Teams working together from opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean have made some discoveries that they feel may help people whose hair loss has been caused by severe breakage.
Hair breakage can lead to hair feeling and looking thinner, drier and more brittle than normal – and people who have been affected by it (dyes, bleaching and excessive heat styling are the most common causes) are often at pains to find a solution.
Protein to repair hair
Researchers in China and the USA set out to try and find a protein that would bind to hair and help to repair it, and were building on the research of other hair care scientists who had searched for find protein-based products with the same pH value as hair. According to reports, matching proteins have proven to be somewhat elusive, so the scientists at Jiangnan University and the University of Nebraska turned to gluten, found in wheat, and modified it.
Gluten was considered because it is so plentiful and cheap, and whilst its pH was not the same as that of hair, the experts were able to change it by soaking gluten in enzymes that broke down its proteins into their base peptides. They then added a chemical formula to make the peptides a better match for hair; this was then blended into a shampoo and tested on volunteers.
The team claims its small study was a success. In tests, researchers ran a comb through the treated hair samples and measured levels of friction. Its gluten-based shampoo, it states, resulted in 21% less friction in dry hair and 50 percent less in wet hair. On top of this, the scientists reported that when studying hair samples under a microscope, they could see newly-formed bonds in the hair, which made it less brittle and smoother.
Following up on the story, Science magazine interviewed a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine who deemed the results “inadequate”, and said they were missing key information pertaining to what type of hair was tested as well as details on the consistency of the combing force. She conceded, however, that the findings were promising.
There seems to have been an abundance of gluten-related hair stories of late: scientists recently found that processed gluten-free foods could be wreaking the kind of stress on the body that leads to certain types of hair loss. Other headlines have come from the fact that there are now gluten-free shampoos on the market. These, though, seem highly unlikely to be of benefit to people with coeliac disease as this is an autoimmune disorder rather than an allergy, and – as Coeliac UK advises – gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, it is only likely to be problematic to coeliacs if they ingest it. As such, shampoos containing gluten should not trigger a related reaction.
Expert hair advice
Whilst the majority of new Belgravia Centre clients present with hair loss of some kind, the clinics’ experts are also called on to dispense advice to people worried about the general health of their hair, especially when hair breakage is an issue.
This is where damaged hair snaps along the shaft, making it appear weak and frizzy. As it does not affect the root it is not technically a hair loss condition, it can cause hair thinning when a large amount of hair is concerned.
Breakage is usually dealt with by getting a good haircut – like Zayn Malik and Katy Perry – either having it cut shorter or having it layered or razored to shave off damaged strands at different levels without losing too much length. Additionally using nourishing, strengthening haircare products, such as protein-rich shampoos and conditioners, can help to get the hair get back into shape whilst the damage grows out. Encouraging hair regrowth is an important consideration for many who are affected.
One popular product that can be recommended by the Belgravia specialists is called Hair Vitalics – a highly-targeted premium hair growth supplement, developed by the clinics’ experts – to promote healthy hair from the inside, out. These are suitable for vegetarians and free from dairy, gluten, sugar, salt, yeast and lactose.
Whilst not intended to replace a balanced diet, Hair Vitalics offers a convenient nutritional support, with the separate formulations of Hair Vitalics For Men and Hair Vitalics For Women allowing these one-a-day tablets to be highly-targeted.
As well as being full of tailored doses of hair-friendly vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanicals, each also contains important ingredients that would not normally be found in the typical kitchen. For instance, the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein were specifically chosen for the Women’s formulation – and saw palmetto for the Men’s – due to their proven ability to reduce levels of DHT in the bloodstream.
For those with extreme breakage, hair loss treatment may be an option and it is certainly worth also having the scalp checked for signs of chemical trauma. A hair loss specialist will be able to offer advice as well as a diagnosis, on the best way to proceed – whether in person at one of Belgravia’s London hair loss clinics, or via an online consultation for those based elsewhere in the UK or abroad.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.