The ABCs of Summer Hair Repair

If a summer of fun in the sun has wreaked havoc on your hair, fear not

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Most of us are quick to acknowledge the need to protect our skin from the rigors of summer heat and sun. But come Labor Day a quick glance in the mirror frequently lets us know what we forgot to protect -- our hair.

Indeed, a season of exposure to sun, salt water, and chlorine chemical residues -- not to mention a few extra chemical "sun" streaks for style -- can come together to wreak havoc on our tresses. By the end of the summer, experts say hair can become so dehydrated it looks and feels nearly fried.

"From a technical standpoint, there's a protective coating on hair called the hydrolipidic film; if you have dry hair, that film is broken down somewhat anyway, when you color it, it breaks down a little more -- but when you add sun, salt water, and chlorine, you can destroy the film altogether," says Melissa Baker, national training advisor for Rene Furterer hair care products in Paris.

The end result, says Baker, is that moisture located deep in the core of the hair shaft evaporates -- and in what seems like one "poof" your "pouf" can be gone.

"Hair looks, feels, acts, and actually is, crying out for moisture," says Baker.

That means hair not only has a dry look and feel, but can also be frizzy, unmanageable, have problems holding a curl or style, and even take longer to dry. In its worst form damage causes the ends of the hair to split, and breakage can begin.