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How to Protect Your Bald Head From the Sun

Being bald surely has its benefits. No more bad hair days. No more stress caused by worrying about male pattern baldness.

Now that you rock a smooth dome, you face a new adversary whenever you go outdoors: the sun's potent UV rays.

Join me as we discuss the dangers of too much sun exposure and discover tips on how to protect your bald head from the sun.

What are the potential risks of too much sun exposure?

photo of sunburn on forehead and scalp

Whether you have a full head of hair or rock your bald head with confidence, everyone should know the risk of excessive exposure to sunlight.

From skin aging, dry skin, sunburn, and worse life-threatening conditions like skin cancer.

Let's dig deeper into the more serious conditions and see why we need to level up our sun protection game.

Risk of skin cancer on bald heads

I know you're excited to show off your bald scalp outdoors, but did you know that a bald head is more prone to sun exposure, leading to precancers and skin cancers?

An article from the Skin Cancer Foundation shows that a bald scalp is more prone to precancerous spots called AKs or actinic keratoses. The risk of getting AKs gets higher if we neglect to apply sun protection whenever we go outdoors on a sunny day.

If you notice red, flaky patches with a rough texture, you most likely have AKs. The bad news is these AKs can affect the entire scalp, and 5 to 10% of them can become large and aggressive skin cancers.

If you suspect AKs on your scalp, go to your dermatologist for testing. If left untreated, AKs can become SCCs or squamous cell carcinoma, which is the most common skin cancer on the scalp.

Sunburn on bald heads

I've never had sunburn on my scalp ever since I started shaving, but I have an idea how they feel since I got sunburned on my back after a trip to the beach. Since our scalps are more sensitive compared to other parts of our body, I could imagine the pain.

Symptoms of a sunburned scalp are:

  • redness

  • dryness

  • pain

  • soreness

  • flaking and peeling

People with thinning hair or baldness usually suffer sunburned scalps at higher levels.

Remember, bald men who are overexposed to the sun are more prone to skin cancer on the scalp than the rest of the body.

We'll discuss how to treat sunburn on bald heads later.

How to protect your head from the sun?

Venturing out into the bright, sun-soaked outdoors? Here's how to shield your scalp from sunburn and fend off UV damage.

Wear a Hat

bald man outdoors wearing a cap

Hats are more than just a fashion statement. For baldies who love sunny days, they're our first line of defense against harmful UV rays and sun damage. A hat with a wide brim to cover a larger area is a good option, especially if you have thin skin. Hats often have a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating, which is similar to SPF for sunscreens. Look for summer hats with UPF 50+ for maximum protection.

You can choose different styles like fedoras, bucket hats, and caps; check out our guide on the best hats for baldies for some solid options.

My personal favorite is the baseball cap. I always wear it when Mr. Sun is shining brightly.

Not a fan of hats? Wearing an umbrella or a bandana can also give you added protection. Remember, having a force field against the sun is better than getting sunburned.

Use Sunscreen

bald man applying sunscreen

Not all sunscreens give the best protection for shaved heads. Here are tips for finding the best ones:

  • UVA and UVB rays: UV radiation is our enemy. Sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection are the best choice. These are called broad-spectrum sunscreens that feature SPF and star ratings. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor or SPF 50+ is the best for maximum protection against UVB, while a 5-star rating offers the best protection against UVA.

  • Expiry Date: Sunscreens usually last from 2 to 3 years. Read the label and ensure your purchase is not past the expiry date.

When applying sunscreen, we often fail to apply the right amount. Two teaspoons worth are the standard, applied not only to our scalp but also around our ears, forehead, and neck area. If you apply too thinly, the level of protection is reduced, so apply it generously. Don't skimp on SPF.

You must also reapply after 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin. Lastly, if you're going for a swim, make sure to get water-resistant sunscreen.

The Bee Bald Smooth Plus Moisturizer SPF 30 is one of the more popular sunscreens for bald men that you can buy, but we suggest going even stronger. While SPF 30 is the minimum sun protection you should use, SPF 50 is even better.

Seek Shade

bald man in the shade lying in a hammock

A baldie's best protection against sun exposure is to stay indoors, but if going outdoors can't be avoided, staying in the shade is the next best thing.

Did you know that sitting under a tree can lower UVR exposure by up to 75%?

If it gets too hot, look for shady areas away from direct sunlight. Your skin cells will thank you.

Stay Hydrated

bald man splashing his head with cool water

Water is your skin's best friend on hot sunny days. Drinking water not only keeps you refreshed but also keeps your scalp and skin hydrated. You can also pour water on your scalp when things get too hot out there.

How to care for a scalp with sunburn

photo of aloe vera gel
  • First, you need to get out of the sun

  • Cool your skin with a cold compress or cool shower

  • Towel dry and apply aloe vera or a soothing lotion on your scalp

  • If you're experiencing pain, take a paracetamol or ibuprofen tablet

  • Keep away from direct sunlight until your scalp heals

bald man taking a cool shower

Conclusion

Protecting your dome is a crucial aspect of bald head care. Our scalps are vulnerable since there's no hair to protect them, but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the summer sun.

A simple defense system of wearing a hat, applying sunscreen, keeping hydrated, and staying in the shade can help protect your scalp from that big orange orb in the sky.

FAQ

Is sunlight good for a shaved head?

Yes, sunlight is good for a bald head, but not too much. You'll get vitamin D, which is good for us, but you must limit your time in direct sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight between 11 am and 3 pm, which is usually the hottest time of the day.

How can I protect my scalp from the sun?

A multi-layered defense system, like we shared above, is your best protection from the sun. Hats, sunscreen for bald men, and staying in the shade are your best options against harmful UV radiation.

Should I put sunscreen on my shaved head?

Yes, sunscreen and hats should be a part of your bald style whenever you're outdoors. Don't wait until you've experienced sunburn to start applying sunscreen regularly.

Can you put sunscreen on a buzz cut?

Yes, short hair is not enough protection against sunburn and UV rays. Just ensure that you're applying sunscreen on your scalp and not just on your hair.

Can a bald head get sunburned?

Yes, a bald head is more susceptible to sunburn since there's no hair to protect the scalp from the sun's rays.

Is coconut oil good for a bald head?

Coconut oil is an amazing moisturizer but a poor sunscreen. It doesn't offer any protection against sunburns and UV rays.

How long can a bald head stay under the sun?

Everyone's skin tone is different, so answers will vary. The best way to know if you're overexposed is to listen to your skin. If your scalp feels hot or painful, it's time to seek shade.

Do black people get sunburn?

Some people still believe the myth that black people can't get sunburn. It doesn't matter if you're black, white, or purple. If you get overexposed to the sun without a hat or sunscreen, you'll get sunburn for sure.

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