Do products used in cosmetics work for the hair?

Friday, 16 May 2014 - 6:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

A number of ingredients like ceramides, collagen, stem cells and antioxidants that are commonly associated with cosmetics are being featured in products for the hair. Do they work as well?

In the quest for a healthy and shining mane, a number of new products are being launched in the market on a regular basis. It has been observed that many of these are said to contain elements that are normally associated with skin care. Products with collagen, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, stem cells and so on have long been proven beneficial to plump up skin, reduce fine lines, lighten dark spots and keep skin healthy and radiant. However, recently a number of these have been seen in hair care products like shampoos and conditioners. The question remains though is of they work just as well on the mane. Copper peptides, for example is considered an effective skin regeneration ingredient and research shows it works well for the scalp too producing thicker, healthier hair. Ceramides can be effective in forming a protective coat around the hair shaft and strengthening it, while collagen helps hair hold onto moisture making it look thicker and fuller. Antioxidants are said to neutralise the free radicals preventing dullness of locks.

Tisha Kapur Khurana, beauty expert and executive director, Bottega di Lungavita explains similar ingredients can be used on the skin and hair sometimes because the scalp is covered with thicker skin similar to the rest of our body. It is a thick layer of skin with many sebaceous glands which produce oil or sebum to protect the hair. “Collagen is a protein that is found in the body and is a necessity for good health. The collagen supplements let hair grow long and strong. It increases the body's natural hair-building proteins. Moreover, if applied to the scalp, it can reduce the look and dryness of grey hair.
Even stem cells work as the hair follicles contain cells which may lead to successfully treating baldness. When buying a product you should always consider the hair type – curly or straight – as well as thick or fine and accordingly choose products,” she says.

“It is advisable not to use similar products for your hair and skin. Your skin is very tender and it needs really mild products to cleanse and clear the dirt and impurities. On the other hand, while you do need mild products for your hair as well, the shampoos and conditioners are mild but effective enough to cleanse the grime, dandruff and other impurities that get lodged in your scalp,” explains Priti Mehta, founder and director, Omved. She adds, “Standard cosmetics often include synthetic and sometimes even animal-derived ingredients. When you use natural options for your skin and hair, it is likely to help your skin feel and breathe better. Anything that has SLS, parabens, preservatives, fragrance, and colours to name a few listed on it should be avoided. “

Dr Apratim Goel, dermatologist, Cutis Skin Studio says some of these ingredients can work. “Collagen or ceramides are larger molecules which are doubtful on skin as well. However these ingredients have been used regularly in hair care products. However, there is no controlled studies of efficacy of these ingredients in hair. Stem cells and antioxidants, though, do work for hair. Stem cell injections are a regular treatment for boosting hair growth. Further, plant stem cells are available as hair serums and give good results against hair loss. Regarding antioxidants, they are very important for hair care as hair especially coloured or treated locks are very prone to damage from sun as well as chemical exposure.”

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