Hair Growth

Hannah's Notes All About Hair Growth from Skin Actives. gives us a understanding on hair growth and how we can care for our hair.

Hair matters greatly to how we see ourselves and how others see us.

Hair is produced by live cells in our scalp, but by the time the hair sees the outside world, there are no live cells in it. Most of the actives provided by Skin Actives or anybody else can’t do much for it except for providing some extra protection. Still, “just” protecting your hair is worth the trouble because if you wear it long it may have to last for years from the time it is formed until you cut it or it falls naturally.

Hair growth begins inside the hair follicle, and the only "living" portion of the hair is found in the follicle. The base of the root is called the bulb, which contains the cells that produce the hair shaft. The hair follicle includes the oil producing sebaceous gland which lubricates the hair and the muscles responsible for causing hairs to stand-up in goose bumps.

Hair growth follows a specific growth cycle with three phases: anagen (active), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting) phases. Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the possible length of the hair. All three phases occur simultaneously; in our scalp, one strand of hair may be in the anagen (active) phase, while another is in the telogen phase. During anagen, the cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly, adding to the hair shaft. The anagen phase lasts between 2 and 7 years (for some individuals even longer), waist-length hair or longer is only possible to reach for people with long anagen.

The hair groth that is visible is the hair shaft, which shows no biochemical activity and for this reason is considered "dead", the cells formed in the hair bulb are now mostly keratin. As hair keratin is synthetized, it assembles into rope-like intermediate filaments. The structure of these filaments provides strength to the hair shaft. As determined by their amino acid sequence, the protein molecules twist to form a very stable, left-handed superhelical (a coil that coils itself into another coil) motif that assembles with other such units forming filaments consisting of multiple copies of the keratin monomer. In addition to intra- and intermolecular hydrogen bonds, keratins have large amounts of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine, required for the disulfide bridges that confer additional strength and rigidity by linking into permanent, thermally-stable super-structures.

As you can see from this summary description, keratin structure (not completely elucidated to date) makes it so resilient that will resist harsh conditions like those encountered in daily life. Hair will grow for years without noticeable damage, although UV light will bleach the melanin in the hair shaft and lighten hair after a sunny summer.

But fashion, not just in our culture but as early as humans started grooming their hair, demands that we expose hair to heat (!), bleach and dyes (!!), strong chemicals (!!!) and traction (!!!!). That’s right: these are not natural stresses but the result of treatments dictated by fashion. Still, there is no reason why these harsh treatments should affect the capacity of your scalp to produce new, healthy hair groth, unless the chemicals, heat, etc. reach the scalp and damage the cells capable of producing hair. Just try and be sensible and think that your scalp and hair have to last for many, many decades.

Conditioners contain chemicals with positive electrical charges that will cling to the hair, and these chemicals collect on the edges of the damaged scales of the cuticle, helping to smooth over and fill in the breaks and cracks. As a result the hair tends to become more manageable and shiny; proteins and dimethicone are useful in this process. Colored or “permed” hair needs extra care, and conditioners and other products can help by “patching up” the damaged hair cuticle.

Panthenol is absorbed into the hair and helps retain moisture and antioxidants will protect the hair from oxidants in the environment (although no antioxidant is a match for the strong oxidants used to modify hair color and shape). It is possible to change the shape of the hair (in a perm or hair relaxer) by denaturing keratin, using chemicals to break down the disulfide bridges that give keratin its strength, and letting the disulfide bridges re-form after the hair is given a new shape. Since perms were invented, milder and less noxious chemicals have been created to break down keratin structure and reform it in the desired shape. Strong chemicals are also used to color hair, increasing the permeability of the hair so that it can absorb the dyes; the process involves the use of strong oxidizing agents (peroxides) and alkali.

Whatever you do, try to avoid unnecessary damage to the capacity of your scalp to keep forming new hair groth, preventing the strong chemicals used in perms and coloring to come into contact with the scalp. Don’t try to “save” money on a perm or hair color, it can cost you dearly.

Shampoo is needed to clean your hair, but first, do no harm: shampoos shouldn’t contain strong detergents like sodium dodecyl sulfate that can damage the scalp by extracting structural lipids

SAS products useful in hair care and hair growth

See above for information on our shampoo and conditioner.

< >Sea kelp ultramarine, in a serum, conditioner or by itself will help with itchy scalp. Your scalp is where everything begins: healthy hair follicles will make healthy hair. Don’t try to “save” money on a perm or hair color, it can cost you dearly. If your hair follicles are already damaged, take advantage of SAS actives and pre-mixed products.

Our < >hair serum contains< > keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), a protein, in a medium that contains everything your hair follicles need: vitamins, amino acids and much more. KGF is also known as FGF-7 and heparin-binding growth factor-7 (HBGF-7) and a member of the fibroblast growth factor family, completes the serum. KGF has been found to stimulate hair growth. Chrysin and grape seed proanthocyanidins help with poor scalp micro-circulation, follicle atrophy caused by dihydrotestosterone, and follicle aging . Nutrients are included in the serum to compensate for declining blood irrigation. Most cancer fighting therapies interfere with fast cell division and they will affect hair, so if a friend or family member that will undergo this type of treatment, ask her/him to discuss with the doctor using this serum, the KGF in the serum will help retain hair during and after radiation treatment.

Our serum for gray hair contains antioxidant enzymes in a medium formulated to decrease the oxidative stress to your hair follicles and the cells that make the hair. SAS no-gray serum contains, among other actives, catalase, methionine sulfoxide reductase, phloretin and L-methionine. The objective of our no-gray serum is to prevent the loss of hair color. There is no evidence that anything can restore the original color to gray hair, but there is room for hope. If the color loss is relatively recent, the non-oxidant environment provided by our serum may prevent the death of melanocytes and allow tyrosinase in those melanocytes to do its job again.

References: Braun, Susanne, Krampert, Monika, Bodo, Enikoe, Kuemin, Angelika, Born-Berclaz, Christiane, Paus, Ralf, Werner, Sabine. (2006) Keratinocyte growth factor protects epidermis and hair follicles from cell death induced by UV irradiation, chemotherapeutic or cytotoxic agents J Cell Science, 119: 4841-4849 Danilenko, Dimitry M.; Ring, Brian D.; Yanagihara, Donna; Benson, William; Wiemann, Bernadette; Starnes, Charles O.; Pierce, Glenn F. (1995) Keratinocyte growth factor is an important endogenous mediator of hair follicle growth , development, and differentiation. Normalization of the nu/nu follicular differentiation defect and amelioration of chemotherapy-induced alopecia. American Journal of Pathology 147: 145-54.

For mor information on hair growth and products that you can by or make your self make sure you stop by Skin Actives web site.


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