Recently, Monica Matys of Sunnybrook Medical Centre interviewed me about tips for great summer hair. A short 1 minute segment of the interview can be found in the new "Sunnybrook Says" website.

Certainly, I'm seeing lots of patients with sun damaged hair. I can spot sun damaged hair because it's lighter in color, more brittle, and lacks shine. 

When I speak of sun damaged hair, I'm really referring to the damage that occurs to the outermost part of the hair follicle called the "cuticle". Lots of things can damage the cuticle in the summer months, including chlorine, salt water, sand, hair dryers and over processing of the hair with chemicals

Here's a few tips I recommend to keep hair looking great in the summer.

1. Limit the amount of sun on the scalp by wearing a hat or scarf. This can make a big difference by the time the end of the summer rolls around.

2. Don't worry about how often you shampoo in the summer but focus on conditioning regularly. I ask some of my patients to condition every day. Conditioners protect the cuticle!

3. If an individual has a lot of damaged hair, I may ask them to use a deep conditioner once weekly.

4. Limit the amount of heat on the scalp. If a hair blower is going to be used to style the hair, then towel dry or air dry the hair about 80 % before using the hair blower to style the hair.

5. Limit the dyeing of the hair to every 8 weeks in the summer. There is good scientific evidence that chemicals make the hair even more susceptible to being damaged by the sun.

6. Get a trim often in the summer. There is only one way to deal with split ends from sun damage and that is to cut them off. Removing split ends can immediately improve the look of the hair.

These simple tips can make a big difference in what the hair looks like by the time September or October rolls around.

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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