In tropical region like India, and especially in Summer, hair is to be protected from the harsh Sunlight. Free Radicals over the scalp can get triggered. Secondly, greying can get speeded up. With widely prevalent excess shampooing and loose dry hair style, there is already inadequate protection to the scalp. This indulgence coupled with harsh sunlight, can worsen the health of hair and skin / damage the hair. Know the relevant scientific details to review hair / skin care.
The Power of Sunlight - uncontrollable factor.
The Sun's Radiant Energy falling on the Earth is nearly sufficient to run all the machines on the Earth for one Year, if only it can be stored for just 5 minutes. If one goes within 10 Million Miles [or Kilometres] of the Sun, one will get burnt. [the exact distance is irrelevant] That is the power and magnitude of Sunlight.
Sunlight falls directly over the head between 11 AM to 3 PM in India. Farmers do not normally work during these hours but the educated City men do. In India, over 1000 people die every year due to Sun Stroke during the Summer months, when the day time temperature crosses 42* Centigrade / 107 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Benefit of Black colour
In Radiation Physics, an Ideal Black body is a Theoretical Object that absorbs all the Radiant energy falling upon it and emits it back in the form of Thermal Radiation. If that is clear, let us check some available options
Black colour is a body’s natural protection against Sunlight. That is why People in Tropical Countries have black / brownish bodies and black hair. The skin produces Melanin, the Black skin pigment, as a protection against Sunlight. The epidermis of people living in hot Tropical climates also thickens up a bit to provide further protection.
People who work outdoors like farmers have Black skins. Under the influence of the Sunlight, their bodies produce more Melanin. People from the same region, who work indoors / say housewives, may have less Blackish outer skin.[10% of the Australians have skin problems – read perhaps in a Dermatology book. Their skins have not yet adjusted enough to withstand the harsh / hot climatic conditions that prevail in some parts of Australia. Though several generations have passed since their forefathers got sent there from Britain, a cold climate country. The native aborigines do not face such skin problems]
Sunlight triggers Free Radicals - uncontrollable factor.
"Free Radical" means an unpaired or a single, free Electron. It is an unstable, hyperactive agent. This can damage the DNA, the nucleus of the Cell, the building block of the Body. Lot of Free Radicals float above the Scalp. UV light triggers Free Radicals reactions.
The Long Chain Fatty Acids / Vegetable Oils is one tested protection for the hair - it may not be good as Ceramides but it is better than frying the hair in the Sun. That is what Indians did for ages
Effect of Ultra Violet Rays - uncontrollable factor
Sunlight contains Ultra Violet rays as well, besides the visible spectrum of light. UV rays are not safe. The wavelengths of the UV rays are between X rays and the Visible Light. The UV Rays are subdivided into 3 bands, as A, B and C. The wavelength of these UV Rays is
UV Band: Wave length and impact
X Rays Below 254 mm pierces the body
UV - C Range 254 - 290 mm Can affect the Eyes and cause Cataract
UV - B Range 290 - 320 mm Can cause Wrinkles on the skin; Damage the basal cells
UV - A Range 320 - 360 mm Can penetrate below the Dermis; cause Sagging
Visible light is above 360 mm
The Ozone Layer prevents the entry of B and C rays. But there is now a huge hole in the Ozone layer. Through that hole, B and C band rays are now entering some parts of Australia and New Zealand. There is no easy immediate solution to fill the hole in the Ozone layer.
We have to take into account the above uncontrollable factors and accordingly take care of the hair. It cannot be the other way around. That is why I say in another note that dry hair style is suicidal in Tropical / Indian climates.
Precautionary, safe steps
1. Nowadays many people, including ladies, do not apply oil or cream on the hair. They leave the hair dry / unlubricated. The hair and the Scalp gets fried in the Sun / left unprotected. The Hair floats as the bottom end is untied.
This indulgence can be unscientific and counter productive haircare. For above reasons, application of Coconut Oil is necessary in tropical / Indian climate. [many popular Indian hair oils contain liberal percentage of Mineral Oil. So, Coconut Oil is a better option]
2. We do clothe ourselves even in the hot Indian Summer. This is the best and easily available, proven protection against Sunlight. The multilayered coiled soft cloth / turban on the head is a better option in the hot Sun. That is what Villagers / farmers do.[In Ahmedabad, many girls in their teens, mostly use jeans and top. From April to June / till the rain starts, the dress code would change. The forgotten dupatta would get a fresh lease of life. Almost all would cover their heads totally leaving open, only the eyes. They react on their own because of the head. Yet they forget the hair–it protests in its own way. The cause is not normally analysed. One other advantage is that the ladies in 2 wheelers cannot be caught by the traffic policemen]
3. A black coloured umbrella is also a nice protection in the hot Sun. It is very unfortunate that people in Cities like Ahmedabad do not use it.
4. Some people may have the mistaken notion that SPF creams may offer protection because of the bombardment of misleading claims in TV. I do not think it is safe to rely on SPF creams for the skin, for the reasons stated below.
What is SPF?
SPF means Sun Protection Factor. There is no 100% Sun Protection Cream. Unless specified, these creams offer limited or nil protection for the 'C' band. The SPF number mentioned refers to UV- B light only. SPF 30 does not mean double the power of SPF 15
Misguidance / Misrepresentation
Some advertisers show on TV, female models going out in the Sun, with SPF 15 to 40 Creams. The models say that they are adequately protected. I recollect having seen one TV ad where the model deriding one for using an umbrella.
All such claims are reckless misguidance. As these creams cannot give full / 100% protection, whatever the number be, it is not protective enough. Our dress gives more meaningful Sun Protection than SPF cream. This crucial basic point is overlooked by those who get trapped in shallow words
Transliteration of a Tamil proverb: You cannot jump half a well.
SPF 15, 20, 30, 40 and so on are superficial talking points. A tree shade or umbrella may give better protection than a SPF cream.
Limitations of Sunscreen Lotions
1. This news is from one issue of an Internationally known, weekly magazine. As per a 1994 news, some people applied SPF creams / Sunscreen lotions on their bodies and sun bathed in a California beach. 4 persons who exposed themselves for over 30 minutes, died. Since then, it is compulsory in America to declare on the lables that the cream may give some protection for 30 minutes or less and it is not advisable to expose oneself for long and suffer Sun Stroke.[ In India, over 1000 die every year due to Sun stroke. Despite that, there is no warning / caution in the labels of SPF creams. Some people pick up their expertise from advertised claims]
2. I recollect having read somewhere that for a Sun Protection Cream to be effective, about 35 gms has to be applied over the complete body once in 4 hours. And it should be 3 applications per day.
Most Indians may use these SPF creams and Fairness Creams just for the face. Such application is totally insufficient. The feeling of protection against Sun is baseless and misplaced.
Economical, safe and better Protection
A foldable Black hat like the ones that are used in Convocations in Academic Institutes is a very good product for use in Summer. It would not disturb / dislocate much the groomed hair. It can be made very convenient and handy. Wish someone makes it at affordable prices.
Use oil to protect the hair and the head. It is a start