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Know all about Sunburn on Scalps & the Treatment

Dr. Kapil Dua | June, 1 2023 | 0 Comments

When you spend the entire day out in the sun, you make sure that you apply a generous layer of sunscreen or sun block on your skin. However, most of us forget about another part of our body, which is just as sensitive – the scalp. Simply because the scalp is hidden beneath a thick layer of hair, it does not mean that the scalp cannot get sun burnt. As a matter of fact, there are numerous people who are faced with a scalp burnt by the harsh rays of sun, all around the world, every year.

Sunburn on the scalp is actually much more common than people might think, but in most cases, the people affected are not able to gauge the condition that has afflicted them. This is one of the main reasons why the condition gets aggravated and reaches beyond a point of treatment. We need to understand that scalp is also skin, and it can suffer the same amount of damage from the sun, as any other part of the body. This is why, it is just as important to protect your scalp from the sun, as is your skin. If your scalp has been affected by the sun, you might notice flakes all over or in certain spots of your scalp. In more severe cases, there could be second degree burns and not giving proper attention to the same could lead even to skin cancer.

What are the symptoms of sunburn of the scalp?

The symptoms of sunburn of the scalp are dependent on how severe the condition is. If the condition is extremely mild, you might notice just redness on your scalp and a slight tenderness. The more severe it gets, so will the symptoms:

  • There will be deeper burns and there might even be the development of blisters over time.
  • The blisters will dry up and turn into flakes, which could be small or large and these will shed over a short period of time. These flakes will be visible close to the hair shaft.
  • There is bound to be itching as well as severe irritation, however, it is important that you not succumb to the temptation, because scratching can further expose the skin, leading to other complications.
  • In certain cases, there are signs of bacterial infection, which if not treated on time, can become extremely serious.

What can be done to prevent or remedy sunburn of the scalp?

There are two main ways of preventing sunburn of the scalp – one would be to cover your head, when you step out in the sun. You can either wear a cap or hat or you can choose to cover your head and hair with a scarf. Alternately, you can invest in one of the several sunscreens, available for hair and scalp. You will also be able to find products which are slightly resistant to water, which means that if you are planning to swim or splash around at the beach, you have nothing to worry about.

sunburn scalp

If you have already been hit by the condition, then the best choice would be to avoid being in direct sunlight for a few days. Exposure to sunlight between 10am-4pm can produce the maximum damage. In addition, if you do have to step out, make sure that your head is covered,because you would not want to further the damage and sunscreens are a must. It is also best that you not apply heat in any other manner; as in by using blow dryers, straightening or curling irons. At such times, choose a hairstyle that will cover the area of the scalp that has been affected, allowing it time to heal.

Some Home Remedies to treat the Sunburns

It is advisable to immediately see your skin specialist to establish the course of treatment but some home remedies that may your scalp to rejuvenate are as follows:

  • In most cases, there is peeling of the scalp, which means that there is dead skin, which needs to be removed. However, you should not rub away at it, because you might end up exposing the skin beneath. Instead, use a gentle exfoliating shampoo, which matches your hair type and that should do the trick.
  • Green tea can provide a lot of hydration from within the body, but it also works great with the outer body. Prepare green tea in the normal way and allow it to cool in the fridge. Once cooled, use a washcloth or small balls of cotton to apply the same, all over your scalp. The same can be rinsed off with cold water after a few hours. You can even use the ice cold green tea as your last rinse.
  • Ice cold milk also works well – dip a washcloth or cotton in ice cold milk and dab on the areas of the scalp, which have been most affected. Rinse off after a little while with normal shampoo and conditioner. The enzymes that are present in the milk will ensure that the skin starts to heal really soon.
  • Cucumber is known to have cooling properties, which is why it works really well with sunburns as well. Simply squeeze out the juice from two or three cucumbers and apply with either a washcloth or cotton balls. Wash your hair with cold water after thirty to thirty five minutes.
  • For years, people have used coconut oil to nourish and nurture their hair, but this magical oil is also a great way to treat sunburn of the scalp. Warm the oil (if it is in solid or semisolid condition), but do not apply warm oil to your scalp. Ensure that the oil is at room temperature, before you start applying it gently. You can leave it overnight or at least for a few hours.

As they say, prevention is better than cure, which is why, if you are planning a day in the sun, make sure you have a large hat and enough sun protection for your hair!

Dr. Kapil Dua

Dr. Kapil Dua

Dr. Kapil Dua, Co-Founder & Chairman at AK Clinics has over fourteen years of clinical and teaching experience in the fields of Otolaryngology & Hair Transplant. He holds the recognition for having transplanted over 5 million grafts, among the highest in the world, with a record of less than 3% wastage, among the best in the world. Dr Kapil Dua is one of the most recognized Indian hair transplant surgeon throughout all the world.

He has been doing hair transplant surgeries by FUE technique since 2007, has treated thousands of patients since then and demonstrated surgeries in conferences in China, Thailand, Dubai, UK. He has published more than 40 national and international publications including chapters in all the major textbooks all over the world.

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