manageability, as well as loss of colour and tensile strength.
MONPURE EXPERT TIP: Protect from the elements
MONPURE’s innovative vegan silk peptides, found in high percentages in the Shampoo and Conditioner, are a vegan alternative to silk peptides that deliver a physical and breathable protection against environmental aggressors. In the face of harmful UV rays, the significant protective properties of this ingredient also improves hair colour protection by 35%.
MONPURE’s shower staples are formulated with a potent percentage of vegan silk peptides. Regularly using products with this ample dosage of vegan silk peptides will provide robust protection against environmental aggressors, while rebuilding existing damage.
“The main thing to do is to make sure that the hair root has a fighting chance to thrive and stay healthy by using a really good quality, silicone-free and sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Essence-Conditioner,” Dr Kaur explains. “MONPURE's formulas contain the most high-quality ingredients, including antioxidants and vegan silk peptides to make sure that your hair can thrive!”
BATTLE CHLORINE AND SALT WATER
Salt water and chlorine can be harsh on our delicate strands, causing them to be brittle, dry and lacklustre, and this is aggravated by the summer sun. Chlorine works to eat away at the hair’s protective cuticle layer, making the hair tangled and exposing the delicate cortex layer. Excessive chlorine exposure can degenerate the amino acids in our hair’s structure, which diminishes its natural tensile strength and significantly depletes its hydration.
Chlorine also works to dissolve the lipids that coat the hair shaft, providing shine, moisture and manageability. Hair that is depleted of these essential lipids is more prone to breakage in the form of split ends and frizz. Chlorine works to strip the natural melanin from the hair, which is why summer pool days often end with green ‘pool hair’ strands. The result? Dry, brittle looking hair that is more prone to damage and future breakage. What’s more, chlorine exposure can exacerbate scalp redness, itchiness and tightness on the scalp.
Salt water is equally damaging to your locks. The hair’s water content is what allows it to be elastic, stretchy and moisturised. Elasticity refers to the hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original shape. Healthy hair has a high level of elasticity, allowing it to hold bounce, body and curl formation. Sea water has a high salt content, allowing it to draw water out of the hair, leaving it parched, dry and brittle. Too much exposure to salt water can lead to hair becoming dehydrated and dry if too much moisture is lost through evaporation and osmosis, even more so if that moisture is never replenished.
MONPURE EXPERT TIP: Quell dryness through ‘essence’ conditioning
Amplify hydration and battle breakage with our lightweight Strengthening Essence-Conditioner, which is designed to be used from root to tip for all over nourishment. Performing a dual role of protecting against environmental pollutants as well as bestowing a restorative, protective layer to the hair shaft and scalp, it’s formulated with vegan silk peptides that defend against the sun and chlorine’s damaging effects. The accompanying moisturising double-act of argan oil and Pro Vitamin B5 leave the hair and scalp supremely nourished throughout the summer months.
SOOTHE SCALP SUNBURN
Enjoying the sun is certainly part and parcel of the summer experience, however, with sun exposure comes the potential of sun damage and sunburn. What’s more, some of the most commonly forgotten areas to protect are the scalp and hairline.
“Scalp sunburn can disrupt the natural balance of oils and moisture in the scalp, leading to dryness, flakiness, and itching,” says Sofia. “When the scalp is exposed to UV radiation from the sun it can cause damage to the skin cells, leading to inflammation, redness, and discomfort.”
Sun damage refers to a form of radiation burn caused by overexposure to UV rays, which leads to direct DNA and cell damage. The damage to these cells leads to the production of certain kinds of proteins and enzymes, which in turn cause blood vessel dilation and inflammation — that’s why your skin gets sore and red when you burn. The heat of sunburnt skin can be attributed to increased blood flow to the affected area. Your scalp may also peel as your sunburn heals as this is your body’s way of ridding itself of damaged cells that could potentially cause further harm.
MONPURE EXPERT TIP: Deliver a soothing sunburn solution
If your scalp is feeling the heat or is slightly sunburnt, gently applying a few drops of Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum through your roots can help relieve the discomfort, inflammation and redness from a day out in the sun. Formulated with redness-reducing witch hazel water, cell-regenerating allantoin, soothing aloe vera and moisture-locking Pro Vitamin B5 it will help to subdue the symptoms of sun damage.
“I highly recommend the Hydrate and Soothe Serum as a summer essential,” says Sofia. “The active anti-inflammatory ingredients help calm symptoms of sun damage, redness, inflammation, itchiness and flaking. The ingredients rehydrate the scalp, balance the build-up of sebum and protect the scalp against bacterial overgrowth.”
The Secret to Summer Hair and Scalp Health
Since a healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair (and thicker, fuller hair at that), a consistent scalp care routine is the ultimate secret to cultivating the healthiest environment for hair to flourish - all summer long.