Do I Need to Put Sunscreen on My Scalp?

You might be able to get away with not, depending on your hair type, but yeah, you really should.


Anyone who recently shaved their head, or went bald, will tell you that a combination of sunscreen and hats is the only thing forestalling their dome from turning into one giant blister due to the sun blasting it with powerful radiation all day long.

But what of us who have thick mats of hair covering our scalps? Do we need to slap our heads with sunscreen, too? And how would we even go about doing that without creating a sticky tumbleweed atop our noggins? For answers, I reached out to dermatologist Anthony Rossi, who immediately said, “Sun protection is a must for the scalp. We treat many skin cancers of the scalp.”


However, Rossi also concedes that applying sunscreen to a hairy scalp can be an endeavor. “For people with hair, it’s a bit more tricky, because it’s harder to get onto the skin of the scalp,” he says, adding that, if you have too much trouble screening your scalp, you can instead just wear a hat on a regular basis, which should get the job done.

If you want to be extra careful, though, here are a few things to consider. “Dark hair is usually denser than blonde hair, so may afford a little bit more protection, but you can still burn easily,” Rossi explains. “Therefore, using a spray sunscreen on the scalp and applying cream directly to the scalp helps.” Really, just pay attention to any spots that are particularly hairless, like your part or any thin patches.

There is another option, though — but you’ll have to spend a few bucks. “There are sunscreen products made for the scalp, called sprays, mineral powders or mists,” Rossi says. These tend to be lighter than your average sunscreen and usually contain ingredients that help moisturize your strands and protect them from the sun, too.

But first, um, can anyone get my back?