Treatment and Prevention for Scalp Sunburns

Those pesky white flakes falling from your itchy scalp might not be dandruff. The summer sun beats down on top of our unprotected heads. This leads to painful sunburns on our scalp. You might not see the redness but you’ll notice that your head is more tender than usual. The difficulty in seeing and preventing head sunburns makes them more dangerous. Skin cancer on your scalp is hard to spot through your hair. It’s important to know how to treat scalp sunburns and how to prevent them. Perhaps the most difficult part of this, however, is simply remembering to protect your head from UV rays.

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Scalp sunburn treatment

Like any sunburn, you can smother your scalp with aloe vera before bed. If you use this technique, make sure to cover your pillow with a towel. Apple cider vinegar takes away the sting from your sunburn and provides much-needed relief. Mix some with water and rinse it through your hair after shampoo and conditioner. Sooth your scalp with some strong green tea. Steep the tea and let it cool in the fridge. Soak your hair in the tea for at least five minutes before washing it out in the shower. Use this remedy within 24 hours of getting burned for the best results. For another home remedy, soak a washcloth in cold 2 percent milk. This unusual treatment method promotes healing when the milk is applied to your scalp sunburn.

What NOT to do

When the painful damage has been done, treat your scalp sunburn early to promote faster healing. Avoid any shampoos or hair products with alcohol in them. This can cause further irritation and make flaking worse. Go easy on the brushing and skip the blow drier. Heat tools in general should be limited. If you must add fuel to the fire, keep the tools focused on the ends of your hair and stay away from the roots. Even though the itchiness will seem unbearable, don’t scratch and pick at your irritated scalp. This will only make things worse and increase the visibility of dead skin flakes.

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Sunburn prevention

The best way to treat scalp sunburns is to avoid them altogether. To prevent scalp burns, the simple answer is to wear a hat. Sun hats, baseball hats, fishing hats and all other kinds of head coverings block the sun’s rays and protect your head from sunburns. Staying in the shade is also an effective way to avoid sun exposure. When there’s no shade available from trees, awnings or other structures, create your own with a beach umbrella. Beach umbrellas are larger than rain umbrellas and they’re designed to sit securely in on the ground.

If you have thin hair, apply a layer of sunscreen to the exposed skin. Look for broad spectrum protection that’s SPF 30 or higher. Reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours. Certain sunscreens are designed specifically for scalp protection. These products work better for people who have a full head of hair. Sprays with non-greasy formulas cover your scalp and won’t ruin your hairdo. Sunscreen powders can also be worked into your scalp without leaving an oily residue. Many scalp sunscreens also moisturize your hair so look for the one that works best for you.

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