The UK heatwave, with its relentless sun, humidity and record-breaking temperatures, is proving tricky for many Brits to deal with. We’re definitely very happy to have air-conditioning here in the Belgravia Centre clinics!
For those with hair loss who may be feeling the heat even more intensely, here are some tips for dealing with hot weather hair problems.
1 Protect your scalp
Whether you have hair loss or not, in extreme temperatures it is wise to protect yourself by wearing a hat, particularly if you are in the sun for long periods with no shade and may be at risk of sun stroke. If your scalp is exposed to the elements due to thinning hair or patchy hair loss from Alopecia Areata this becomes even more important. In some situations this may not be appropriate so try using a high SPF sunscreen or sunblock on the scalp to prevent sunburn.
Various scalp-specific formulations of spray-on suncream are now available from UK pharmacies and – although some haircare products are marketed as offering sun protection, it is your scalp which needs protecting most of all. Remember that, unless the product you use specifically states that it is for once-a-day use, it will need to be reapplied throughout the day in order to maintain its efficacy and protection levels. This important information can generally be found on the product packaging and will advise on recommended application intervals for normal use and for extra use if you are going swimming or doing any activities that involve the scalp getting wet. We would not advise relying on any shampoo claiming to offer sun protection as anything which stays on the hair for such a short time and is rinsed off before proper absorption can occur is unlikely to offer great benefits.
Exposure to ultraviolet light (UV), whilst also linked with skin ageing, bleaching of the hair and skin cancer, when limited it does have some notable up-sides too. These include UV helping to clear up spots and acne due to its antibacterial effects on the skin, and stimulating vitamin D production which is good for immunity. As such, taking precautions to protect yourself from the sun, but not avoiding it completely, is normally advisable.
2 Know which order to apply your hair loss treatments and sun protection in
If you are using topical hair loss treatment and also want to use suncream on your scalp, the best thing to do is to apply the minoxidil to your scalp – which should be dry at the time – then wait for ideally an hour but certainly no less than 30 minutes, before applying the suncream. If you want to go swimming after this, you will need to ensure you wait at least an hour after applying your treatment – or as long as possible in order to let it properly absorb into the scalp and be as efficient as possible.
Wearing a swimming cap, put on at least 30 minutes after applying the treatment, is a good solution if you’re in a rush. It also offers the additional benefit of protecting your hair from chlorine in swimming pools regardless of hair colour, though if your hair is blonde – either naturally or bleached – copper in the water can become oxidised by chlorine, and turn the hair green.
3 Rinse sweaty scalps
Belgravia hair specialists are often asked questions pertaining to a sweaty scalp and whether or not this will cause hair loss or make hair treatments less effective. Another further point of interest is whether regular, daily hair washing can cause hairloss.
Firstly, a sweaty scalp is highly unlikely to cause hair loss unless it is so extreme and prolonged as to set off an unlikely, and unfortunate series of events occur, starting with the development of a scalp condition (this part is entirely possible and can be why some people report an itchy scalp). If this then becomes sufficiently infected and inflamed to the point where the body reacts to this internal strain, whilst a remote possibility, it can then cause hair fall from all over the scalp around three months after being triggered. It is a temporary condition known as Telogen Effluvium. Normal hair growth should resume within six months, though specialist treatment is also available to help accelerate this process.
Washing your hair every day is widely recommended for men and women with thinning hair as, not only does it keep the scalp clean, but it can also make hair look thicker. Always use a gentle shampoo geared towards your hair type that’s suitable for every-day use. If you feel like you need to wash your hair more frequently than once per day, perhaps if you’re swimming or sweating a lot – Central Line passengers, we’re looking at you – it is fine in the short term, but rinsing the scalp with water can be all that is really needed if you are already washing your hair daily.
Ensure you use a conditioner when necessary, which should only be applied to the ends of the hair or the lengths if the conditioner has a lightweight formulation. The reason for not applying it to the roots is that it can make the hair appear limp – not ideal if you are already concerned about hair looking thin – and the ends, which are more prone to damage, and the lengths if your hair is prone to tangling or breakage,are the key target for this type of product.
Dry or over-processed hair that is already lacking in moisture or is particularly porous can become dry, brittle and frizzy in this type of hot, dry weather. In these instances, intensive deep conditioning treatments can help to provide moisture whilst sealing the hair cuticle, keeping it smooth and shiny.
4 Stay hydrated
There are many reasons everyone should drink the recommended 8-10 glasses of water per day, not least because of the beneficial effects on the body – including the hair – of being properly hydrated. However, in hot weather it is even more important to maintain good hydration levels.
Despite this, reports regularly state that people drink far less water every day – regardless of temperature – than they should. Getting your recommended regular water intake on point can be helpful as it ensures proper nutrient distribution necessary for maintaining bodily functions including normal healthy hair growth, digestion and cognitive functions. You can also eat water-rich foods, such as strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber and iceberg lettuce, to help you reach your intake goals of two litres/three and a half pints of water per day.
5 Use the warm weather to your hair’s advantage
Summer is the perfect time for men and women to give their hair a break from damaging heat styling appliances, from tongs and hair straighteners to even just hairdryers. Allow the warmth or the breeze from a fan to air dry your hair naturally. This will not only remove the risks associated with heated appliances, but will also help the hair to retain moisture.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.