Did you spend Labor Day at the pool or at the beach? I did, but as a fair-skinned individual I made a crucial mistake while snorkeling: not putting suncsreen on my head. As a result, I now have a bright red scalp that burns like hell. What can you do if the top of your head is sunburned – besides investing in hats, of course? These five tips will help you on your way toward recovery.
- Use a moisturizing shampoo.
Skip your volumizing or clarifying shampoos right now and focus on moisturizing – think of it as lotion for your head. “Pureology Hydrate Shampoo may be good,” says Amber Katz of Beauty Blogging Junkie. “It’s mentholated so it might ease the burn. Also, Carol’s Daughter Monoi shampoo and conditioner are really hydrating, but aren’t good if your hair is not dry.”
- Move your part.
If you, like me, got sunburned along your part, try to part your hair elsewhere for awhile. That won’t make the burning and flaking go away, but it will help prevent that part of your hairline from getting more sun damage in the meantime. You should also refrain from any hairstyle that pulls your skin tighter. If possible for your hair type, finger brush your hair or use a brush with softer bristles. The less you can irritate your already-irritated scalp, the better.
- Put aloe on it.
A sunburn on your head is like a sunburn on any other part of your body, so aloe will definitely help soothe it. However, since I have fine hair that tends to get greasy, I was wary about putting aloe on my hair. The solution: I put it on at night after I got home and left it on until the morning, when I took a shower. Even having it on for a small amount of time is better than nothing at all.
- Do not use products for people with dandruff.
Though a peeling scalp may look like a scalp with dandruff, it’s not. Dandruff shampoos will actually make you feel worse, because they don’t moisturize. Avoid products aimed at eliminating dandruff, as many of them contain acidic compounds that will inflame your skin even more.
- Keep your hands off.
If your scalp is itchy, it’s normal to want to scratch it. But don’t give in to temptation. Scratching your scalp or trying to peel it will ultimately do more harm than good. If your sunburn is peeling, let it do so on its own and don’t think that scratching or pulling will help the process along. Your nails will inflame and irritate the burn. Basically, scratching at a sunburn is akin to popping a zit – might feel good in the short term, but will do your skin damage in the longer term.