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Scalp Peeling From Sunburn: What Can You Do


There is no doubt that the sun is one of the main culprits behind never-ending terrible scalp problems. 

When it comes to scalp peeling from sunburn, not taking proper care of your scalp can aggravate the condition, but there is a solution to end this predicament.

After all, harsh sun rays can quickly deplete your scalp's nutrients, leaving it dull and damaged. Too much exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause burns. 

And, when your scalp sunburn is healing, you can experience scalp peeling; your skin may flake as it repairs itself. Scalp peeling can be in the form of dandruff, scalp flaking, and even temporary hair loss.

Table of Contents:

  • What is scalp peeling from sunburn?
  • Sunburn is a serious condition
  • What are the strong symptoms of scalp sunburn?
  • How long does scalp sunburn last?
  • Does scalp sunburn cause hair loss?
  • Is it bad to peel your sunburn?
  • How to treat scalp sunburn?

What is scalp peeling from sunburn?

The scalp gets sunburned when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays in direct sunlight, just like our skin. You may experience mild or severe symptoms, depending on the severity of the sunburn. 

What are the most common symptoms, you ask?

  • redness
  • feeling warm or hot to the touch
  • tenderness or pain
  • itching
  • small, fluid-filled blisters 

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, after exposing your skin to the sun without protection – it is safe to say that you have a sunburn. 

scalp sunburn

As with most sunburns, when it starts healing, you might experience scalp peeling. That is when the skin on your scalp begins peeling and flaking as it tries to repair itself.

Scalp peeling from sunburn is definitely uncomfortable and shouldn't be left untreated! When not taken care of, skin flaking can cause dandruff or hair loss.

However, the good news is that hair loss, and the dandruff are temporary and will disappear within a week if you take proper care of it.

Better yet, you should prevent any sunburns, and especially scalp sunburns, as they could lead to skin cancer

P.S. The UV rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Therefore, you need to protect your hair, scalp, and your whole skin from sun damage during this interval and limit sun exposure.

Sunburn is a serious condition

Sunburns are our skin’s inflammatory reaction to excessive exposure to UV rays. As you probably already know, our skin has a pigment named melanin.

It is that pigment which dictates how your skin will react when it comes into contact with the UV rays. How much melanin we have is dictated by no other than our genes. 


When we have less melanin, then our skin cells become red and swollen as a result of overexposure to the sun. 

Even though this doesn’t sound very alarming at the first glance – it is. Sunburns represent cellular damage! Not to mention that even though the discomfort, pain, redness, as well as skin flaking cease – lasting damage remains. 

Skin cancer foundation even warns that the risk of developing deadly melanoma doubles when you have a history of five burns. 

What are the strong symptoms of scalp sunburn?

As we mentioned, symptoms of scalp sunburn can be strong or mild, depending upon the heat and duration of exposure to the sun. 

When a scalp peeling from sunburn is extreme enough, the symptoms can become severe such as: 

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever

If you're experiencing severe symptoms, it's critical to get some rest, apply an effective topical treatment, and seek medical attention. 

Severe scalp sunburn is a painful condition that must be treated right to avoid further damage to the skin as well as hair.

How long does scalp sunburn last?

Usually, sunburns last between three to seven days. 

Severe symptoms usually develop within the first 48 hours, and mild sunburns to the scalp usually heal in a few days. 

Moderate sunburn lasts about five days and may cause skin peeling, whereas more severe sunburns with blisters might take up to two weeks to heal and recuperate.

Does scalp sunburn cause hair loss?

Hair loss is not usually caused by sunburn on the scalp. Due to sunburn, one may experience shedding or, biologically speaking, telogen effluvium, a process that can last several weeks. 

Ultraviolet rays can affect hair cycle changes. Inflammation can also increase shedding as a result of burns and scalp peeling from sunburn. 

However, depending on the severity, the effects should subside within 3 to 6 weeks. 

Is it bad to peel your sunburn?

Peeling off sunburn skin to remove dead skin may seem fascinating, but it is not a good idea. A

void peeling off fragments of skin if you ever get sunburn. The skin is trying to heal, and that is why you are experiencing skin peeling and flaking. 

While you may not feel any harm as a result of peeling, the peeling of a sunburn can further affect the skin and make it more prone to infection and ultimately affect the health of the epidermis and dermis.

How to treat scalp sunburn?

Take cold showers

It is recommended that you take a chilly shower to ease sunburn and avoid getting your hair wet for an extended period. Sunburns will worsen if they are washed in hot water.

Don't scratch your scalp

Bursting the blister or scratching at the peeling skin might be tempting but doing so will only exacerbate the situation. You may experience scalp peeling from sunburn but avoid scratching it as the scalp is trying to heal itself. While your scalp heals, protect it as much as you can. 

Don't use sulfates

Using sulfate-containing shampoos can cause your scalp to get even drier and irritate your skin. Avoid any products containing Dimethicone, which can clog pores and cause more harm.

Hydrate your hair with good products

As your sunburn heals, your scalp's skin will probably peel and flake. As part of your shower routine, use hydrating and clarifying shampoo and conditioner. Also, invest in a good hair oil with onion extract. Your hair needs to have a healthy, regulated scalp, which onion oil can accomplish by keeping your scalp's pH levels in check.

You can use WOW Sulphate-free hair care products!

Your scalp and hair are regularly exposed to the hot sun's rays, which cause sunburn and inflict damage. In addition to being sulfate-free, WOW products incorporate a variety of healthy and nourishing ingredients into their hair care products. 

Apple cider vinegar works as an antimicrobial agent, balancing your pH level. WOW Scalp Massager can eliminate dead skin cells and dust from your scalp. 

apple cider vinegar shampoo

WOW Activated Charcoal and Keratin Shampoo and WOW Apple Cider Vinegar are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and plant-based. No sulfates, silicone, or parabens are used in any of the products. 

It is because of their gentle make up that they are extremely suitable for the tender scalp!

Before using the shampoo, you can use Wow Skin Sciences Hair Oil. Also, throw in some essential oils in the mix!

You can’t go wrong with peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, or lemongrass oils, as they all have anti-inflammatory properties!

Check out more of WOW skin product on their website

Radhika Bhatia

I'm a content writer, copywriter, and blogger with a background in marketing, planning, and eCommerce. I specialize in beauty writing, including skincare, cosmetics, wellness, aesthetics, and health. Classically trained and idea-savvy, I love living in the present.

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