Solar ultraviolet protection provided by human head hair

Parisi, Alfio V. ORCID: and Smith, Don and Schouten, Peter and Turnbull, David J. (2009) Solar ultraviolet protection provided by human head hair. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 85 (1). pp. 250-254. ISSN 0031-8655

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The solar erythemal UV irradiances through human hair and the protection from UV provided by human head hair have been investigated for a solar zenith angle (SZA) range of 17 to 51 degrees for the conditions of a head upright in full sun, a head upright in shade and a head in full sun tilted towards the sun. The two hair lengths investigated were 49.1+-7.1 mm for the short type and 109.5+-5.5 mm for the long type. For the head upright in full sun, the irradiances through the hair ranged from 0.75 to 1.4 SED/h for SZA less than 25 degrees and less than 0.6 SED/h in shade. The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) ranged from approximately 5 to 17 in full sun, with the UPF increasing with higher SZA. The longer hair provided a lower UPF than the shorter hair and for the head oriented towards the sun, there was a marginally lower UPF than for the upright head. This research shows that the UV exposure limits to the scalp through hair can be exceeded within short timeframes and provides important information to assist employers to comply with Workplace Health and Safety legislation.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's Original deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive version is available at
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 21 May 2009 03:14
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: skin cancer; hair; UPF; erythema; UV
Fields of Research (2008): 02 Physical Sciences > 0205 Optical Physics > 020504 Photonics, Optoelectronics and Optical Communications
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040103 Atmospheric Radiation
Fields of Research (2020): 51 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 5102 Atomic, molecular and optical physics > 510204 Photonics, optoelectronics and optical communications
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3505 Human resources and industrial relations > 350505 Occupational and workplace health and safety
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3701 Atmospheric sciences > 370106 Atmospheric radiation
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
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