Revitalise & Heal chemically damaged hair with Ayurveda: the Krya Damage Repair Hair revitalising Hair Oil

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Frequent chemical treatments tend to damage hair. Stylists and trichologists tell us that we can only cover up the damage, but cannot heal hair. But, when we understand the “hetu” or cause of damage, and treat it holistically, we can solve even the unsolvable. This post will examine how we can heal chemically damaged hair through the wisdom of Ayurveda.

Imbalances seen in Chemically damaged hair

Chemically treated hair usually exhibits a few characteristic imbalances. Pitta and vata dosha of the hair system is aggravated and imbalanced. This explains the use of adjectives like “fried”, “dry like straw”, “Rough and lifeless”, “texture like hay” to describe chemically damaged hair.

Chemially damaged hair has imbalanced vata and pitta dosha. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Pitta imbalance in chemically damaged hair is caused by the use of high heat and heat aggravating chemicals. This dries out the hair strands and damages the sebum balance in the scalp. So hair thins faster, greys prematurely and the scalp is dry, itchy and irritable.

Vata imbalance is also high in chemically damaged hair . This due to the drying nature of heat and chemical treatment. This in turns slows down sebum production in the scalp and cuts off supply of nutrients to the hair follicle. This results in dry, parched scalp and coarse, rough, straw-like hair strands.

Heat & chemical treatments imbalance sebum i hair making it dry, coarse and lifeless. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Scalp damage and change in hair texture and growth patterns

Chemical damaged hair goes with a damaged and toxin filled scalp. The pitta and vata imbalance in the hair results in slower hair growth. The scalp is also unable to support the growth of long hair duet to a weak supply of nutrients. The new hair that grows is usually much thinner, weaker, much more liable to breaking and usually much shorter than the original length.

Chemically damaged hair looks much older and ages rapidly. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

The Krya Damage repair hair oil – an ayurvedic oil that heals chemically damaged hair

 

Krya Damage reapru hair system revitalizes and heals chemically damaged hair.

 

Ayurveda lists keshya (herbs meant for hair care) into 3 categories: Keshya “sanjana” (to help hair originate or form), Keshya “vardhana” (to promote hair length and growth), and Keshya ranjana (to restore natural hair colour, improve hair darkness and delay hair greying).  A lot of attention is paid in Ayurveda to reduce excess pitta from building up on the scalp. This is because as we have mentioned, the brain and the eyes are both originators of heat and this heat tends to accumulate on hair and scalp. When this excess pitta energy builds up in the hair, it accelerates hair greying.

In Chemically damaged hair, there is already a build up of excess Pitta energy: so the use of Keshya Ranjana herbs helps bring down this imbalanced Pitta dosha.

The result: hair thinning and premature greying is slowed down.

Krya uses ayurevdic herbs that balance aggravated pitta in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

We use Keshya Vardhana herbs to reduce teh vata aggravation in the hair, and imporve hair length, hair thickness and improve hair’s texture.

The result: Hair is glossier, softer, smoother and is able to support growth of long hair

Krya’s damage repair hair oil,also uses scalp detoxifying and clarifying herbs . These herbs stimulate blood circulation, help remove toxins and revitalise the hair system.

Krya damage repair hair oil: ingredients

In the current formulation of the Krya Damage repair hair oil, we used 25 different forest collected and organic herbs, fruits, vegetables and cold pressed oils to help nourish, detoxify and heal chemically damaged hair. We have listed the properties of a few of these herbs below.

Beetroot : detoxifies scalp, stimulates hair growth in chemically damaged hair

The beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is a healing organic vegetable that goes into the Krya Damage repair hair oil. The roots and leaves of Beetroot have been used in traditional medicine across the world from ancient times to treat a variety of disease.

Krya uses organic beetroots to detoxify the scalp in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Beetroots are a very rich source of betains (the red and yellow pigment group) and carotenoids. This combination of coloured pigments has good anti inflammatory and detoxifying effects when consumed internally and also on topical application. Biotin supplements are now currently a range and are being prescribed for severe hair loss. Beetroot is a good source of bio available biotin and folate, and pantothenic acid (vitamin b5).

Beetroots , when added to the Krya Damage repair hair oil, help detoxify the scalp and stimulate high quality hair growth.

Krya tip: Please include organic beetroots atleast twice a week into your diet to help detoxify the system internally and improve bio-available biotin in your body.

Ashwagandha: promotes thicker and fuller hair growth in chemically damaged hair

Ashwagandha is the Ginseng of Indian medicine. It is a famous rejuvenative, growth promoting and aphrodisiac herb. The herb is prescribed to build general immunity, for its anti aging (rasayana) effects and to build strength and well being in the body.

Krya uses Ashwagandha to improve hair quality and growth in chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

 

In the Krya Damage repair hair oil, Ashwagandha is used to detoxify the scalp and promote healthy growth of hair. The use of Ashwagandha helps promote thicker, fuller and faster hair growth in chemically damaged hair.

Brahmi: improves hair texture of chemically damaged hair

We have written many times about the healing power of this tiny, power-packed amazing Ayurvedic herb. Brahmi is an important herb to nourish the brain and is used in Ayurveda to help children’s brains develop well and also in elderly people to support the nervous system and to retard diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Krya uses Brahmi to improve the strength, health and gloss of chemically damaged hair. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

Brahmi is a critical hair care herb which we use in oils like the Krya harmony hair oil and the Krya kids hair oil. In both these oils, we use a high proportion of Brahmi to reduce stress and to support the function of the young, growing brain.

Brahmi is very useful in the Krya Damage repair hair oil to reduce high Vata, and to improve hair texture and growth.

 

Besides these 3 herbs, the Krya Damage repair hair oil uses the following herbs, vegetables, fruits and cold pressed oils:

Krya uses 25 ayurevdic herbs, fruits, vegetables and organic oils to formulate teh Krya Damage repair hair oil. Find out how you can heal chemically damaged hair.

 

  1. Guduchi (forest collected)
  2. Khadira (forest collected)
  3. Liquorice (forest collected)
  4. Manjishta (forest collected)
  5. Nutgrass (forest collected)
  6. Rosemary (organically grown)
  7. Ram Tulsi (organically grown)
  8. Amla (organically grown)
  9. Bottle gourd (organically grown)
  10. Banana Stem (organically grown)
  11. Bhringaraj (organically grown)
  12. Moringa (organically grown)
  13. Almond (organically grown)
  14. Hibiscus flower (organically grown)
  15. Henna (organically grown)
  16. Curry Leaf (organically grown)
  17. Castor Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  18. Kokum Butter (cold pressed and organic)
  19. Coconut Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  20. Sesame Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  21. Tamanu Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  22. Apricot Oil (cold pressed and organic)
  23. (cold pressed and organic)

To sum up: Heal Chemical damage naturally

Over processed hair and chemically damaged hair is hard to care for. You are told that you cannot fix or treat this hair and asked to invest in more and more damaging chemical treatments to mask the way your hair grows. Instead, Ayurveda provides a true holistic ray of hope. We hope this post gave you a glimpse of how Krya thinks about, researches and formulates products for you. we also hope this post inspired you to seek out solutions to help holistically heal chemically damaged hair.

If you too have chemically damaged hair and would like to try out our natural solutions, please explore the links given below. In case you have any queries on the same, please write to us.

Krya’s products to heal chemically damaged hair:

Krya Damage Repair hair mask to heal and revitalise over processed, chemically damaged hair

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to help you STOP further damage:

Krya's all natural , healing hair colour that colours and nourishes hair and scalp.

 

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Krya Formulation update Tuesdays: a better oil for dry, frizzy hair

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Rupert Baxter, that quintessential suspicious secretary in PG Wodehouse’s Blanding’s Castle series was often said to be generally suspicious of everything and everyone. I often find myself invoking my inner Baxter when I read beauty product labels, especially those proclaiming to be completely natural.

1. blog post inner baxter

As you are aware, we make excellent Ayurvedic first principle based skin and hair oils at Krya. We have spoken about how Ayurvedic manufacturing has incorporated many sophisticated oil processing techniques that are designed to fractionate the oil, change its viscosity and improve its spreadability and dispersion of plant actives by the use of different manufacturing techniques.

 

None of the Ayurvedic manufacturing techniques use solvents, manufacturing chemicals or anything synthetic. Instead, a carefully thought through series of different methods like infusions, tinctures, over night soaking, the use of fats of different viscosity, slow cooking and stirring at different speeds, are all used to make emulsions, creams, pastes and herb infused oils.

While it is true that the Ayurvedic processing techniques cannot give an infinitely wide range of textures and formats, many standard formats like creams, pastes, and oils of varying viscosity can all be achieved.

2. ayurvedic oil manufacturing

 

The desperate attempt to appear natural : consumer product scams

There is rightfully a growing wave of concern around the toxic load on our skin, hair and bodies. This concern has lead to several small but significant changes in the consumer products industry like the visible reduction in the use of sulphate surfactants like SLS and SLeS, and the promised phasing out of ingredients like Triclosan.

But with these good developments have come in what may be best described as dubious developments. There is a rapid substitution being followed in the consumer product industry where consumer hated ingredients like SLS or SLeS are being replaced by another class of surfactants which are little known and have not yet been studied for their possible ill effects on the human body or the environment.

Along with ingredient substitution, another growing disturbing trend I am seeing is the mis-labelling of ingredients, making them appear much more natural than what they really are.

 

Does a chemical ingredient’s origin make it natural? – Light Liquid Paraffin in hair oils and moisturizing products

Here is an inherent contradiction all of us have to live with: we all appreciate the benefits of using oil, but many of us dislike the texture and experience of using oil.

This dislike has prompted consumer products companies to find ways of making an oil, which is inherently viscous and sticky, “non sticky” and like water. This has lead to the use of Liquid Paraffin derived “non sticky oils” in hair care where 60 – 90% of the content is light liquid paraffin, a derivative of petrolatum.

3. light liq paraffin

Light Liquid Paraffin is derived from Petrolatum which is indeed natural, but it is of mineral origin. LLP is odourless and colourless and is non sticky, so when it is used on skin and hair it feels light and dry. However, petrolatum and its derivatives are occlusive and comedogenic on the skin – so consistent use clogs the skin and scalp, and can trap dirt and dead cells in the skin triggering cystic acne.

Also unlike vegetable oils which are considered an “Anupana” or medium to transmit the nutrient active of the herbs infused in them, liquid paraffin does not penetrate the skin barrier. Therefore the properties of the herbs cannot be utilised by the body.

Therefore in Light Liquid Paraffin we have an ingredient of mineral origin which does not penetrate skin, can trap dirt and trigger acne, and which cannot transmit the plant actives into the body. Using products with this ingredient does not help our skin or scalp, however pleasant it may seem while using the product.

 11.acne

 

Does a chemical ingredient’s origin make it natural? – Caprylic Capric Triglycerides in moisturizing products

Another way of making oil less sticky is to not use a vegetable oil at in the base. Instead, many formulations are appearing where the ester of glycerol and fractionated coconut oil is used as a base, and herb extracts and essential oils are added to this base.

Caprylic Capric triglyceride is one such ingredient. This is a lab derived ester made by the esterification of glycerol and either coconut or palm oil derived fatty acids. Esters are present in nature and are responsible for many of the aromas we experience like the fragrance and flavour we get when we bite into a ripe apple. However, they are rarely present in an isolated form, and have to be extracted or synthesised in a lab.

The esterification process has been deliberately employed in the case of Caprylic Capric triglyceride. First the fatty acids of coconut or palm oil has to be isolated and extracted, and it is then subjected to the esterification reaction with glycerol to produce this chemical ingredient.

Caprylic capric triglyceride looks like oil, but it is completely non greasy and has a dry, almost powdery texture on skin. It is a favourite ingredient in many skin and hair care products and is specifically used for the way it feels on application.

But, here is something you should keep in mind: Caprylic Capric Triglyceride like many esters used in personal care products is NOT natural. It may be derived from molecules which have been extracted from coconut or palm oil. However, it is not a naturally occurring ingredient and is produced via a chemical reaction in a lab. More importantly, while coconut oil or even palm oil is good for skin and hair, having been used for millennia, their synthetic derivatives have never been tested extensively for use on human beings. We also do not know how these isolates compound or react when discharged into the atmosphere or even how stable they are.

From an Ayurvedic standpoint, no research has been done on whether this ester is a good Anupana, or even if it is absorbed into skin or if it disperses plant actives.

 

Making an Ayurvedic oil: and how we avoid the use of synthetics like Caprylic Capric Triglyceride

We have spoken often with pride about the Krya oil making process. We frequently speak about this because our oils are an integral part of our skin and hair care offerings. If there is one health giving practice that works immediately, it is the application of oil on your scalp and skin, whether it is to balance your doshas in your weekly abhyanga or to improve the quality and health of your hair.

There are 2 key differences between genuine Ayurvedic oils and synthetic oils with suspect ingredients like the 2 we have discussed above.

  1. Sneha Kalpana Paka (Oil cooking) technique: A genuine Ayurvedic oil is“paka” oil where the oil is “cooked” to incorporate various herb extracts, decoctions, juices and pastes. The cooking of the oil can take place either via direct heat or through solar heat.4. paka process
    1. When the oil is cooked on direct heat, the temperature is kept as low as possible, and the final oil mixture which contains different kinds of juices, extractions, tinctures and pastes) needs to be continuously and gently stored. The combination of heat, manual stirring and use of different kinds of herb extract methods (water based infusion, boiled decoction, paste), transfers the plants actives from the herbs into the oil.
    2. The solar heat process sis generally used when delicate herbs or flowers are infused into oil (like flower petals) where the use of high heat can alter the fragrance and plant actives. In solar cooking method, the oil is infused for atleast 1 mandala (48 days) in a vessel made out of a particular material (bronze, eeyam, etc). As the temperature increase in this method is not as high as direct heating, the oil has to be infused longer to extract the plant actives efficiently.
    3. The result of the Ayurvedic oil paka technique is an oil whose properties have been transformed by the process Even if we started with a relatively viscous oil like sesame or Coconut, the Paka process makes the oil lighter, more nutrient dense, alters its colour and aroma and makes it much easier for the skin / scalp to absorb both the oil and the herb actives.
  2. 5. result of paka processAn Ayurvedic oil is always made using a particular proportion of herb extracts, pastes and oils
    1. The oil is usually only 25 – 40% of the base volume of the mixture. The balance consists of fresh juices, herb decoctions and a paste made from the herbs.
    2. The oil is cooked until all the water in this solution evaporates leaving behind only the transformed oil and the solids from the herb paste. This usually takes anywhere between 5 – 9 hours of steady boiling.
    3. The final oil that is achieved is highly concentrated and potent containing the actives of all the herb extracts which were added into the oil mixture.

 

Making the Krya conditioning hair oil: a quick update

For Formulation Tuesday today, I have chosen to speak about skin and hair care oils and moisturizing products and to illustrate how genuine Ayurvedic oil is different in its manufacturing and ingredients in general.

As a part of this, I also wanted to share with you in brief, how we make the Krya conditioning hair oil – we made our newest batch this Saturday.

 

Who is this oil designed for?

The Krya conditioning oil is designed for vata prakriti skin and scalp. Vata prakriti skin and scalp tends to be inherently dry and usually drinks up or soaks up oil and moisture with gratitude. This kind of hair is usually inherently dry or frizzy. Winter or low humidity environments can cause dry dandruff or flaking in this kind of hair.

6.vata prakriti hair

If this hair is excessively shampooed or chemically treated, it tends to increase frizziness, split ends and hair breakage.

We have 2 kinds of hair oils for Vata prakriti hair. The first is the Krya conditioning hair oil. The second is the Krya harmony hair oil, which is to be used if you are mentally stressed, or work for long hours with uncertain timings and tight deadlines.

The Krya harmony hair oil works on soothing the brain and reliving vata caused by mental stress. The Krya conditioning hair oil works on physically balancing vata dosha in your scalp by using herbs and oils that nourish and nurture the scalp.

7.harmony hair oil

 

What goes into the Krya conditioning hair oil?

The Krya Conditioning hair oil is formulated using herbs that are very high on soothing a dry and irritated scalp and also help tame “frizzy” and vata aggravated hair. 16 nutrient dense herbs and 4 cold pressed and organic vegetable oils are used to make the Krya conditioning hair oil.

Herbs like Daucus carota (carrot), Lagenaria siceraria (Bottle Gourd), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Moringa oleifera (Moringa) are used to improve the texture and health of hair and improve its gloss and smoothness. Herbs like Acacia katechu (Khadira), Phyllanthus embellicus (Amla) and Eclipta alba (Bhringaraj) are used to soothe the scalp and improve its health and therefore improve hair growth.

8. krya codnitioning hair oil

Herbs like Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), Murraya koenigii (Curry Leaf), Terminalia Chebulia (Haritaki) and Terminalia embelica (Vibhitaki) are used to promote hair growth, rejuvenate the scalp and hair and normalise the dosha balance so that the entire hair system becomes healthy.

Ayurveda ranks the extraction method of each herb and also assigns different nutritive values to Swarasa (fresh expelled juice), Kwathas (Infusions), Kashayas (decoction) and Kalpa (herb paste). Depending upon the bio actives in each herb, we are advised to follow the above 4 methods to extract a herb’s actives.

Every Krya oil has a high volume of potent plant actives going into the oil mixture. For example, in the Krya conditioning hair oil, 25% of the oil mixture is fresh Swarasa (cold pressed plant juice). Swarasas are considered very nutritious and of high potency in Ayurveda, and addition of this to an Ayurvedic oil greatly improves its efficacy. In the Krya conditioning hair oil, we use fresh Swarasa of Carrot, Bottle gourd, Amla and Bhringaraj, all grown organically.

9. potent bio active hair oil

Woody herbs and tubers have tightly bound actives within the plant. So it is recommended in Ayurveda to coarsely crush the herbs, soak them in water and then boil the mixture for a particular duration (either until water evaporates to ½ its volume or ¼ its volume). The Kashaya preparation and boiling process takes 12 hours (before the oil boiling starts). The process followed and the time taken both ensure we are able to successfully extract actives even from woody and hard herbs like Khadira, Ashwagandha and Liquorice to ensure that the final oil is rich in their actives.

10.kashaya extraction process

To sum up:

So there you have it: that is the Krya Tuesday formulation update for this week. We have discussed how we work on the Krya conditioning hair oil; a product that is much loved for its hair texture improving, scalp healing and hair growth improving properties. The Krya Conditioning hair oil is to be used along with the Krya Conditioning hair wash and the Krya conditioning hair mask. Together these 3 products form the Krya conditioning hair hydrating system.

 

Our ongoing Formulation Tuesday series is designed to give you a glimpse into how we think about, research and work on our product formulations. We believe that it is imperative for companies to be transparent both about their products and their manufacturing process. This, we believe, helps consumers make better choices for themselves and be more involved in what enters their home, is applied on themselves and is released into the soil and water.

 

Information helps us all make better choices. We hope you found this post both interesting and relevant to read.

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Dandruff Dojo – why Krya tells you to throw away that shampoo

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

“I am using a popular brand of anti dandruff shampoo. I shampoo every single day, because I’ve been told that only this will keep away my dandruff. While my shampoo removes the dandruff, my scalp feels itchy by the evening and the flaking starts again. What do you think could be the problem? Am I stuck with dandruff and shampooing everyday forever?”

This was in response to the Krya newsletter I had sent out last week. This query was sent to be by a man who described his hair as having worsened after he started to work. He was now in his 30s, and his dandruff had become extremely noticeable and quite alarming.

There are 2 causes of dandruff: the first is an underlying skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or seborrhea. And if you had any of this, any part of your skin will be affected, including your scalp. Also, when you have an underlying skin condition like this one, you wouldn’t just have your scalp affected, but atleast some part of the rest of your skin.
The other kind of dandruff which the Mayo Clinic describes as the most common cause of dandruff today is dry skin caused by aggravated sebaceous glands. This aggravation can occur because of how often you shampoo or what you shampoo your hair with.

What is in your Anti dandruff shampoo:

The lead chemical used by an anti dandruff shampoo is a fungicide – this could be ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione or selenium disulfide, miconazole and even hydrogen peroxide or common bleach. Now the thing to note is this: this solution is logical only if your dandruff is caused by a fungal infection like seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Even then the fungicides do not heal the root cause. Worse still, they are excessively harsh and drying on the scalp and could lead to the other type of dandruff. This could explain why people using an anti-dandruff shampoo feel that they are worse off than before.

Environmental effects of fungicides like Ketoconazole:

With the increasing use of fungicides in anti dandruff shampoos, it should come as no surprise that these fungicides find their way into fresh and salty water bodies through our sewage lines. As is common with many classes of synthetic chemicals, fungicides like ketoconazole are easily absorbed into the body of fishes and other aquatic organisms – here they tend to get stored in the body and bio accumulate with increasing exposure.

Studies indicate that increasing doses of these fungicides retard the activity of CYP3A, an important enzyme group present in human beings and acquatic organisms like fish. This enzyme group helps catalyse many reactions in drug metabolism and also help synthesize cholesterol, steroids and other lipids.

In rainbow trout and killifish, ketoconazole accumulation decreased the catalytic activity of this enzyme group by 60 – 90%. Needless to say, ketoconazole is not healthy for these fish or the human beings who eat them.

Adverse effects on hair and scalp due to use of fungicide based shampoos

One of the common side effects caused by fungicides on hair and scalp is skin and scalp irritation. Because of their harsh and excessively drying nature, the sebaceous glands in your scalp can get aggravated leading to extremely dry or extremely greasy hair.

Other allergic reactions may include severe itching, burning or irritation, redness or pain on the scalp, oozing or weeping of skin, eye redness and swelling and hair loss.

The main cause of dandruff today: aggravated sebaceous glands

Dandruff used to be an isolated problem and a specialized problem, usually affecting men, 20 – 30 years ago. However today, it is one of the most commercially exploited scalp condition – estimates of dandruff in urbanized populations range from 20% to 50%! And it is now a gender agnostic condition – women and men suffer from dandruff.
It is important to note here that while dandruff has rapidly increased among urbanized populations the incidence of skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema and sebbhoroea have not multiplied this rapidly.

What appears to have increased is a non-specific type of dandruff caused by aggravated sebaceous glands – which is dandruff caused due to an excessively oily or an excessively dry scalp.

 Why do your sebaceous glands become aggravated?

We’ve written in our last few posts about some of the hazards behind the chemical ingredients that go into your shampoo.

SLS and SLeS

SLS and SLES dissolve your hair and scalp’s sebum layer and strip skin of all its natural oils leaving you with dry skin and hair. “The lathering power of liquid soaps is actually an enemy. It can bubble the oil out of your skin” says Dr. Marianne O’Donoghue, associate professor of dermatology at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Dermatology.

Skin below 35 years reacts aggressively to this systematic stripping of sebum. With the increased use of Sulphate containing product, you may find your skin and scalp becoming oilier, creating a vicious cycle where you are compelled to wash more frequently. If you find that your hair is getting greasy and oily a day after shampooing, then you need to investigate your shampoo – the excessive harshness of this product usually forces a defensive skin reaction where the scalp starts to aggressively produce sebum to make up for the loss every time you shampoo.

Of course this will only prompt you to use more shampoo to counter this greasy defense – the result damaged and dry hair and scalp.

MEA, DEA and TEA:

The effect of ethanolamines, added to shampoos to increase foam and to thicken the liquid is equally worrying. Ethanolamine based products can trigger contact dermatitis, and irritate your scalp leaving your hair feeling dry and lifeless and breakdown your hair’s keratin structure.

Even an industry funded body like the Cosmetics Ingredient review is cautious about the use of ethanolamines – they ask users,( i.e., us who love our synthetic shampoos), to use Ethanolamines only briefly, scrub vigorously and to not use it continuously.

Contrast that with the Shampoo industry’s prevalent paradigm: where we are asked to wash frequently, even every single day, and rinse and repeat shampooing to ensure our hair is “clean”.

blog post graphic sept 4

Ok, its harmful – but I rinse it right off. So there isn’t going to be any long term effect, right?

Wrong.

One of the properties we have come to fear in some of the most toxic chemicals used on the planet, the pesticides / fungicides / herbicides that are sprayed on your food is this: their ability to persist in the atmosphere, long after they have been used.

One never thinks about persistence in the products we use on ourselves.

A recent paper published by researchers at Cornell University attempted to do something utterly fascinating: capture 3D photographs of our microbiome and the chemicals that reside on our skin to understand how the two interact.

As a part of this research, the volunteers were asked to forego shampooing and bathing for a few days and 3D photographs were taken before and after this abstinence.

The results are scary:

In the picture given below, on the male volunteer, SLES persists on the scalp several days after the last shampoo – and we assumed these chemicals would get washed right out.

On the female volunteer, avobenzene lingers on her neck several days after a sunscreen was used and washed off, lingering on despite the shower and the soap.

Facebook post sept 15 2015

We’ve said this before: the skin is one of our key organ groups in protecting our body from invasion. Unfortunately, the skin is also extremely susceptible to the synthetic formulations we apply, rub and wash it with. The dermal route is one of the fastest routes of letting synthetic chemicals bypass your powerful intestinal tract (where they would be made less harmful), and directly invade your major internal organs.

Remember what we had to say about Parabens? 60% of breast cancer tumours were found in the area where deodorants are sprayed – and this area represents only 1/5th of the entire armpit area.

Co-incidence? We think not.

How does dandruff caused by aggravated sebaceous glands look?

Dry dandruff – caused by under active / stripped sebaceous glands

Dandruff that is caused by under-active sebaceous glands will have a few tell tale signs: you should begin feeling worse immediately after shampooing – your scalp should feel itchy and dry. The dandruff flakes will be small, light and not clumped together. The problem will worsen as you increase your shampooing frequency. And the rest of your skin will usually be okay – there will be no underlying skin condition like psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis.
Oily dandruff – caused by greasy scalp / over active sebaceous glands
Dandruff caused by over active sebaceous glands is also usually easy to spot – you will find your hair to start secreting oil and look limp, greasy and unwashed one or two days after washing your hair.

The dandruff flakes will be large, heavier & will clump together. This will of course prompt desperate measures on your part like increasing your shampooing – and you will find that the more you shampoo, the more oil and flakes your hair seems to be secreting.

Sometimes this kind of dandruff can lead to a fungal infection. The excessive oil secreted on the scalp can attract fungi which then start to east some of the excessive oil on the scalp, break it down and secrete a hydrolysed oil compound. This compound leads to itching on the scalp and irritates it further.

So the key to controlling this kind of dandruff is to ensure that you do not over wash your hair – if you wash it too aggressively with synthetic products, your sebaceous glands will also respond aggressively.

The second part for this kind of dandruff is to ensure balance: your hair regime must clean without stripping. Your oiling regime must moisturize without loading your hair.

The changing nature of dandruff – from oily to dry as you age

When you are below 30, your sebaceous glands are at their peak – so excessive shampooing triggers a compensatory response from them. You will find your hair looking greasier, as your sebaceous glands work overtime to replace and add more oil to protect your hair and scalp. This response goes down as you age, so in your 20s, excessive shampooing might give you oily dandruff which changes to  dry dandruff as you age.

The point of all this is simple

Ketoconazole and such fungicide based anti-dandruff shampoos are not the answer to any hair problems. And neither is washing your hair everyday with a synthetic shampoo.

If you suspect dry or greasy scalp dandruff, start by washing your hair less, moisturize and nourish your scalp more, and oh yes, throw away your chemical shampoo.

It should NOT be used to wash your hair.

A fantastic hair month to you from us at Krya – You deserve the best.

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here. We are running an introductory offer on all of our skin and hair care products this month – just subscribe to our newsletter above to get the coupon code in your inbox.

 

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What goes into your Shampoo – part 1 & part 2
  2. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  3. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  4. Is beauty external? We think not
  5. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  6. Common carcinogens implicated in breast cancer found in your home 
  7. Is it a conspiracy? A pre-planned genetic supremacy race? Or simply misinformation? Some reasons behind common toxics & why they continue to be used
  8. Are we putting our children at risk by using these products on them? Here are 3 toxins that plague children through the products we use on them.
  9. Do the products we buy contain toxins? How do we decode what goes into them? Here’s Urban Survival 102 telling you how to decode a cosmetic label

 

 

 

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Shampoo Seppuku – Throw away that shampoo part 2

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Our last post on SLS in a synthetic shampoo has set the cat among the pigeons. We have received a huge number of emails, calls and messages from You stating your concern on the issue ( and you should be concerned!).

We’ve also had several of our consumers sending us pictures of the labels of their current brand of shampoo – and we’ve played Sherlock decoding the labels to them. Almost every brand of “natural” or gentle shampoo label that has been sent to us contained Sodium Laureth sulphate (SLES), that we write about and some other toxic animals like Methyl and Propyl Paraben.

And that is the point of this post. If you thought the only villains hiding in your shampoo were SLS, SLeS and silicones like DiMethicone, well, you were mistaken, weren’t you.

Instead your Shampoo has an entire secret society of villains hiding in it – (yes, we love DC Comics and aren’t ashamed of it !)
If SLS was the Lex Luthor in your shampoo, meet The Wizard, Gorilla Grodd, and the Funky Flashman, right here.

 

MEA, DEA and TEA (Monethanolamine, Diethanolamine and Tri-ethanolamine)

DEA, TEA and EA (Ethanolamine) are produced when aqueous ammonia reacts with ethylene dioxide.

Ethanolamines are clear, colorless, viscous liquids which reduce the surface tension of oil and water combined products so that the oil and water can mix together without separating. Ethanolamines are found therefore in shampoos, face washes, body washes, bubble baths and gels, sunscreens, hair dyes, eyeliners, mascaras and also in dishwashing detergents, liquid detergents, metalworking fluids, paints and printing inks.

TEA is commonly used in cleansing milks or creams – because it is so strongly alkaline (a 1% solution of TEA has a pH of 10), it is used as a dirt remover in ironically named “gentle cleansing creams”.

What the Industry says about MEA, DEA and TEA – rinse fast, and thoroughly:

Even industry supported and funded bodies like the cosmetics Ingredient review Panel (established in 1976 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance association and supported by the U.S FDA), recommended that TEA and DEA concentrations should not exceed 5%.

They also recommend that if you use a product containing any Ethanolamine, you should use the product briefly, and not continually and thoroughly scrub and rinse to ensure there is no ethanolamine lingering on your skin or scalp.

This recommendation does not take into account the fact that most of us linger when we use wash off products (and definitely more than the recommended 5 minutes). It also does not address the issue of continuous usage – many of us have now graduated to shampooing every single day. Nor does it answer the concern of DEA in leave on products like conditioners, and skin care products like mascara or even medicine like ear drops which are supposed to linger.

tea dea lingering prohibited

Why you should keep away from MEA, DEA and TEA

Effect on hair:

The excessive use of shampoos containing TEA and DEA can irritate your scalp, make your hair feel dry and lifeless, and breakdown your hair’s keratin structure,

Contact dermatitis:

3 studies spaced several years apart found that TEA based products occasionally cause contact dermatitis – the products studies were as diverse as a sunscreen, and ear drops.

Environmental toxicity:

When TEA hits water bodies, as is common when the shampoo we use goes down our drains, into our sewers and into our rivers, it can potentially cause acute and chronic toxicity in several aquatic species.

The last word on TEA:

TEA is a scheduled chemical listed in Schedule 3, Part B of the chemical Weapons Convention. This Control treaty outlaws the production or stockpiling of dangerous chemicals or their precursors that can be use to create chemical weapons.

So if we manufactured or used more than 30 tonnes of TEA every year, we have to declare this, and allow ourselves to be inspected just to make sure we weren’t manufacturing weapons. And we cannot export TEA to countries who have not signed off on the Chemical weapons Convention treaty.

Not so Fun fact: TEA is used to manufacture Nitrogen Mustard a chemical warfare weapon. In World War 2, several countries manufactured and stockpiled Nitrogen Mustard but did not use it (thankfully!). Nitrogen Mustard has a strong cytotoxic (cell destroying) effect and is today used in cancer chemotherapy.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish is a chemical scheduled under the chemical Weapons Treaty doing in your shampoo / sunscreen /shaving cream / ear drops?

Here are some avatars of Ethanolamines you could find in synthetic products around your home – our recommendation? Toss em out:

  1. Cocamide DEA
  2. Cocamide MEA
  3. DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
  4. DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
  5. Linoleamide MEA
  6. Lauramide DEA
  7. Myristamide DEA
  8. Stearamide MEA
  9. Oleamide DEA
  10. TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  11. Triethanloamine

 Parabens

Parabens are a class of synthetic preservatives widely used in cosmetics, personal care products and medicines. They have been used in these products for about a hundred years now and are the industry standard for anti bacterial and anti fungal properties.

You can find Parabens in almost every single synthetic cosmetic and personal care product from shampoos, to skin creams to under arm deodorants. They are also used in fragrances, but as fragrances are considered trade secrets, manufacturers do not have to disclose what goes into their fragrances, including deadly villains like Parabens.

What the Industry and Governments say about Parabens:

In spite of extensive literature on the hormonal effects of Parabens, the 2006 Cosmetic Industry Review compendium trivializes the problem. They maintain that Parabens “must certainly be considered safe”.

However, after the work of many consumer awareness groups like EWG, companies like Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove both parabens and formaldehyde from its baby care and adult skin care products by 2015 including brands like Aveeno & Neutrogena.

Globally most governments have not re-examined the safety of parabens. Some outliers are the Danish government which has banned the use of products for children below 3 years. In India parabens are commonly used in cosmetic and other applications.

Why you should keep away from Paraben containing products:

Effect on skin and Hair – aging and cell damage

The irony is not lost on us. Parabens are commonly found in anti aging products. However, research shows that they actually accelerate the skin aging process!

Researchers from Meijo University, Japan concluded that Methyl Paraben could cause carcinogenic skin damage when people who used the compound in skin care products were exposed to sunlight irradiation. Similarly, Researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan concluded that UVB exposure to Methyl Paraben when used on skin significantly increased cell death and oxidative stress in human skin.

Endocrine disrupting function

The European Commission on Endocrine disruption have listed Parabens as a category 1 priority substance because they easily penetrate skin, and interfere with the function of the hormones. In our body, Parabens can mimic estrogen.

Penetrative ability into the body:

Parabens have been detected in urine, serum, breast milk and seminal fluid, but the most worrying fact has been their detection in breast tissue from patients with breast cancer. In one important North American study, it was calculated that the average person is exposed to 76 mg of parabens every day, with 50 mg from cosmetics, 25 mg from pharmaceuticals and 1 mg from food.

Research from the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health found that the blood of over 60% of the children surveyed during the National Health and Nutrition examination survey was contaminated with more than 8 toxins including significant levels of 3 kinds of parabens.

One alarming property of parabens is their ability to enter the body through the skin, something that most people are not aware of. This has been widely studied in underarm cosmetics like deodorants and whiteners. Breast cancer research shows a higher concentration of parabens in the upper lateral breast near the armpit corresponding to the use of deodorants which contain parabens.60% of breast cancer tumors occur in the precise area where we use deodorant sprays!

 

An important point to note here is the route we allow to Parabens when we apply then on our skin and hair. While eating Parabens in your food is not the best thing to do, in the oral route, Parabens are metabolized better, and are less estrogenic.

However in the dermal route, we allow Parabens to directly enter our blood stream and make their way to our organ systems, increasing our exposure risk.

Effect on Male reproductive health:

In addition to Paraben’s estrogen like properties, this chemical has also been associated with interfering with the Male reproductive system. Studies report low sperm counts, and decreased levels of testosterone in Men linked to the absorption of Parabens form personal care products.

Intersex fish:

Boulder Colorado in 2008 undertook a multimillion dollar upgrade of their waste water effluent plant. Until then, intersex fish were a common sight – stimulated by the chemicals in personal care products like shampoos and pharmaceuticals like steroids, male fish across species developed female characteristics. This multimillion dollar plant has not removed the problem – however, with efficient sewage treatment, the male fish are taking slightly longer to get feminized.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish (pun intended) is a gender bender chemical that has been found in cancerous breast tumors, decreases sperm count and ages skin and hair doing in your shampoo? I mean, really?

krya wtf moment 2 - parabens

Here are some labels Parabens hide under in your shampoo or skin care product:

  1. Benzylparaben
  2. Butylparaben
  3. Propylparaben
  4. Methylparaben
  5. Ethylparaben
  6. Isobutylparaben

This isn’t over – far from it. Look out for our next post on this September on more Super villains hiding in your synthetic shampoo.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here. We are running an introductory offer on all of our skin and hair care products this month – just subscribe to our super useful newsletter above to get the coupon code in your inbox.

 

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What goes into your Shampoo – part 1
  2. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  3. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  4. Is beauty external? We think not
  5. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  6. Common carcinogens implicated in breast cancer found in your home 
  7. Is it a conspiracy? A pre-planned genetic supremacy race? Or simply misinformation? Some reasons behind common toxics & why they continue to be used 
  8. Are we putting our children at risk by using these products on them? Here are 3 toxins that plague children through the products we use on them. 
  9. Do the products we buy contain toxins? How do we decode what goes into them? Here’s Urban Survival 102 telling you how to decode a cosmetic label
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Hair hara-kiri – throw away that shampoo Part 1

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

My biggest hair problem as a teenager was hair that wouldn’t dry fast. I had waist length hair back then which was as thick as my palm. My hair literally took hours to dry, and before I started using shampoo, I would sometimes have to comb out clumps of shikakai from my home made hair wash after it dried.

Yup, pretty much a case of my diamond shoes being too tight.

Of course, I grew up. Started to use synthetic shampoos, and then of course, all hell broke loose. Because just a few years later, my biggest hair problem, was that my hair, simply would not grow.

Instead, I grappled with hair that broke easily, was thinning everywhere, and just didn’t grow as fast as it used to. So to keep the focus off my non growing hair, I kept cutting it shorter, until at one point, I sported a pageboy cut.

The reasons for my hair’s state are now quite apparent – I committed every single one of those 5 hair mistakes we wrote about last time on the Blog. If there was a treatment or a new hair product out, you could be sure I was right there, asking for it.

But today I want to focus on the single hair mistake almost all of us are committing – and this one is a hara kiri (a hair-a-kiri?) – using a synthetic shampoo.

A dated report I’m reading tells me that the world spends close to 60 billion dollars every year buying shampoo. Yes, you read that right. We are as a race, spending collectively the equivalent of the GDP of Zambia,or Slovenia, on just Shampoo!

The modern shampoo was “invented” in the 1920s. Of course, this news was not as exciting for people in general because all of us had been washing our hair with herbs, clays and water for time immemorial. Shampoos therefore cleverly position themselves as modern, scientific products that provided a great experience and gave us what we did not have with herbs – Lots & Lots & Lots of Copious lather.

Today’s shampoo formulation has evolved, dangerously from its 1920s version. Besides being actually harmful for your hair, a shampoo today contains ingredients that are extreme irritants, environmental toxins and are even carcinogenic.

 What’s in that foaming, coloured, scented mess?

1. Detergent

The most important ingredient in a shampoo is the part that cleans. And this comes ingredients like SLS, SLES or even ALS (Ammonium lauryl sulphate) and its ethoxylated cousin ALES (ammonium Laureth sulphate).

We are extremely concerned about the all pervasive and toxic nature of SLS and SLES – you will find SLS / SLES in almost everything that foams and is a cleanser of some sort from your laundry detergent to your baby wash and of course your shampoo. We actually spent a whole post talking about the dangers of SLS and SLES .

Sulphates were initially used as cheap detergents – typically in car washes and mechanic workshops to easily cut through axle grease. They are today widely used to lift off grease from hair and to clean your body, face and even your clothes.

We have 3 major concerns over the almost obsessive use of SLS and SLES by the consumer product industry:

Sebum stripping ability

The first is that both these Lauryl Sulfates  are almost too effective at stripping hair (and skin)  of its protective layer of oil – the result, all the vital and necessary sebum in your hair which protects the cuticles and its integrity is stripped out, leaving it dull and lifeless.

Irritant nature

The Journal of the American college of Toxicology notes that concentrations of SLS that are as low as 0.5% (and upto 10%) cause slight to moderate skin irritation, while 10% – 30% routinely causes skin corrosion and severe irritation. Ironically, in lab testing of skin care products like healing creams or lotions, skin is first irritated using SLS before it can be healed with the test product! SLS also causes severe eye irritation which is a point of note if you want to use it in a shampoo that is definitely going to reach your eyes.

Role in cell destruction and premature aging

This should get your interest right now. SLS is described as a protein de-naturing compound. So with consistent use, it will break down the protein matrix of your hair, effectively stopping hair regeneration and impeding its health.On skin, SLS will disrupt the protein structures in it and could hasten skin aging.

2. Silicones

Silicones like dimethicone or PEG-12 dimethicone are often described as “conditioning agents”. Silicones are an interesting addition to shampoos. They were added precisely because of the detergents in shampoos – because the detergents are harsh , strip sebum and break your cuticular scales, the silicones are added to coat hair.

Silicones are laboratory made chemicals which are made from combinations of silicon, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are flexible and plastic like with a rubbery feel and are used in adhesives, sealants, lubricants, cooking utensils, insulation AND personal care products.

It is important to note here that silicone should be accurately described as a “coating agent” and not a “conditioning agent”. So a silicon cannot “penetrate” or “deep condition” your hair. But what it can do is form a layer on top of your hair, hiding the damage caused by the detergent in the shampoo – and this coating is precisely why it takes so long for you to find out that your hair is damaged (hint: its because your shampoo is doing a darn good cover up job after damaging your hair).

Silicones are found both in hair care products and skin care products. It is the primary ingredient in hair conditioners and is also used in make up products like foundations and primers, because it does the same job of coating over the damage on your skin and helps the rest of the product glide smoother.

Because silicone covers the damaged cuticular scales of your hair, it produces a kind of gloss/ shine – which deceives you into thinking your hair is healthier than it is.

And because it coats your hair, it also decreases the ability of natural oils to penetrate your hair or skin – so if you are regularly using a conditioning shampoo or a conditioner, and trying to oil and restore your hair to health, then chances are that your oiling is not going to be very effective.

If you apply a silicone containing product on your skin, you can have similar bad results – because the silicone coats your skin, it prevents healthy skin functions like sweating, and sloughing off dead cells. You are also probably keeping in dirt, dead cells and bacteria much longer leaving them to linger on your skin. This is probably why people with sensitive or acne prone skin suffer greater breakouts when using silicone containing products (which is almost all synthetic skincare products).

We are still not sure about the toxicity of commonly used silicones like dimethicone. Environment Canada have put this ingredient on their toxics watchlist – what we do know is that in the very least it could be a persistent (lingers on for a very long time), bio-accumulative (stays and builds up within the bodies of fishes and organisms that eat it) environmental toxin.

Here are some possible silicone agents you could find in your shampoo / conditioner: Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone copolyol.

 

blog post graphic sept 4

This isn’t over – far from it. Look out for our next post on Monday for more straight dope on what goes into your synthetic shampoo.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here.

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  2. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  3. Is beauty external? We think not
  4. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  5. What are the 5 beauty mistakes you are probably committing right now on your hair

 

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Better hair this September – the healthy hair series from Krya

Krya Hair Wash
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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Good hair appears to be in alarmingly short supply today. We seem to have an epidemic of products available in a store to satisfy our every hair wish, but this appears to be the time when we are collectively most upset about the state of our hair.

I put out an appeal on our social media page asking for great hair stories from people. I get an interesting response from Preethi Raghav who is a 24 year old entrepreneur with her hair story. She tells me about her teenage tryst with the whole bag of hair tricks: shampoos, conditioners, serums, gels the works. And then in 2012, she decided to literally clean up her act and drop the synthetics.

The result?

“My hair has thickened to almost twice to what it was!,” says Preethi. “Plus, Shampoos and conditioners would leave my hair dry and frizzy no matter what I did! I used to have headaches almost every time after a shampoo. It never occurred to me that the chemicals could be the reason! My hair feels so earthy and nice now”.

Most of us aren’t this kind to our hair. Our five year journey at Krya has given us data points spread over thousands of consumers across different parts of India – and our conclusion is expected. Only a very tiny percent of consumers, no matter what their age , or lifestage is, are happy with their hair’s health. Everyone seems to experiment a lot with hair – we colour it, highlight it, straighten it, perm it, and shampoo it frequently. And all of this has an impact on how healthy or unhealthy our hair is.

 

The structure of our hair

Human hair, actually every single part of the human body is a marvel of bio engineering. The evolution of mammalian hair can be traced back to our common ancestors, the synapsids, which existed about 300 million years ago.
The 2 aspects of hair that we are most concerned about, gloss and strength are attributed to the 2 parts of hair: the cortex and the cuticle.

An intact, smoothly layered cuticle gives us hair that is naturally glossy and shiny. And its strength to withstand tugs, combing, brushing and the stresses of daily life comes from a cortex that has integrity.

 The overlapping scales

hair strand

The picture shows you how hair looks under 200X magnification and what is visible is the outer cuticle layer of the hair. ( The cuticle itself is made up of 6 – 8 layers of cells). Each cuticular cell is made up of proteins , lipids and polysaccharides – they are colourless and arranged in an overlapping roof-tile or fish scale like pattern.

This arrangement ensures 2 important aspects of how your hair is designed to protect itself:
1. the overlapping scale like pattern helps dirt and scales to be removed easily by lifting up the cuticular cells.
2. This overlapping pattern ( which ensures that each cuticular cell overlaps the next exposing only 1/6th of its surface) ensures that the cuticle regulates entry of water, and chemicals forming an effective barrier to protect the inner cortex of the hair.

Important parts of your hair:

  1. Epicuticle – the water barrier – prevents water from entering and being absorbed by hair. Hair which is structurally weak absorbs water and swells changing its shape
  2. A layer – high in cysteine which helps form disulfide bonds to give high structural strength and rigidity to the cuticle. This layer provides the strong structural matrix to hair. Damage to this layer makes your hair structurally weak.
  3. Cortex: Lies below the cuticle and forms the the major component of hair. The keratin protein in the hair is bound by disulfide bonds formed by cysteine residues within the cortex. These bonds are responsible for the natural shape of your hair strands.

 

Hair fall and damage – reasons

Your hair’s life depends on a number of factors like the medication you take, stress, your diet, and also the products you use on it.

The more you style or alter your hair’s characteristics (like colour, texture), the more you change the natural constitution of your hair. While the amount of styling products and treatments each kind of hair can accept is different , less is always more for hair health.

So here are 5 beauty treatments that can permanently damage your hair :

1. Excessive shampooing with SLS / SLES based shampoos
Shampoos exist to cleanse your scalp and remove excessive oil from your hair. But as we’ve discussed before, SLS and SLES are strong detergent like substances that literally bubble the oil out of your hair and scalp. With the sebum layer stripped from your hair, your hair starts to lose its sheen and becomes extremely dry.

shampooing blog image 1 (1)

In younger hair, excessive washing can also lead to aggressive sebum secretion from the sebaceous glands – which leads to more washing. This vicious cycle gives you extremely greasy hair that slowly starts to get dry as you grow older and your sebaceous glands start to secrete less oil.

2. Heat (hot air blower or hot water washes)

The constant use of hot water to wash your hair or repeated use of a blow dryer, can damage the overlapping pattern of the cuticle resulting in bumps on the cuticle surface where some of the cuticular cells have been damaged. Your hair therefore appears dull and loses its natural shine and gloss. Further, this cuticular cell loss exposes the inner layers of hair to the entry of excessive water and chemicals which can then damage the inner layers.

heat blog image 2 (1)

3. Hair texture altering treatments (straightening, perming, relaxing)

Several chemical treatments that are designed to alter hair’s shape or colour (straightening, perming , relaxing) work at the level of the cortex. Any change in hair texture or shape requires that the disulfide bonds within the cortex need to be dissolved. This damages the hair’s basic structural integrity at its core.

perming blog image 3 (1)

4. Highlights and colourants

Permanent hair colourants use an oxidation reaction that requires a compbination of para dyes (para-phenylenediamine, para-toluenediamine, and para-aminophenol ) with hydrogen peroxide. The hair colouration process takes place inside the cortex of the hair and the entry of these molecules into the hair cortex is facilated by the ammonia in hair dyes and some colours. In the newly advertised “ammonia free” dyes, this entry of the colour molecules is facilitated instead by sodium carbonate or ethylamine – so while your hair colour may be ammonia free, it is still a very dangerous process and is quietly damaging the core of your hair as it uses chemicals to slip past the hair’s natural barriers.

hair colour blog image 4 (1)

5. Chemically treated henna

Henna is also being contaminated by the addition of PPD dyes, and kali mehendi or “black henna” is a mixture of henna with PPD derivatives and hydrogen peroxide. Apart from cortex damage, hair dyes also strip the hair of 18-methyleicosanoic acid or 18-MEA. This is an important lipid component of the cuticle. When this is removed from hair, hair becomes coarse and dull.

 

A prescription for happy, healthy hair :

Here’s the first thing: our hair’s structural design ensures that our hair is supposed to look beautiful and feel healthy. All that we want from great hair: shiny, glossy, strong, long, etc, is achieved through the cells, polysaccharides and disulfide bonds and everything else in hair’s natural design.

But here’s the second thing: Unfortunately, we all seem to be rather proud of subjecting our hair to the equivalent of a harsh concentration camp: by using products that are designed to seek and destroy the fine structure of our hair.

So is there a prescription to healthy happy hair?

Yes there is. And we are going to spend more time on this in the Krya blog. But our prescription in short is this:

Oil your hair regularly, wash it when it feels dirty (not too often) with the gentlest possible natural shampoo. Don’t heat it in any way. Eat well and leave it alone.

prescription for healthy hair

  • Oiling, as you might have guessed, helps work the arrector muscles, stimulates the papilla and lends a helping hand to your sebaceous glands as you get older.
  • Washing it less frequently, keeps your cell structure intact – which is important if your hair is already damaged and cannot handle too much washing.
  • Not heating hair too much just makes sense – hair is made of protein, so heating it is basically cooking it – think of frying tofu or an egg – you create an irreversible chemical reaction when you “cook” hair with hot air or water.
  • Eating well is a good prescription for healthy anything – hair, skin, everything else. Our bodies are designed to be supported with dense, nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, high quality grains and micronutrients. Good eating repairs your whole body and gets your hair back to good health.

Lastly, your hair deserves a gentle, completely natural product that does not stress it out. Look for sulphate free, paraben free, all natural shampoos – your shampoo should gently work with you to lift out dirt and additional grease form your hair and scalp. It should not remove so much oil that your hair “squeaks” afterwards. A shampoo that uses natural, plant based surfactants like soapberry, shikakai, is gentle and effective on hair and skin.

So there you have it – a simple, do-able prescription to start with. Does it work? Yes it does. It did for me and a whole lot of other people you are going to be read about this month.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here.

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  2. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend – http://krya.in/blogk/2015/07/my-hair-feels-like-itself/
  3. Is beauty external? We think not – http://krya.in/blogk/2015/02/the-tree-of-life-the-holistic-approach-to-beauty-health/
  4. What should you be looking for on that product label?  

 

 

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