A running joke has developed at past hair science meetings that the hair research world comprises two camps– “The Friends of the Follicle,” whose focus resides in the biology, and “The Dead Fiber Club,” whose interest lies with the complex material science of this remarkable substrate. Both disciplines were well represented at the recent 18th International Hair Conference held on the Sept. 4-6, 2013, in Lubeck, Germany. The event was organized by the German Wool Institute (DWI) and was attended by over 150 people from 15 countries.
The first day kicked off with a plenary lecture by Rudolf Leube from the University Hospital in Aachen, Germany entitled “Keratins in Living cells.” The remainder of this first session comprised: Lutz Langbein of DKFZ with “Keratin K77 revisited: The special keratin of luminal cells of eccrine sweat gland ducts in adults with interspecies variations of expression and different intracellular location in embryonic and adult skin of man and mouse;” Andrea.Korner of DWI with “Characterisation of sphingolipids and keratins in hair of children and adults;” Nadine Dirks of DWI with “Keratin degradation products in Human Hair;” and Jolon Dyer of AgResearch with “Molecular mapping of fibre protein and lipid modification and damage”.
A second session then featured a plenary lecture by Warren Bryson entitled “Proteomic and electron tomography applications to wool and hair to gain advanced in-sights into fibre properties and behavior.” Additional lectures were as follows: Randy Wickett from the University of Cincinnati with “Gray and pigmented hairs from the same individual may differ in both temporary and permanent set;” Marina Richena of State University of Campinas with “Ultrastructural studies of gray hair;” Valerie Jeanne-Rose of L’Oreal with “3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane: A new compound stemming from sol-gel chemistry provides thin hair fiber with more volume;” and Roger McMullen of Ashland Specialty Ingredients with “Investigation of the interactions of cosmetic ingredients with hair by dynamic electro-kinetic and permeability analysis.”
These two sessions illustrated how advancements in areas such as proteomics are providing greater ability to better comprehend compositional aspects of hair, in addition to the changes that can be induced by cosmetic treatments and the environment. Especially noteworthy based on current industry trends were the investigations described by Jolon Dyer on chemical modifications that can be brought about by heat and UV.