Hair Care

Looking For The Most Underrated Haircare Solution? Try Scalp Sunscreen

Shine on without the burn, shield your scalp, and let your hair’s beauty take its turn!

Written by Samara S

On Sep 27, 2023 – 12 minutes read

Scalp Sunscreen

Your entire body is prone to getting sunburned if exposed to the sun’s abrasive rays for an extended period of time. Your scalp is included in this. People who are balding or have thin hair are more prone to getting sunburns on their scalps. Your scalp deserves sun protection too! Exposing your scalp to the sun’s harmful rays can lead to various issues. Learn how Scalp Sunscreen can safeguard your scalp. In addition to immediate discomfort, sunburn and excessive UV exposure can cause long-term skin damage and an increased risk of skin cancer.

You should recognize that a sunburn on the scalp can, at least temporarily can result in hair loss in addition to areas where there is thinning or no hair. If you have a deep or severe enough sunburn then it can cause inflammation, which can then cause telogen effluvium, a temporary hair loss condition. But even if you are diligent about covering your arms, legs, face, and torso with SPF70 sunscreen, it can be simple to overlook the skin and hair on top of your head.

Best Scalp Sunscreen Of 2023 – Protecting Your Scalp From Harmful UV Rays

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that damaged scalp skin that is exposed and unprotected can occur in as little as 15 minutes (1). The simplest way to safeguard and hydrate your scalp is with scalp sunscreen if you intend to spend time in the sun. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. The exact time and place of its invention aren’t clear as day, but it gained real recognition in the early 21st century.

People started realizing how important it is to protect their heads from the sun’s wrath, and that’s when scalp sunscreen became a thing. So, how does this magical potion work? Well, it’s not magic, but it sure feels like it. Scalp sunscreen usually has ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that form a physical barrier against UV rays. It’s like an invisible umbrella for your noggin. Then there are chemical filters like avobenzone that absorb and scatter those harmful rays. Together, they create a forcefield that stops the sun from messing with your scalp. Pairing Scalp Sunscreen with a nourishing Scalp Oil can provide comprehensive care for your scalp, ensuring optimal health and protection.

Try Scalp Sunscreen

Who Can Use A Scalp Sunscreen?

Who can use this scalp superhero? Anyone and everyone! It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, male or female, or rocking any hairstyle – if you’re spending time outdoors, consider this your best friend. Short hair, long hair, curly hair, straight hair – it’s got you covered! There are a variety of sunscreen products made specifically for use on the hair and scalp.  Consider using oils that include UVA/UVB protection to avoid having greasy strands covered in thick, white sunscreen. A scalp sunscreen also shields the hair from the sun, which can cause color oxidation and fading.

Applying sunscreen is a breeze! You can go for sprays or lotions – whatever floats your boat. Just slather it on your scalp before you step out into the sun. Don’t be stingy with it; generous application is key to keeping your scalp safe. Sunscreen’s powers tend to fade over time. To be precise, you can apply at least 30 minutes before going outside and again every two hours while you’re outside to protect your scalp. You will need to reapply sunscreen if you swim or perspire a lot because it will have been diluted or washed away by the moisture. Moreover, you can choose to wear a chic sunhat or baseball cap when spending time outside for complete protection, which guards both skin and hair follicles.

Some states in the USA such as South Florida has extreme whether condition. Skin damage from this sun exposure is a year-round concern for you. And if you are someone who is concerned about hair loss or are currently dealing with hair loss issues, the changing of the seasons also present a number of additional challenges. The issue of seasonal hair loss is common. So, there you go- one more reason to wear scalp sunscreen.

Top Things To Look For In Scalp Sunscreen

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect scalp sunscreen, keep these 10 must-haves in mind. We’re talking about sun protection that’s chill and effective:

Top Things To Look For In Scalp Sunscreen
  • Broad-Spectrum All The Way: First things first, make sure your scalp sunscreen can handle both UVA and UVB rays. Those are the sun’s villains, and you want full protection.
  • Get SPF Savvy: Look for an SPF rating of at least 30. Higher is cool too – it’s like extra armor for your scalp.
  • Sweat-Proof And Splash-Ready: If you’re planning beach days or sweating it out, go for a sweat-resistant or water-resistant formula. It stays put even when you’re having a splashin’ good time.
  • Say No To Clogged Pores: If you’ve got sensitive or acne-prone skin, aim for a non-comedogenic sunscreen. It won’t block your pores, so no unwanted breakouts.
  • Allergy-Friendly: If you’ve got allergies or touchy skin, opt for a hypoallergenic option. It’s like a gentle hug for your scalp.
  • Physical Or Chemical, Your Call: Talk to your dermatologist to know if what type of scalp sunscreen suits your lifestyle i.e. physical (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) or chemical (avobenzone, octisalate) sunscreen. Physical sits on your scalp, while chemical soaks up UV rays (2) – you do you!
  • Vanish That White Cast: Physical sunscreens can sometimes leave you looking like a ghost. If you want to keep it low-key, go for a clear or tinted sunscreen.
  • Easy Application, No Mess: Look for a scalp sunscreen that’s easy to put on. Spray or lotion? Your choice. Just make sure it’s a breeze to apply.
  • Lasts Longer Than Your Beach Day: Go for a long-lasting sunscreen. You don’t want to be constantly reapplying when you’re soaking up the sun.
  • Goodies For Your Skin: Check out the ingredient list. Some sunscreens have potent ingredients like aloe vera, antioxidants, and vitamins. They’re like bonus points for keeping your scalp healthy.

Top Tips For The Best Scalp Sunscreen Application

Here are the most essential tips for applying sunscreen to your scalp correctly, ensuring thorough and effective protection:

Top Tips For The Best Scalp Sunscreen Application

Choose The Right Product:

Begin by selecting a sunscreen specifically designed for scalp use. Ensure it provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF rating of at least 30.

Preparation Matters:

If you have hair, start by parting it in various directions to expose your scalp fully. This ensures that every inch of your scalp receives adequate coverage. For individuals with shorter hair, brushing it back can help create better access.

Generous Application:

Avoid skimping on sunscreen. Apply a generous amount to your fingertips and then distribute it evenly across your scalp. Pay special attention to areas where your scalp is most exposed, such as the crown and hairline.

Massage For Even Spread:

Gently massage the sunscreen into your scalp. This action aids in ensuring that the product is evenly distributed and effectively absorbed by the skin.

Watch For Residue:

If you opt for a physical scalp sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, be aware that it may leave a white residue. To minimize this effect, consider selecting a clear or tinted sunscreen formula for a more inconspicuous appearance.

Regular Reapplication:

Sunscreen can wear off, especially if you’re sweating or exposed to water. It’s vital to reapply every two hours or more frequently if you’re engaged in activities that lead to sweating or immersion in water.

Complementary Sun Protection:

Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat or cap in addition to sunscreen for added protection. These accessories provide an extra layer of shielding for both your scalp and face.

Avoid Peak Sun Hours:

Whenever it is possible, try to limit direct sun exposure during peak hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seek shade or wear protective clothing if you must be outside during these times.

Plan Ahead:

Apply scalp sunscreen to your scalp approximately 15-30 minutes before heading outdoors. This allows the product to be fully absorbed, ensuring optimal protection.

Sweat-Resistant Selection:

For physical activities or when you anticipate significant sweating, choose a sunscreen labelled as sweat-resistant. These formulations are designed to adhere to the skin even during strenuous activities.

By sticking to these recommendations and making sunscreen application to your scalp a routine part of your sun protection regimen, you can enjoy outdoor activities safely while minimizing the risk of sunburn, skin damage, and the long-term consequences of UV exposure. Scalp protection goes beyond immediate comfort; it is a crucial step in preserving the health and integrity of your skin over time.

How To Know If Your Scalp Is Damaged?

Assessing your scalp for signs of sun damage is a crucial aspect of maintaining skin health. Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun can lead to various skin issues, and the scalp is no exception. Before you use a scalp sunscreen, it is important to know how you can check your scalp for sun damage and the major signs to look out for:

How To Know If Your Scalp Is Damaged?
  1. Examine In Adequate Lighting: To thoroughly assess your scalp, ensure you’re in a well-lit room or using a good-quality mirror in natural daylight.
  2. Use A Comb Or Brush: To inspect your entire scalp, use a comb or brush to part your hair and expose different areas. This step is especially important if you have a full head of hair.
  3. Check For Abnormalities: Look for any unusual growths, spots, or irregularities on your scalp. Pay close attention to any changes in color, texture, or size of existing moles or freckles.
  4. Inspect Your Hairline: Examine your hairline and the area around your ears, as these regions are often exposed to more sun than others.
  5. Feel For Raised Bumps: Use your fingertips to gently feel for any raised or rough areas on your scalp. These may indicate actinic keratosis, a precancerous lesion.
  6. Watch For Scaling Or Crusting: Be alert for any scaling, crusting, or scabbing on your scalp, as this can be a sign of sun damage or skin conditions like skin cancer(3).
  7. Monitor Changes Over Time: Keep a record of any changes you notice during your scalp examination. Document the size, color, and any other characteristics of any suspicious spots or growths.

Major Signs Of Sun Damage On The Scalp

Now, let’s dig into the major signs of sun damage on the scalp:
1. Sunburn: Redness, pain, and peeling are common signs of sunburn on the scalp. Severe sunburn can cause blistering and should be taken seriously.
2. Actinic Keratosis: These are rough, scaly patches that can develop from prolonged sun exposure. They may feel tender or itchy and can progress to skin cancer if left untreated.
3. Skin Cancer: The most serious sign of sun damage is the development of skin cancer on the scalp. Look for unusual or changing moles, sores that won’t heal, and new growths.
4. Premature Aging: Sun-damaged skin on the scalp may exhibit signs of premature aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots.
5. Texture Changes: Sun-damaged skin can become rough, leathery, or uneven in texture, which may affect the appearance and feel of your scalp.
Hair Thinning or Loss: Excessive sun exposure can lead to hair thinning or hair loss, especially if your scalp is repeatedly burned or damaged.

Best Scalp Sunscreen In The US

Here are five highly-rated scalp sunscreens, each with its own unique features, along with their approximate prices in USD:

1. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 100+

Special Features: Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen offers high SPF protection of 100+ with a non-greasy, lightweight formula. It is water-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor activities. This sunscreen is suitable for the scalp and the rest of the body.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch

Price: $8.99 for a 3-ounce bottle.

2. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum Scalp Sunscreen SPF 46

Special Features: EltaMD UV Clear is a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen that is gentle on sensitive skin.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Price: $36.00 for a 1.7-ounce bottle.

It contains niacinamide to help calm skin and manage redness. The oil-free formula is suitable for acne-prone skin and provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

3. Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Special Features: Coppertone Sport Sunscreen is designed for active individuals.

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Price: $6.97 for an 8-ounce bottle.

This product is sweat-resistant making it a great choice if you play sports or do outdoor workouts. The lotion is easy to apply and provides long-lasting protection to the scalp.

4. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Scalp Sunscreen SPF 100

Special Features: La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen offers SPF 100 sun protection.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen SPF 100

Price: $36.99 for a 3-ounce bottle.

It has a velvety, fast-absorbing texture that’s suitable for the scalp and face. The sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is recommended by dermatologists.

5. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive SPF 30+

Special Features of this scalp sunscreen: Blue Lizard is known for its high-quality, reef-friendly sunscreen.

Blue Lizard Australian

Price: $14.98 for a 5-ounce bottle.

This sensitive skin formula is gentle and free from fragrances and parabens. It contains zinc oxide for effective sun protection and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.

Where Can You Buy Sunscreen For Scalp?

If you are confused from where you can get your scalp buddy, then look no more! Right from affordable to high-end products- here are the best places you can grab your hands on the best scalp sunscreen.

👉 Pharmacies And Drugstores: Most local pharmacies and drugstores carry a wide range of sunscreens, including those designed for the scalp. You can find popular brands and various SPF options.

👉 Supermarkets And Grocery Stores: Many supermarkets and grocery stores have a dedicated aisle for skincare products, where you can find scalp sunscreen alongside other sun protection items.

👉 Online Retailers: Popular online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Ulta Beauty offer an extensive selection of scalp sunscreens. Shopping online allows you to compare products, read reviews, and conveniently have them delivered to your doorstep.

👉 Specialty Beauty Stores: Specialty beauty stores such as Sephora or beauty supply shops often carry a range of sun protection products, including scalp-specific sunscreens.

👉 Outdoor And Sporting Goods Stores: Stores specializing in outdoor and sporting goods may carry sunscreens designed for active individuals who spend extended time outdoors.

👉 Dermatologist: You can also inquire about scalp sunscreen recommendations and purchase options at your dermatologist’s office for expert guidance.


To sum it up, when it comes to sunscreen, we always take special care of the face and body by slathering them in the substance. However, we frequently neglect the hair shafts and roots, which also demand our full attention. For this reason, the best scalp sunscreens are designed to improve the health of your mane without causing any hassle. They have lightweight textures and powerful formulas so they won’t leave any residue on your scalp. Additionally, thanks to their convenient packaging, you can throw them in your bag and carry them with you for use while on the go. And, for this reason we have compiled this article that can change your life to spare you the misery!

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d). Sun Safety. [Online] Available at:
  2. BHATTACHARJEE, DEVANJALI, AMIT B. PATIL, and VIKAS JAIN. "A comparison of Natural and Synthetic Sunscreen Agents: A Review." International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (09752366) 13.1 (2021).
  3. Lovett, Richard D., et al. "External irradiation of epithelial skin cancer." International Journal of Radiation Oncology* Biology* Physics 19.2 (1990): 235-242.

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Samara is an expert in skincare and beauty products, offering valuable advice on skincare routines and product selections tailored to every woman’s individual needs.

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