As I'm scratching at my now faded sunburn, starting to peel away, and waiting for the 90º weather to take another punch at me today, I'm reminded of the fact that I really do need to protect myself better. As funny as it may seem, there was a period in my life when I burnt the top of my head regularly along my part lines. And now that I have a little girl who very often wears her hair with many parts, I really do have to pay more attention to sun exposure in a place I often think about the least.
Okay, no laughing. But yeah, this was me back when I used to surf. Or pretend to surf. Or something like that. Unlike the images most people have of surfer chicks, I absolutely could not stand having my long hair (down to my waist) loose while I was in the water. I hated coming up for air and looking like Cousin It from The Addams Family, struggling to form a space where there wasn't hair or water just to take a breath. So while surfing I always put my hair up in two braided ponytails. You might think I figured out, after getting my part line sunburned the first time, that applying sunscreen was necessary. But nope. Thinking that "next time will be different" was my motto at the time. Remember, this was me a long time ago. I've learned how to do things differently in my older, wiser years.
Not! Yeah, the above photos are of me from Easter weekend. You can see my sunburn on the left side and a part on a different section of my scalp on the right side. I got fried. What makes getting burned on the parts easier are: Oil, water, and parts where the hair is really flat on the head (i.e., less fuzzy), thus exposing more skin area.
Thankfully, Boo has only had her parts burn once (I know, my bad). Most of the time I remember to address the issue before we do a beach/sun/water/sprayground trip. Many of you reading this are probably shaking your head as this has never happened to you. Be thankful. For both Boo and I, it's a reality with which we have to deal.
The easiest way to avoid sunburns it is a hat. As you can see, Boo has no problem wearing hats while playing in the water. She's used to it. They also keep the sun off her face while she's playing, which she appreciates. So wearing a hat makes both Boo and Mama happy.
The other way that I will try to deal with it is by gathering her hair up into a ponytail. Our summer style is usually box braids or yarn extensions, which means that Boo's head is normally covered in parts. But gathering all of them up to the top of her head in a ponytail helps hide the parts from the sun, so I've never had a problem with them getting burned that way.
For myself, I will actually put sunscreen on my head along the part line. Having experience in doing this, I know first-hand that it did a number on my hair, drying it out. And I could shower when I got out of the water, using soap to wash the otherwise "waterproof" stuff off my hair. I don't really have that option with Boo's hair, so I've just avoided using sunscreen on her part lines all-together.
So as you can see, this is not an issue that is exclusive to chocolate hair. In fact, the fairer the skin, the more likely the parts will burn. However, the loose hairstyles and/or frequent ponytails of vanilla hair tends to lend itself to less burns. And chocolate hair tends to frizz or kink up when wet, which also protects it. But having experienced first-hand the pain of the part-line sunburn, when Boo's sporting fresh parts, all nicely oiled and shining in the sunlight, you bet I'm gonna cover those puppies up if there's any chance of her tender little head getting burned!