Updated: Jan 8
Sunlight is the perennial subject of a multitude of health warnings. And no wonder! Too much sunlight causes unwanted skin pigmentation, premature ageing and worst of all, skin cancer. However, we know that some sunlight benefits our health. Deficiency of sunlight and vitamin D is documented to lead to a host of diseases including rickets, increased risk of cancers and mood disorders.
Is sunlight good for the hair? As we shall see, in moderation, sunlight is great for the hair!
1st Benefit of Sunlight for Hair: Remedy For Hair Loss
There is evidence that lack of sunlight or lack of vitamin D in food is linked to hair loss.
For instance, alopecia areata is a disease that leads to hair loss and bald patches on the body or the scalp. Studies show a substantial link between occurrence of alopecia areata and vitamin D deficiency. Research also shows that in female pattern hair loss, there are lower levels of vitamin D.
Clearly, there are benefits of sunlight as a remedy for hair loss.
2nd Benefit of Sunlight for the Hair: Helps Hair Growth
Does the presence of sunlight promote hair growth? Yes!
In the field of dermatology, it is established that vitamin D plays a part in the hair growth cycle, particularly in the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes. When there isn’t enough vitamin D in your system, new hair growth can be stunted.
Anecdotal evidence suggests hair may stop shedding and regenerate in as little as two months after treatment. In addition to using smart clinically-backed hair products in your daily regimen, a healthy dose of sunlight would help too.
3rd Benefit of Sunlight for Hair: Treats Skin and Scalp Conditions
Vitamin D deficiency has also been found to play a role in skin and scalp conditions, such as fungal infections, acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Although there is evidence that sunlight can treat fungal and acne infections on your scalp under controlled conditions, there are no recommendations for treating them ourselves in the sun.
Safely Get the Benefits of Sunlight for your Hair
There is a fine line between enough sunlight and too much of it. If you live in the tropics, you probably have more than enough sunlight. In fact, hair exposed to excessive sunlight causes damage including dryness, reduced strength, rough surface texture, loss of color, decreased luster, stiffness and brittleness. On a hot day, you may try using a wash-on sun-protective shampoo to moderate the amount of sun exposure your hair and scalp receive.
How do you safely draw down on the benefits of sunlight?
Avoid extended direct sun-exposure
Some experts suggest that 10 to 30 minutes a day of sun exposure is the right amount needed to form vitamin D in your skin. But the amount of sun needed varies depending on skin type, how much skin is exposed, and where you live. According to Arielle Levitan, MD, an internal medicine physician in Chicago, 800 to 2,000 IU—or 20 to 50 micrograms—of vitamin D daily is usually enough, and “too much can cause toxicity.” Some people require 5,000 IU daily to maintain optimum blood levels.
Sun-protection: topical, wash-on and oral
For safe sun exposure, accompany with sunscreen. On sunny days, in tropical countries, you will not be short on vitamin D even with the sun-protection. Other than topical sunscreens like Skin Glow Plus which repairs sun-damaged DNA while giving you sun-protection, you could try a 2-in-1 wash-on sunscreen for your face and body, or clinically-proven oral sun-protection too.
If you have hair thinning or balding issues such as alopecia areata, do consult a medical professional for treatment.
Sun exposure, due to its link with vitamin D, may be a blessing for healthy hair growth... provided our total sun exposure is very carefully managed.