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Canicule : quels effets sur les cheveux ?

Extreme Heat: What are the Consequences on Hair?

When skin is exposed to the sun, it tends to become dehydrated, which can lead to feelings of tightness. The scalp and hair fibers undergo the same challenges. Indeed, continuous or repetitive exposure to ultraviolet rays generates undesirable effects on the hair. Learn more in this article.

Published February 21, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

What is a hair composed of?

A human scalp hair fiber is composed of two main parts: the cuticle and the cortex. The cuticle is a thin protective outer sheath that surrounds the inner cortex. The largest mass of the hair shaft is the cortex, which contributes to the mechanical properties of the hair. The grains of melanin are located within the cortex and are responsible for the color of the hair. The fiber is primarily composed of keratins, a group of insoluble cystine-containing helical protein complexes that represent 65 to 95% of the weight of the hair. The remaining constituents are water, lipids, pigments, and trace elements. Disulfide bonds are also found between two amino acids, contributing to the elasticity of the hair.

The effects of the sun and heat on hair.

Sunlight exposure on human hair causes photo-degradation. This is particularly evident in the bleaching of the hair fiber due to the oxidation of melanin by free radicals, as well as an alteration of keratin. The degradation of hair proteins is induced by wavelengths of 254–400 nm. Since the cuticle protects the cortex, damage in this area usually occurs after significant damage to the hair cuticle. There is also an alteration of the hydrolipidic film that covers the cuticle, which leads to the opening of the scales and a loss of water.

Shorter UV radiations induce undesirable effects such as an increase in permeability, leading to a loss of shine and color. UV exposure involves considerable changes in the structure of keratins, including the photo-oxidation of amino acids, sterol, and fatty acids, resulting in the breaking of disulfide bonds, the decomposition of lipids, a decrease in melanin, as well as numerous micro-molecular lesions.

Generally, melanins are capable of providing photochemical protection to hair proteins, particularly at lower wavelengths, by absorbing and filtering incident radiation and then dissipating this energy as heat. This absorption capacity can be explained by the presence of a system of conjugated carbonyl groups and double bonds that capture a large portion of the radiation and also immobilize many formed free radicals. UV exposure induces a decrease in melanins which results in a reduction of the photochemical protection of the hair. The hair appears dryer and loses its color.

Provide the appropriate care.

To counteract the harmful effects of the sun on your hair, we recommend using hydrating and nourishing treatments. Our nourishing shampoo with biolipid complexes allows to intensely nourish the hair fiber without weighing it down. The biolipid complex coats and smooths the hair fiber, thus reducing the size of the scales. Camellia oil (INCI: Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil) deeply nourishes the hair without weighing it down, and squalane (INCI: Squalane) forms a protective film on the surface of the hair.

You can use this shampoo in synergy with our repairing hair mask featuring biomimetic ceramides and avocado oil, which is ideal for hair daily exposed to UV rays. The biomimetic ceramides act like cement to restructure the fiber and fill in hair scales. The mango butter (INCI: Mangifera Indica Seed Butter) repairs and prevents the appearance of split ends and reduces breakage. Avocado oil (INCI: Persea Gratissima (avocado) Oil) strengthens the roots and stimulates growth.

Furthermore, to protect your hair from ultraviolet rays, whether you're out in the city or at the beach, cover it with a hat, headband, or scarf.


NOGUEIRA A. C. S. & al. About photo-damage of human hair. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences (2006).

BARBA C. & al. Photodamage determination of human hair. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2011).


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