What’s Happening in Hair Damage, Protection and Repair

Jun 1, 2014 | Contact Author | By: Robert Lochhead, PhD, and Heather Pearson, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA
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Title: What’s Happening in Hair Damage, Protection and Repair
hairx damagex copolymersx siliconesx resinsx tyrosinex tryptophanx proteinsx estersx melaninx copperx keratinsx naturalsx
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Keywords: hair | damage | copolymers | silicones | resins | tyrosine | tryptophan | proteins | esters | melanin | copper | keratins | naturals

Abstract: Hair damage from environmental and cosmetic treatments is a continuing concern. Efforts are under way to understand hair degradation and devise means to protect and repair hair from the damage. This short review is an attempt to summarize recent advances toward protecting and repairing human hair.

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R Lochhead and H Pearson, What’s Happening in Hair Damage, Protection and Repair, Cosm & Toil 129(5) 28-33 (Jun 2014)

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Hair damage from environmental and cosmetic treatments continues to be a concern. Consequently, continuing efforts are under way to understand the mechanisms of hair degradation and to devise means to protect or repair hair from damage. This short review summarizes recent advances in the quest to protect and repair human hair.

It is well-known that hair is comprised of three structural elements: the cortex, which resides in the interior of the fiber; the cuticle, which is wrapped around the exterior; and the medulla, which is a tubular region of low density that resides within the cortex region. It is also well-known that hair can be damaged by exposure to mechanical stress and abrasion from combing and brushing, oxidative stress due to UV irradiation in an oxygen-rich environment, and chemical treatments designed to perm, color, straighten, relax or bleach the hair.

For example, perming causes hair within a molecular weight range of 48 kDa and 60 kDa to lose about 58% of its protein. After such damaging treatments, it is standard protocol to use conditioners to screen the damage by improving wet and dry combing attributes, imparting a soft feel and alleviating static flyaway. However, conventional conditioners do little to restore hair strength.

Copolymers

Synthetic copolymers of styrene and acrylates can be utilized to cover damaged hair and improve shine. One advantage to using polymers as hair fixatives is that they minimize the need for more commonly employed silicones, which can compromise fixative properties. In one case, styrene, butyl acrylate, methacrylic acid and other co-monomers were synthesized via emulsion polymerization and formulated as aerosol hair spray and gel. Shine measurement, film gloss, stiffness analysis, high humidity curl retention and dynamic mechanical analysis were then used to characterize the treated hair. This method does not repair damaged hair, but instead relies on the high refractive index of latex polymers as the means of attaining gloss/luster of the polymer-treated hair.

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Figure 1. MQ resin is emulsified by sequential emulsifiers

Figure 1. MQ resin is emulsified by sequential emulsifiers

The MQ resin is emulsified by the addition of sequential emulsifiers; reproduced from U.S. Pat Application 20130295028

Figure 2. Amphipathic, self-assembling peptide

Figure 2. Amphipathic, self-assembling peptide

Amphipathic, self-assembling peptide carrying a net 2+ charge at physiological pH; reproduced from U.S. Pat Application 20140044649

Figure 3. Amphipathic peptides can self-assemble

Figure 3. Amphipathic peptides can self-assemble

Amphipathic peptides can self-assemble as fibrils, tapes, helices and rods, as represented by these straws; reproduced from U.S. Pat Application 20140044649

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