Blistered, Peeling, Itchy Sunburned Scalps and Hair Loss

A sunburned scalp is not a common condition and the vast majority doesn’t know that it can happen. Sunburn is a typical issue particularly amid hot summer days. In any case, the vast majority who appreciate getting tanned when the sun is at its most noteworthy don’t know about the risks it brings.

Subsequent to slathering a lot of sunscreens everywhere throughout the skin, it can be exceptionally astounding to discover that the uncovered scalp can get sunburned.

Despite the fact that the scalp is secured by a considerably by your hair, it is inescapable to get it sunburned in the wake of being out for a really long time.

This is on the grounds that the scalp is still a part of the human skin and can be sunburned especially for those with no hair or those with thin strands of hair.


Subsequent to remaining out under the sun for a really long time, there is a probability that the UV Rays have effectively harmed the scalp. You will be able to know if you suffered from this issue by looking at some of the side effects or symptoms such as:

  • Redness
  • The irritating sensation felt everywhere throughout the scalp, particularly affected areas.
  • Flakiness
  • The scalp turns red following 2-6 hours of uncovering it under the sun.
  • For extreme instances, you may have a fever and chills.
  • Peeling and blistering in extreme cases

Can sunburn on scalp cause hair loss

A bad case of sunburn is worse for already thinning hair and can even speed up hair loss. This is because the damage to the scalp and follicles is cumulative and progressive, meaning the harmful effects pile up over time due to continued oxidative tissue damage.

UV light injures normal skin cell structure and depletes the natural oils in the scalp, making hair appear frizzy as a bad perm. The best way to avoid the hair-harmful effects of prolonged, unprotected sun exposure is to wear a brimmed hat or cap.

A good quality sunblock lotion with a high SPF rating also provides a degree of protection. If you’re concerned about hair loss, talk to your qualified hair restoration surgeon to learn more about hair replacement options, or how to protect against further hair loss.


Sunburned scalp peeling is quite a common condition that accompanies the healing process and should not be a cause for concern. You might get enticed to scratch off the flaking and peeling skin, but you shouldn’t as that lead to further harm and sometimes infection.

Rather, keep the scalp well moisturized with a gentle shampoo and conditioning products and soothe the inflation and itching with aloe Vera spray, sap or gel, apple cider vinegar, or green tea rinse. OTC anti-inflammatory medications, e.g. ibuprofen and acetaminophen, may also assist.


The appearance of blisters is mostly an indicator of more serious (second degree) sunburn. These usually occur from harm to the lower layers of the skin, unlike the more common first-degree one which only afflicts the tops layer of the skin.

According to research done by some experts, it is recommended never to pop or pick on those blisters. If they however burst open, you should consider applying an over-the-counter antibiotic cream such as Bacitracin or Polysporin.

Treatment remedies

Several home remedies for a sunburned scalp can speed your recovery and, in some cases, prevent peeling and blistering. These remedies include:

1. Green Tea

According to the book “Bargain Beauty Secrets,” a green tea rinse can work wonders for a sunburned scalp. The tea can ease the stinging pain and is especially helpful within the first 24 hours. To make a green tea rinse for your hair, pour boiling water over a green tea bag and let the solution steep for five to 10 minutes.

Remove the teabag, place the cup of tea in the refrigerator and allow it to cool until it’s lukewarm. Wash your hair as usual, using a very gentle shampoo and conditioner. Pour the tea over your damp hair and massage it into your scalp. Do not rinse it out. Green tea also offers the bonus of giving your hair shine.

2. Aloe Vera

Although applying aloe Vera to your scalp can be sloppy, it will cool the burn and prevent peeling. Wash your hair with lukewarm water and dry it with a towel until it’s just damp.

Gently massage about 2 tsp. of an aloe Vera after-sun gel or the sap from the center of an aloe Vera leaf into your scalp and allow it to soak it for 30 to 60 minutes. Rinse your hair with cool water.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar’s acid content draws the sting out of your sunburned scalp, making it easier to bear when it’s still fresh. Make a mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and one part water.

Wash your hair using a gentle shampoo and conditioner, then pours the apple cider rinse over your head. Leave the rinse in your hair. You can repeat this treatment up to twice daily until your sunburn has sufficiently healed.

How to fix or repair the damage

If the scalp is unprotected and exposed to harmful UV rays, medical conditions like sunburn and skin cancer can occur. The following are steps on how to repair the sunburn damage:

Step 1

Apply sunblock to the scalp each time you expose the hair to UV rays. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. There are brands specially formulated for the hair and scalp, like Banana Boat Quick Dry Sport, Body and Scalp Sunblock Spray. The sprays are non-greasy and will protect it from any further damage.

Step 2

Minimize sun exposure with hats. Along with sunscreen, hats can protect the scalp and hair from damage.

Step 3

Cool a it with a lukewarm shower. Use a specially formulated after sun shampoo and conditioner. These products are mild and can moisturize the scalp and hair.

Step 4

Remove peeling with a vinegar rinse. If your scalp starts to peel as the sunburn heals, remove residue by rinsing in the shower with white vinegar. Dandruff shampoos can be used to minimize peeling from the scalp as well.

Step 5

Ask your hairdresser to perform a spot check on your scalp. If you go to the same hairdresser regularly, she may notice if you have any new spots or moles that were not there previously. Contact your doctor to examine any spots and growths found on the scalp.