The significant damage that sunlight can cause to the skin is well known, but its effect on scalp and hair growth is not often discussed and hence is little known. The hair follicle, a component of a layer of the skin – the dermis, is susceptible to damage caused by many factors, among which the most prominent and frequently encountered is UV light exposure. The constant exposure to UV light and the resultant damage to the hair initiates the process of hair ageing, which is defined as the degradation of the hair from the root to the tip. A damaged hair falls easily and thus, the end result is hair loss.
What does sunlight do to the hair?
Sunlight causes the hair to become thinner and pale, and lose its softness and shine. It modifies the cosmetic property of the hair shaft. On a molecular level, a chemical reaction, known as photochemical degradation of the hair, occurs. The sunlight attacks both the hair pigment and protein. The physical as well as chemical changes adversely affect the hair quality and slow down or even halt the growth.
• The physical changes: Physically, the hair becomes rough, dry, less tensile, stiff and there is a lack of pigmentation.
• The chemical changes: The chemical changes comprise of biochemical degradation of proteins and lipids (two very important building blocks of hair fibres), eventually causing surface roughness and reduced mechanical strength. The hair colour is maintained by the hair pigment cells, namely melanin, and chromophores. When exposed to the sunlight, these pigment cells absorb the energy radiation in order to protect the hair protein. The pigments, however, are bleached or degrade in the process. With time, the pigment cell reserves of the hair exhaust, and that is when the change in the hair colour becomes apparent. This is how normal hair is damaged by the sunlight, but unfortunately, the damage is not merely confined to the hair shaft.
How does sunlight damage the scalp?
In addition to damaging the hair, the sunlight increases the sensitivity of the skin, especially when it is damaged or its continuity is broken. It interferes with the healing mechanism and can sometimes make the wound worse. Similar things happen when scalp skin is exposed to sunlight. The chromophore cells (pigment cells) present in the skin help prevent sun damage. In transplant procedures, these cells go dormant or die sometimes. The reactivation of chromophores can take several months, so the skin is left out without any protective mechanism. The transplanted skin, therefore, is highly vulnerable to sun damage. Being a component of the skin, hair follicles are equally prone to be damaged by sunlight. Damage to the hair follicle can cause reduced hair growth as well as hair fall.
Sunlight and post-transplant healing
In a hair transplant, the skin is moved with several layers. The surface layer heals relatively quicker while the deeper tissue that contains hair follicles needs more time. When exposed to the sunlight, the healing mechanism is affected and failure of a hair transplant may result. Therefore, post-operative hair protection from the sunlight should be given for at least four months to avoid this from happening.
It is, therefore, very important to care for your hair and scalp postoperatively in order to achieve the best results.
Baruch Hair Loss Clinic – Offering the Best Results
Why Choose Baruch Hair Loss Clinic?
Baruch Hair Loss Clinic located in the United Kingdom is an advanced treatment clinic for all kinds of hair loss problems. With over 18 years of experience, we assure you the most comfortable experience and the best post-operative results. One of the reasons to consider our clinic for hair transplant is its location that allows better post-operative hair care. The weather in the UK is perfect for hair recovery after a transplant. To learn more about hair care and transplants click here.