Can our scalp get sunburn?

Scalp feels warm or hot to the touch? Have small fluid-filled blisters, redness, pain or itchiness to your scalp? These are just some of the symptoms of a sunburned scalp!

Our scalp is just like the skin on our body, and just like it, over exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun's ray will cause sunburn! In severe cases of scalp sunburn, you may experience:

  • Temporary hair loss
  • Thinning hair
  • Flakes
  • Dry & Frizzy hair

How to prevent scalp sunburns?

Our hair protects out scalp from the harsh UV ray of the sun to a certain extent. Those whom do not have hair or have thinning hair are exceptionally prone to to scalp sunburn.

Wear a hat

Protect your scalp from the sun, wear a hat. Not just any hat! Get a hat that is broad and covers the ear, neck and the back of your scalp.

Use UV protectors

If you have your hair shaved we highly recommend applying a high factor sunscreen of SPF50 to your scalp.

If you have thinning hair or simply want to protect your scalp, we recommend using hairsprays with UV protection. Just like the sunblock you use for your skin, remember to wash off the sunblock/ hairspray to prevent build ups.

Avoid harsh sun

If not needed, we recommend staying indoors during 11am-4pm when the sun is the harshest. If you really need to go out wear a hat or carry an umbrella.

How to treat scalp sunburns?

If you're already experiencing sunburns on your scalp, here are some home remedies for you.

Anti-inflammatory medication

Over the counter topical steroids such as hydrocortisone can be applied once-twice daily to help reduce inflammation and itching. Note: Hydrocortisone should not be used for more than 7 days without consulting a doctor. If you're experiencing a lot of pain, you can relief some pain with some over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory oral medication such as Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

Keep your scalp cool

Products with soothing properties are good for scalp sunburn. Apply Aloe Vera gel to your scalp as and when you need. Pop the bottle into the fridge for that extra coolness - it'll help a lot!

Using cold water to shower and cooling your scalp with a cold compress would help too!


When the scalp skin gets inflamed, it starts to peel and shed the dead skin cells. Moisturising helps to reduce this flakiness. Sunburned skin is particularly sensitive, so we recommend using a non-perfumed paraffin-based emollient through the day. Applying coconut oil on the sunburned area will help restore the scalp skin and relieve discomfort (beware that this may make your scalp appear oily).

Moisturising topically is important, but remember to hydrate your body internally too! Drink at least eight glass of water to help moisturise your skin inside out!

Do not pop blisters

Popping or scratching of the blisters will create open wounds on your scalp, these may risk the chances of getting infections. Allow the blisters to go away on its own.

Visit a Doctor


In severe cases when the above don't work or if you notice signs of fever and infection we strongly recommend visiting a doctor. At this stage, you probably require oral and/or topical antibiotics prescribed from a doctor.

Symptoms that require professional help:

  • Swelling
  • Pus oozing from an open wound
  • Red streaks extending from an open wound
  • Increasing/ extreme pain
  • High fever
  • Persistent headache
  • Nausea

The Conclusion

Our scalp is just like any skin on our body, it can get sunburned and requires protection from the sun. Prevention is better than treatment. Protect your scalp like you'll do for your skin. Apply sunscreen, cover it up or avoid going out under harsh sunlight.

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Sources: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8)