DOCTORING YOUR SHAMPOOS.
Hair is a remarkably strong Keratin structure, whose function is purely ‘Decorative’ & ‘Cosmetic’. It has……..Colour ………Shape, ……..Chemical & Physical properties, But NO ESSENTIAL BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION & Definitely No UV ( Sun ) Filtration Properties . Hair is able to withstand numerous insults inflicted daily. Sun, wind, rain & heat can cause ‘ weathering ‘ & drying of hair. Combing wet hair breaks the Ionic & soft Bonds of the chemical structure constituting a hair strand, thus causing breakage. So also is the case in event of rough combing, brushing & hair styling.
Properties of Hair :…..Plasticity……………..due to Disulphide bonds ……Elasticity…………….soft bonds & chemical structure ……Static Electricity……shows as ‘ Fly away Phenomenon’, ……Porosity……………. alkaline lotions increase this porosity ……Moisture content….Not much, if wet cortex, then hair tends to collapse. …….Texture………………depends on diameter of the hair shaft . ……..Colour………………racial, hereditary & on medullary shape.
Essence of healthy looking hair & a confident ‘You’ is keeping the hair & the scalp clean & disease free.
Shampoos constitute more than 50 % of the hair care & cleansing market. The estimated turnover worldwide is around $ 7 Billion. In early days shampoos were all but , ‘ Sophisticated Dishwashing Agents’ especially the medicated ones,the formulations being inferior, resulting in very poor compliance because of aesthetique reasons, irritant reactions , tangling etc. Nowadays with advanced chemical technology , chemical science & market research, we see superior formulations of ‘Complete Cocktails’, which ensure good compliance. The therapeutical industry has learnt a lot from the cosmetic world allowing for similar compliance & patient acceptance of medicated shampoos.
What is a shampoo ?
A shampoo is essentially an aqueous mixture wherein there are…. Cleansing surfactents or detergents in varying concentrations & proportions. These detergents are lipophilic ( oil loving ) and Hydrophilic ( water loving ). The lipophilic component adheres to the sebum whereas the water loving component enables us to wash away this sebum. proportionate base of Cationic & Anionic surfactents : this is important because it is the cationic base which bonds the hair together ( easy managebility ) & anionic which couteracts thus preventing matting of hair & less tangling. Amphoteric surfactents such as cocamidopropyl & sodium lauraminopropionate are non irritating to the eyes and are commonly used in baby shampoos. they foam moderately well and leave hair manageable making them a good choice for chemically treated & fine hair. Functional additives…….for p.h, viscosity, lustre etc Preservatives Sequestering Agents…….if these agents are not used then shampoos would leave a ‘scum’ on the hair similar to hard water ring found in bathtubs, making hair dull & lustreless. Aesthetique additives…..perfumes, colour etc Therapeutic additions……ketoconazole, zinc salts,selenium sulphide, cetrimide etc.
Functions of a shampoo.:
Cleansing the hair & scalp. They are intended to remove sebum, sweat components, ‘dead skin’ layers & environmental grime deposited on the hair and scalp. here it is important to note that, ‘It is not detrimental or harmful in anyway to shampoo hair daily’.
a) specific ….e.g Psoriasis, Seborrheic dermatitis etc
b) cosmetic….in the course of treatment, changes in the scalp.
How effective a shampoo is, depends on:
……Ease of distribution i.e how easily you can slather it over your hair, How easily you can Lather it over your hair…….Foaming types are better for compliance though there is no direct relation to foaming & cleansing, It is purely a cultural phenomenon. Foaming agents in the shampoo introduce gas bubbles into yhe water. As the shampoo cleans the hair, the foan combines with the sebum and is reduced in amount thus less foam is present on the first shampoo. As this is rinsed away the sebum is lessened & the second shampooing results in more foam !
……Ease of rinsing it out of your hair
……Ease of combing wet hair after a shampoo without breakage…..essential for todays fast life ! Lustre Speed of drying hair, post shampoo Ease of combing & setting ‘dry’ hair. Conditioners are basically cationic agents which coat the hair surface lending it a lustre, bond the hair to decrease the ‘fly away’ look , along with anionic agents, reduce tangling of the hair making it easier & smoother to comb with less breakage even in a wet state ! add body to thin hair…..albeit temporarily . Since hair is adead tissue, reconditioning that occurs after shampooing is minimal & temporary till the next wash. Conditioners increase the hair gloss by smoothening the hair shaft. Glossiness is the result of light reflected by each hair shaft !
In keeping with todays demands we have shampoos which combine conditoners, non fragrant ones, hypoallergic ones & not in the least ph controlled ones! ph balanced , a very common advertising claim, what does it mean ? Most shampoos are alkaline, which can swell the hair shaft rendering it susceptible to damage. Though this is not seen in cases of normal healthy hair, damaged, permed, coloured & diseased hair types benefit by using a ph balanced shampoo. these prevent swelling of hair shaft by addition of acids to balance the ph. An acidic ph is also a better scalp environment !
Additives such as wheat germ oil, panthenol are added mainly for marketing purposes. They claim to leave hair silky & manageable. How much stays on the hair & what is washed down the drain is ones own guess ! To speak of oily, dry & normal hair shampoos, the normal hair ones incorporate good cleansing with minimal conditioning. These are good for adults with minimum sebum production & coarse hair. for fine hair ,dry hair shampoos are used, which have a minimum cleansing & a good conditioning. This reduces static electricity & increases mangeability. Too much conditioning will cause ‘ limp’ hair. Oily hair shampoos have excellent cleansing & minimal conditioning properties. If used daily they can dry out the hair shaft.
Taking their cues from the cosmetic world ,pharmaceuticals have made excellent advances in formulating shampoos. The advantages are , these shampoos are of high qualitative standards & any claim made by the pharmaceutical needs to be explained satisfactorily to the doctors. These products ensure the best of both worlds to the patient……reliable treatment & cosmetic aceptibility. Leading cosmeto – pharmaceuticals in shampoos are ‘ Hair Science Shampoos’ by Ego, Seba med, Mustela, Numis Med, Ducray, Johnsons, Lutsine, Gentinor, Eubos etc whereas cosmetic section is predominantly Wella, Revlon, Pantene, Sunsilk, Silvikrin, St Ives etc In my practice I do need to advise a lot on what shampoo to use & find it helpful if representatives promote hese products so that I can discuss the contents & their basis of use !
Also seen nowadays is the latest trend of Plant or herbal shampoos. They claim to be natural, but then how do they preserve, and how do they lather ? Last but not the least we come to shampoos containing therapeutic agents for treatment of diseases like Psoriasis, seborrhea & Dandruff. Agents used are either fungicidal or keratolytic ( anti scaling ). Leading brands include Nizoral, Selsun, Head & Shoulders, Skin Cap, Neutrogena Tar &/or Salicylic preparations etc. In some instances, a shampoo alone is more than sufficient to clear the problem. Conversely during the course of a certain treatment we require to use a shampoo with certain specifications to obtain a good treatment result. Latest trend is usage of Pine tar or cosmetic tar preparations which is more acceptible to the patient & as effective. The preparations that come to fore are Phytocoltar, Mark Birch Shampoos & Hair Science Shampoos. The Phyto range boasts of an ideal combination of plant derivatives & chemicals whereas Dr Mark Birch formulates shampoos as per regional requirements. The Hair Science Shampoo range promotes then as truly good cleansers & conditiners which benefit hair to the maximum, a claim which is well substantiated !
The other class of therapeutic shampoos are those used to minimise Hair loss. Most of these shampoos come as a combination therapy to be used with their corresponding treatment lotion e.g Lutsine Anti Hair Loss from Boots , Regaine from UpJohn,Phytopolleine from Phyto , NeoBio & Eccrine.
Few points to end:
……Shampooing your hair everyday is not harmful, infact it may reduce your dandruff & hair fall.
……Shampoos do not cause ‘Greying’.
……Changing of shampoos is not to ‘surprise’ hair but to prevent a build up of certain constituents on the hair shaft.
Choose the right shampoo & you can wash away your’ Hair blues’ !