We all know that sunscreen is an essential product for protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. However, while it serves a crucial purpose, some of the common sunscreen ingredients can cause unintentional side effects, and one of them is hair discoloration. Here are some facts that can help you make informed choices regarding sun care products.


 The Culprits: Common Ingredients in Sunscreen

  • Avobenzone is a widely used functional ingredient in sunscreens because of its ability to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays. However, because of its tendency to break down in the presence of chlorine, commonly found in swimming pools, it can lead to a chemical reaction that discolors lighter shades, often resulting in a greenish tint.
  • Oxybenzone is effective at absorbing UVB and short UVA rays, providing broad-spectrum sun protection. Similar to avobenzone, oxybenzone also reacts with chlorine, leading to potential hair discoloration. This reaction can strip color-treated hair of its dye, causing it to fade more quickly.
  • Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are physical sunscreens that act as barriers to block UV radiation. While these two are less likely to cause chemical reactions, they can leave a white residue on the hair, making it look dull and lifeless. Over time, this buildup can also affect the color of the hair, especially if it’s light or color-treated.

Preventing Hair Discoloration

To avoid unwanted hair discoloration from sunscreen, consider these helpful tips.

Choose Sunscreen Wisely: Look for sunscreens labeled as “hair-friendly” or those specifically designed for use on hair and scalp. Opt for products with ingredients less likely to react with hair, such as those free from avobenzone and oxybenzone.

Rinse Hair After Swimming: Always rinse your hair with fresh water to remove chlorine and any residual sunscreen after swimming in a pool.

Use Protective Hair Products: Apply hair products that specifically contain UV filters. These can provide an additional layer of protection for your hair against the sun’s rays without the risk of discoloration.

Wear a Hat: When spending extended periods in the sun, wearing a hat can protect your hair and scalp from direct exposure to both the sun and sunscreen.


While sunscreen is crucial for protecting our skin from harmful UV rays, certain ingredients can cause hair discoloration, particularly when combined with chlorine. By understanding these ingredients and taking preventative measures, you can enjoy the benefits of sun protection without compromising the color (or the health) of your hair. Choose your sunscreen wisely, rinse your hair after swimming, and consider protective products to keep your locks vibrant and healthy all summer long!

Enjoy your Hair!!