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Patent Picks—Ethnic Hair and Skin Research, Product Development
By: Rachel Grabenhofer
Posted: September 8, 2010
Chosen biweekly by Rachel Grabenhofer, editor, for their relevance to personal care, Patent Picks are taken from publicly available sources. This edition features recently issued patents relevant to ethnic hair and skin research and product development.
Permanent shaping of hair by non-chemical means
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/096598
Publication date: Aug. 26, 2010
Assignee: (not provided)
The invention is in the field of hair styling. More particularly, it is in the field of permanent hair shaping by non-chemical means. The present invention is a hair shaping topical composition comprising one or more materials that emit or are induced to emit electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths that directly affect the disulfide (S-S) bonds in hair (a form of tertiary protein structure). However, the compositions and methods of the invention also affect secondary structure of hair proteins. The photon energies employed are well below the dissociation energy of a ground state disulfide bond. The intensity of the radiation is controlled and sufficient to break and/or weaken enough disulfide bonds, so that hair reshaping is enabled or facilitated.
The treatment may be effective on its own or as an adjunct. Such techniques are non-chemical. By "non-chemical," the inventors mean that there is no need for a user to apply a molecule that acts as a reagent or catalyst in respect of disulphide bond cleavage and reformation. Further, the authors mean that pure energy is supplied to the disulfide bonds in hair. In this way, all or most of the damage associated with chemical treatments is avoided. By supplying a radiation that is specific to and resonant with the disulfide bond, collateral damage is minimized. Also, as soon as the radiation is removed, the process of bond cleavage stops, unlike mixtures of reagents that cannot be separated, and the reaction runs until one or more reagents are exhausted.
The invention includes compositions that may be washed out of the hair after reshaping has occurred and compositions that are intended to remain in the hair for additional or extended benefits. A standard section of hair can be identified according to any set of criteria that may be of interest such as: mass of the section of hair, color, hair shape (straight or curly), ethnicity, condition (i.e. brittle or strong, limp or bouncy, dull or shiny, etc.) and so forth. Once a standard section of hair is defined, a defined amount of a composition containing a candidate material is applied to the standard section of hair and tension is applied. The tension is appropriate for the desired effect.