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How to Care for Your Scalp During Summer, According to an Expert

Healthy hair starts at the scalp.
julio 18, 2022

We’ve been stressing the importance of year-round scalp care ad nauseum — and for good reason. Like with anything, healthy growth begins at the foundation and if you want healthy hair you have to nourish the scalp. 

In the hot summer months, you may be tempted to throw your hair in a ponytail or protective style and forget about it for days at a time. But you could be doing yourself and your hair a serious disservice. And if you’re keen on sporting a bald head, the stakes are even higher for scalp care when the sun is beating down on your head for several hours a day. 

That’s why we consulted with Dr. Michelle Henry, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consulting expert, to get some tips on how to care for the scalp during the summer. Keep reading to learn what she recommends for proper scalp care in the warm weather months and beyond.

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How Does Summer Scalp Care Differ From Scalp Care During Other Seasons?

You may be wondering if there are specific things you must do during summer to ensure that you have a healthy scalp that looks different than what you do during the other seasons. It mostly depends on the climate that you live in. If you reside in a four season environment (or in the case of the Northeast, nine months of winter and then three months of non-stop heatwave), then your scalp care routine will change from season to season. But generally, your scalp routine should always include the same basics all year.

“The humidity in your environment can contribute to the state of your scalp,” Henry says. “So hydrating, moisturizing and conditioning whenever you cleanse [is important]. It's really critical to have a healthy scalp in order to have healthy hair as any excess inflammation on a scalp is going to distract the hair follicles from growing.”

Henry also explains that your skin type is also consistent, and as your scalp is an extension of the skin on your face, your scalp type can be affected by the sun and other summer elements just the same. So if you have oily skin, you could end up with an oily scalp. Similarly, your dry skin could also extend to your head. 

Fortunately, you can wear your hair in styles that give the scalp coverage and protect it from the elements. If you have a bald head, Henry suggests wearing a hat. As per the Skin Cancer Foundation, wearing a hat with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50 or more can help protect your scalp from the summer sun. 

What Products Can Protect Your Scalp from the Sun?

You likely saw this coming but SPF is going to be one of the most important products to have in your hair care arsenal to care for your scalp in the summer. While hair care formulated with hyaluronic acid is great for promoting hydration, playing defense against UV rays is a must.

“There are lots of sunscreens for the scalp now,” says Henry. “A nice cheat is to use a powder sunscreen or a traditional spray on sunscreen. You can spray it [directly] on the scalp or spray it on your fingers [and massage it in].”

Ultimately, understanding your scalp needs and following the basics in sun protection rules will help you keep your scalp healthy during the summer. If you’re ever in doubt about the state of your scalp, doing a quick assessment can go a long way in providing some insight, Henry advises. “Make sure that you assess the scalp,” she says. “Your scalp shouldn't feel painful, it shouldn't look red, it shouldn't smell and it shouldn't have excessive scale or buildup.”

If you’re noticing redness, flakes or scaliness that doesn’t go away with normal washing or even after using a scalp scrub like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Scalp Care + Detox Scrub or you find that your scalp constantly feels tender, consult with your dermatologist to ensure that you’re not already experiencing scalp sunburn or another serious scalp condition.

Next: 5 Ways To Treat An Itchy Scalp

Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

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