Sun protection for the scalp: Are you missing this important beauty step?

Simone Wu
·Contributor
Stock photo of a young woman shielding her eyes. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Stock photo of a young woman shielding her eyes. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The easiest, fuss-free skincare tip that anyone can follow is to always use sunscreen consistently. What many people don’t realise about sun protection is that you need to apply sunscreen everywhere. And not just on commonly forgotten areas like your ears, nape, décolleté and calves, but also on your scalp.

As the scalp is the highest point of your body, it gets the most direct exposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Sunlight damages skin cells on the scalp the same way it does to any other skin on the body. It can weaken hair structures but more importantly, skin cancer can occur on the scalp. To protect the scalp, you can opt for chemical sunscreens with ingredients such as avobenzone as these will not leave any white residue on the skin, and so, will not be visible against dark hair colour.

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According to SW1 Clinic’s medical director Dr Low Chai Ling, the ingredients used for sunscreens on the face and body are equally effective for your scalp. “There is no real need to get a dedicated one for the scalp as sunscreens marketed for the scalp will contain the same ingredients as for the skin. Also, most consumers would prefer something less greasy; they can then opt for a spray-on sunscreen than a cream-based one,” she adds.

Like the sunscreen you would choose for the face and body, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. It can be a challenge to apply sunscreen on the scalp because you have all the hair in the way. So, what you can do is, like the way you would apply a scalp serum, to part your hair, apply on the hairline and massage it into the skin. You can also try mousse-textured sunscreens as these are lightweight and can be easily spread through the hair.

If you have thin hair, little hair, or thin and little hair, don’t spray your mist-type sunscreen directly at the roots as that could leave your hair clumpy around the hair roots. Spread or spray the sunscreen on your palm before using your fingertips to dab on the sunscreen and apply to the scalp. Aside from applying sunscreen on the scalp, you can also wear hats and seek shelter when the sun is out, especially if you have little hair.

Here are seven sunscreens you can use to protect your scalp against UV rays:

Anessa Perfect UV Spray Sunscreen Aqua Booster. (PHOTO: Anessa)
Anessa Perfect UV Spray Sunscreen Aqua Booster. (PHOTO: Anessa)

Anessa Perfect UV Spray Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF50+/PA++++ (60g), S$30.90
The perfect sunscreen for hot and humid Singapore, this sun-protective powers in this spray-on sunscreen formula amplifies when it comes into contact with sweat. Waterproof, sweat-proof and friction-resistant, it also keeps the scalp comfortably hydrated with a moisturising blend of Bulgarian rose essence, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and extracts of angelica and turmeric. Available at Watsons.

Coola Scalp & hair mist
Coola Scalp & hair mist


Coola Scalp & Hair Mist Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 (60ml), USD26 (S$35.40).
This comes with a scalp-usage-friendly applicator tip that allows for easy application on the scalp. The lightweight, organic formula has monoi oil to nourish the scalp and a sage scent to soothe the senses. It doesn’t leave any oily residue, too. We love that it is not only vegan but also reef-friendly.

Available at www.coola.com

Dr GL Sun Protection Mist. (PHOTO: Dr GL)
Dr GL Sun Protection Mist. (PHOTO: Dr GL)

DrGL Sun Protection Mist (80ml), S$88.

Now in a bigger bottle (from 60ml to 80ml) at the same price, and with an upgraded nozzle that dispenses finer mist, this spray-on sunscreen helps neutralise free radicals with antioxidant-rich extracts of scutellaria baicalensis root and peony root. Also suitable for oily skin, this quick-drying formula works to calm redness and even out skin tone with licorice extract and arbutin.

Available at www.drgl.com, DrGL counters, and at all DrSpa and DrHair outlets.

Chai Snow White
Chai Snow White


Chai Snow White Sunscreen Mist SPF30 (150ml), S$37.
Ideal for all skin types, this 100% mineral sun protection mist dries quickly on skin and promises to leave the skin more evenly toned. It also calms any skin irritation with calendula and chamomile flower extracts. Available at www.sw1shop.com

Lagom Cellus Sun Gel
Lagom Cellus Sun Gel

Lagom Cellus Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ (50ml), S$36.

Apply the gel formula over skin and it instantly transforms into a water-like texture that gets absorbed into the skin right away. The incredibly lightweight formula leaves a smooth, matte finish. While it feels like nothing on the skin, this sunscreen keeps the skin hydrated with humectants, emollients, and DermaFlux, an ingredient that is clinically proven to increase moisture levels in the skin.

Available at www.lazada.sg

Supergoop
Supergoop

Supergoop Poof 100% Mineral Part & Scalp Powder SPF 45 (20g), S$50.

Think of this as a dry shampoo that also protects your scalp from UV rays. This powder sun protection formula uses zinc oxide, and doesn’t a white cast on the skin. To be used on dry hair only, this also works to soak up excess sebum with silica and further protects with antioxidants. Available at www.sephora.sg

Sunplay
Sunplay

Sunplay Ultra Shield UV Body Mist SPF130/PA++++ (165ml), S$21.90.

Free of colourants, fragrance and parabens, this sweat- and water-resistant sunscreen mist protects with multiple UV filters that do not break down easily under the sun and keeps skin hydrated with hyaluronic acid. It also has RonaCare Ectoin, a powerful natural stress-protection ingredient found in a salt lake of an Egyptian desert that helps micro-organisms survive, and golden seaweed extract from France, to protect against premature skin ageing and soothe irritation. Available at Guardian and Watsons.