Can Too Much Sun Lead to Hair Loss?
There are countless myths about hair growth and hair loss. From the ridiculous (“rubbing an onion on a bald spot will make the hair grow back”) to the plausible (“hats cause hair loss”). So much misinformation is floating around about what causes hair to grow or fall out.
One claim that keeps popping up this time of year is that direct sunlight causes hair loss. But is it true? To address this assertion, we need to understand what the sun does and doesn’t do to our hair and scalp.
Is Sunlight Good For Your Hair?
Sunlight, in moderation, is good for your whole body – including your scalp and hair. Five to ten minutes of sunlight several days a week will provide a healthy dose of vitamin D necessary for your hair’s growth and health.
Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in several types of hair loss:
- Alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder causing hair to fall out in clumps).
- Telogen effluvium (excess hair shedding).
- Female pattern baldness.
You can reverse these types of hair loss by providing your body and hair with sufficient amounts of Vitamin D.
Does Sunlight Stimulate Hair Growth?
Vitamin D – including that derived from the sun – stimulates cellular activity, binding itself to receptors in existing hair follicles. It also helps to create new follicles, which maintain hair’s thickness and prevent existing hair from falling out prematurely. It is especially helpful during the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle when there are increasing numbers of vitamin D receptors on the follicular cells.
Can Sun Rays Cause Hair Loss?
So, are there instances when the sun does cause hair loss?
The claim that direct sunlight causes hair loss is false. On the contrary, getting some sun is beneficial for your hair. You can, however, get too much of a good thing. Just as overexposure to the sun’s UV rays causes skin damage, it also ages your scalp and slows hair growth.
A sunburned scalp is an unhappy scalp, and an unhappy scalp will not produce healthy hair. Too much sun can damage the hair’s cuticles and break down keratin, the protein that makes up 95 percent of your hair. This results in dry, dull, and brittle hair with poor growth.
Protecting your scalp from too much sun should be as high a priority as protecting your skin. Similar to sunscreens for your skin, UV hair protection products block the sun’s harmful rays while allowing you some of its benefits.
Or you could always wear a hat. That won’t cause hair loss, either.
Austin Hair Restoration Can Help You Regain Your Healthy Hair
If maintaining a healthy lifestyle hasn’t helped your hair loss, the trained specialists at Austin Hair Restoration Clinic can work with you to develop and implement an effective treatment plan customized to your needs. To get started, contact us today.
Dr. Sanjeev Dubey is an experienced hair restoration and emergency medicine physician in Austin, Texas. He holds a medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and has been practicing medicine for over two decades. His affiliations include Seton Medical Center Austin, Seton Northwest, and various local hospitals.