Hair 101 series on wednesday by Krya – Hair elasticity

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

We spoke about how human hair was closest in texture and composition to silk and animal proteins like wool, last week in our Hair 101 series. We also spoke a few weeks earlier about hair porosity and why hair becomes porous with excessive shampooing and chemical treatments, and why that is not a good thing.

 

Hair elasticity and hair porosity are 2 sides of the hair health coin.

 

Our hair is supposed to be slightly elastic (note the use of the word, slightly), It is supposed to stretch slightly when we comb it or when it is wet. But it is supposed to bounce back to its normal length and texture when we release it from its pulling force.

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So if you are combing hair that is curly or wavy and you have a few knots, healthy hair is supposed to stretch as you try and tease that tangle out of your hair, without breaking. Once you have detangled your hair, healthy hair is supposed to go back to its original wavy or curly appearance without losing the tightness of the curl.

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Similarly, when hair is wet, it tends to expand and stretch slightly. As long as the cuticular structure is intact, this expansion of stretching is very limited. The cuticular structure limits the water from entering your hair and causing it to swell and break. As long as your cuticles are intact, wetting your hair will only cause a slight, temporary expansion that will go back to normal once hair is dry.

How does having healthy elasticity protect your hair?

Having the correct amount of elasticity allows your hair strands to stay intact without breakage whenever your hair is manipulated mechanically (for example combed, brushed, de-tangled, twisted into a braid, slept on, etc). Elasticity also helps keep the hair structure intact. So if you have curly or wavy hair, your hair’s elasticity allows your hair to comb back to its normal appearance and shape even after washing it, or temporarily straightening it.

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What reduces hair elasticity? Weathering due to high shampooing and chemical use

We spoke about how hair porosity increases (excessive shampooing, use of hard water, blow drying, colours and synthetic treatments). The more you subject your hair to these treatments, the faster your hair ages or “weathers”. Just like aging skin loses its elasticity and begins to sag, weathered hair loses its elasticity and becomes porous and dry.

 

So here are Krya’s 3 recommendations to retain your hair’s elasticity:

  1. Pre-treat and Protect your hair from swelling and dehydration and friction that occurs when it is wet

The layer just below the hair’s cuticular structure is called the endocuticle. The endocuticle can absorb a lot of water and swell very fast. Usually in healthy hair, the endocuticle is guarded by 4 – 11 layers of interlocking cuticles. This layer, when intact, reduces the amount of water that reaches the endocuticle so the hair’s welling is controlled. But f your hair is already weathered and has lost parts of its cuticular structure, the endocuticle swells very fast.

Pre-treating hair with a layer of oil helps repel water to some extent and protects the endocuticle from absorbing water too fast. A pre-treatment works best if your hair is oiled atleast an hour before your wash. We also recommend spreading the oil well through the hair by detangling your hair well and combing it so the oil spreads evenly and covers your hair strands well.

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  1. Choose a very mild shampoo, that is preferably naturally mildly acidic

Most shampoos are very harsh on hair, and quickly cause cuticular damage. Surprisingly, even no-poo shampoos that depend upon baking soda and vinegar are also harsh on hair, causing rapid swelling of the endocuticle. Natural detergent herbs like Shikakai, Soapberry are better for hair when mixed with the right amount of naturally acidic ad conditioning herbs. They are not as efficient as removing oil as alkaline soaps or shampoos are, and help retain the scalp’s natural pH better.

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  1. Prevent hair dehydration at other times

Hair that is even partially porous is quick to lose its natural moisture because of gaps in the cuticular structure. So, if your hair is already weathered due to excessive shampooing, heat based treatments or styling, we advise coating it frequently with a thin layer of oils, especially before you step out. The air-conditioner, strong wind and heat can quickly de-hydrate porous hair, so a thin layer of herbal oil helps seal the hair from drying elements.

This oil is best applied in small quantities on the scalp and at portions of the hair which are very dry like the ends of your hair.

Apart from protective oiling, we also advise covering your hair protecting it from drying wind, heat and the cold.

 

Krya product recommendations for hair with poor elasticity:

The Krya Damage repair hair oil is an excellent hair oil to repair high porosity and improve elasticity if your hair is weathered due to chemical damage. This oil is very suitable for leave in application as a protective layer as well.

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Five simple ways to minimize hair damage from your shampoo

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

It is no secret that we at Krya think a shampoo and a synthetic hair dye are the very 2 worst villains to hit the Hair Universe. A shampoo is to us a much bigger Super Villain than even a synthetic hair dye, simply because it seems so innocuous, pleasant and definitely not scare inducing. This in no way exonerates a synthetic hair dye from being a super villain. So if you spot one, stay away from it, keep your kids, dogs and cats away from it, and lock your doors to prevent its entry into your home!

 

Apart from SLS and SLeS, the industrial degreasers used to clean cars which are the main cleaning agents found in a synthetic shampoo, a shampoo contains other nasty minions. Ethanolamines, parabens, fragrances, DEA, silicones are the many many classes of supper villainous ingredients you are likely to encounter in your shampoo.

1. super villains

Even an industry funded body like the Cosmetics Ingredient review is cautious about the use of ethanolamines in shampoos– they ask users, (i.e. us who love our synthetic shampoo)s, to use Ethanolamines only briefly for very short periods of time, scrub vigorously to ensure there is no residue left on your hair 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”.
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.

And this property of persistence exists even in the products we use on ourselves like our synthetic shampoos.

2. persisitence
A recent paper published by researchers at Cornell University is titled “Molecular cartography of the human skin surface in 3D”. The researchers have 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 persistence of SLS on your scalp from your shampoo

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.

3.chemcial persisitence

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 used after sunscreen application.

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 entre armpit area.

 

Co-incidence? We think not.  We think that everyone should avoid using a synthetic shampoo, and actually any manner of synthetic personal care product. (This may come as a surprise to you, if your have been looking up phrases like a “natural hair fall remedy shampoo”, or an “organic dandruff shampoo” or a “sulphate free shampoo”! )

But if you are still transitioning and can’t seem to give up your synthetic shampoo completely, here is what we suggest.

 

5 ways to protect your hair from your synthetic shampoo:

  1. Start by oiling your hair really well

A good herbal hair oil does many things for you, as we often write about. In Ayurveda, hair oil exists to cool the brain and eyes and regulate pitta dosha. But when you want to protect your hair from your synthetic shampoo, your herbal hair oil is your best friend and hair bodyguard.

Oiling your hair strands and scalp well before using your synthetic shampoo, helps form a fantastic barrier function between your hair and your shampoo. It also gives the SLS in your shampoo something else to work on outside of your hair’s natural sebum, helping leaving your sebum somewhat intact.

4. oiling before shampooing

Also, unoiled hair is very vulnerable to cuticular damage by synthetic shampoo. Pre-oiling helps limit this damage to some extent.

Krya recommends frequent oiling in small doses during the week. For your pre-shampoo oiling, we recommend doing it ideally an hour before washing your hair.

  1. Rinse your hair extremely well with cool water first before using your shampoo

Water is the first cleanser that your hair needs. The cleaner the water, the better for your hair, so avoid salty, hard or chlorinated water as much as possible. Water itself is a very good cleanser, so rinsing your hair thoroughly before shampooing helps remove some part of the dirt, dead cell and grease build-up and excess oil on the hair. Rinsing helps you save on using more shampoo.

5. wash with plain water

Krya recomends: Cool water additionally helps seal your hair shaft so it helps keep your hair’s cuticular structure in decent shape. You should be spending ideally atleast 3 – 5 minutes in the rinsing process.

 

  1. Use less, far less shampoo than recommended. Dilute even this quantity severely.

Most of us over dose on synthetic shampoos.  The foam compels us to over wash with the shampoo even when it is not needed. As we have stated above, shampoos are extremely persistent on hair. And as we are unable to see any residue is left behind, we assume w have washed off the shampoo from our hair, when in fact we have not. And a little goes a long way to both clean and damage your hair.

6.diluted shampoo

Foam does not cleanse your hair. Your surfactant does. Because we are all so addicted to foam, shampoos contain foam boosters to make us think the shampoo is doing a very gentle but through cleansing. As you have been reading, this is far from the truth. Diluting your shampoo will make it foam LESS, but this is MUCH BETTER for your hair.

Krya recommends: halving or quartering the quantity you normally use, and diluting the shampoo by 50% with plain water.

  1. Shampoo less Frequently. Maximum twice a week.

We have all been fed the manufacturer led myth that we ought to be shampooing every single day. We have been threatened that not doing so will make our hair prone to dandruff, make it dirty, increase hair fall, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Frequent washing strains the hair’s sebaceous glands, forcing them to work faster between washes to produce sebum. As you age, when sebum production starts to go down, this tends to become next to impossible for your scalp to keep up with. So, when you over wash, you will find hair becoming oilier between washes when you are younger, and extremely dry as you age.

7. restrict shampooing

This leaves the scalp in a permanent state of imbalance: too oily and attracting dirt and fungal dandruff, or too dry, aggravating dry scalp dandruff and hair that break very easily.

Krya recommends: If you are used to frequent shampooing and want to transition, use plain water to rinse your hair frequently. Restrict shampooing with your synthetic shampoo to once or only twice a week.

 

  1. Here’s what we recommend most of all : switch to a better hairwash product

If using a synthetic shampoo is going to come with so many disclaimers, do you really want to continue using one? Try one of Krya’s all natural hairwashes instead.

Our hair washes come with their own set of disclaimers, but there are a wildly different set of disclaimers from synthetic shampoos. Our hair washes are powders and are super low foaming. We use only natural herbs as surfactants, so they foam only about 20% as much as your synthetic shampoo.

8. a better hairwash

As we use whole herb powders, you might find hairwash residue in your hair if you don’t rinse well. And as we are all used to much stronger shampoos, you may find that the hairwash does not remove oil as well as your synthetic shampoo in the beginning. Our natural hair washes have a transition period, but once you get over this phase, you will find that they work really well to cleanse your hair WITHOUT the side effects that a synthetic shampoo has.

Oh, and did we mention: you can skip the conditioner with our hair washes!

Krya’s range of natural haircare products can be explored here:

 

 

 

 

 

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Hair care herbs around the world

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

My hair epiphany happened when I was 28. I was in a lab, with my friend who specialized in natural herbs and their application in skin and hair care products. We were discussing hair damage, and she made a remark that startled me.

“Preethi, almost every single woman I know has damaged hair”, she said. I hotly disagreed, and ran my hand through my hair to disprove her.

Yes, I coloured my hair, I added, but I spent top dollar to buy the best products money could buy. I was careful to choose ammonia free colours. I used the best shampoo, conditioner, and serum I could buy. I had even added a post wash spray on serum for care and gloss. Hell, I actually spent a significant proportion of my salary buying high quality haircare products – surely my hair wasn’t damaged?

“So give me a strand of your hair”, she said, “and let’s look at it under the microscope”.

And I did.

My hair was appalling.

The cuticular scales were missing and damaged. I could see gaping portions of the hair shaft visible under the 200X pitiless magnification of the sophisticated microscope in my friend’s lab. She pointed out places where atleast 6 layers of my cuticle were missing.

And she exhaustively listed every single treatment I was doing to my hair which was damaging it – shampooing with an SLS / SLeS based shampoo, blow drying it with my fancy hair styler, colouring it every other month in different colours, perming it (once), straightening it (twice), and washing it almost every single day to keep it bouncy and ungreasy.

“You do know that your hair isn’t supposed to be washed so often, or feel so greasy, right?”, she casually added. “Your hair is supposed to be healthy and look good, without using so many synthetic products”.

We believe all kinds of things about hair – but if there’s one thing we should believe in, it is this. Like my friend said to me 9 years ago, your hair is supposed to look good. It is designed to look awesome. And its awesomeness is not just aesthetic, it is also functional. The same stuff that keeps it glossy and shiny, also keeps it strong, whole and protects it from damage.

Unfortunately, almost every single synthetic product we put on our hair to wash, condition, straighten, colour or perm it damages it. Pretty badly.

Yet human hair, like the human body, is resilient. It is capable of healing itself and repairing damage, if the damaging conditions are removed.

I am the very first user of all of the products we make at Krya. In the 8 years that have passed since I peered into a microscope to study my hair, convention dictates that my hair should have gotten more fragile, more damaged, and less healthy.

On the contrary, as I transitioned to better food (read mostly organic, whole grain, and plant based), cut the stress (somewhat – I do run a business!), got more air and light in (and stopped working in an air conditioned environment), my hair damage started to reverse. Somewhere along this way, I threw away all the synthetic products I used and started to use only 2 products – a Krya all natural, toxin free shampoo with frequent oiling using a Krya all natural, herb filled oil.

My hair is growing more, breaks less, is less greasy (so I do not have to wash as frequently) and my scalp is flaking less.

Most hair that is damaged due to lifestyle reasons can be coaxed back into good health. And we are going to be spending a lot of August, telling you just how, on the Krya blog. We are also going to be running some fun contests and giveaways on the Krya facebook page, so do join us there as well.

And to inspire your transition to natural haircare and to re-discover just how good your hair can look / be, we have a very special deal on all of Krya’s haircare products with upto 20% off on all our haircare goodies!

When we write / speak about natural haircare, we often draw a strange blank. We are met with a sense of panic when we recommend you throw away your synthetic shampoo / conditioner and You ask us this: “Just how do I then care for my hair? Am I supposed to just look unfashionable without my serum?”

Hair and herb history – or how people looked good without the SLS

A recent paper I read that studied the plants used in traditional haircare  by Bhil tribals in 3 taluks (Vijaynagar, Khedbrahma and Bhiloda of Aravalli ranges ) in Sabarkantha district in Gujarat . They treat hair ailments with plant remedies based on their inherited knowledge handed down from their local vaidyas in the tribe. Nearly 25 plants were listed in the research conducted among tribals from 3 taluks in a single district in India.

The traditional Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita, Sarangadhara Samhita and Bhaisajya Ratnavalli are full of formulae, herbs and preparations both internal and external to cleanse hair, treat scalp infections, promote hair growth, and even colour and condition it. Siddha texts including the more recent “Anubhava Murai vaidyam” by Raja Serfoji includes a similar compendium of hair care herbs.

A reading of Nicholas Culpepper’s seminal work published in the 17th century contains a rich account of herbal and pharmacological knowledge. Culpepper spent most of his life in the outdoors, cataloguing the medicinal herbs found in the English countryside, and was one of the most well known astrological botanists of his day. His approach to herbal medicine have had a far reaching impact on how modern medicine is practices today. For example, he prescribed the medical use of foxglove, a precursor to digitalis , used to treat heart conditions.

These materia medica list thousands of local and indigenous herbs that can be used to safely care for hair. Apart from these formal systems of learning, ethnographic studies or oral traditions in tribal communities also records the rich and varied use of herbs to treat ailments and to enhance beauty.

Today we have presented just 5 of these many thousand herbs used for healthy haircare.

  1. Mushta / Nagarmotha /Indian Nutgrass / Cyperus rotundus

Mushta is discussed elaborately by Acharya Sushruta, acharya Vagbhatta and Acharya Charaka.  Acharya Charaka describes this plant to cool pitta and treat pitta related conditions like diarrhea and skin infections. Acharya Vagbhatta described Mushta as a febrifuge that cools down pitta induced fevers.

 

In Cambodia, Mushta is known as a diuretic herb. Traditional Chinese medicine describes Mushta as being effective against liver disease (interestingly the liver is considered the seat of Pitta in Ayurveda). In srilanka, Mushta decoction is taken internally to reduce fevers, diarrhea and stomach complaints.

mushta - krya aug 4 blog 4

As Mushta brings down pitta and has a woody fragrance, it was often used as a decoction or a paste to cleanse hair. It was also added to hair oils to delay graying and keep hair soft, well conditioned and healthy.

Mushta can be found in many of Krya’s skin and haircare products including the Krya Classic Hair Oil, the Krya Classic Hairwash, the Krya Abhyanga bath powder for women, the Krya After Sun Bodywash, The Krya Body wash for Men, etc.

  1. Nimba / Neem / Azadirachta indica

In vedic literature, Neem is mentioned several times. Acharya Charaka classified Nimba as a Kandughna (anti pruritic) drug. Acharya Charaka used the flowers of Nimba in Nasya treatment and indicated that it is to be used extrenaly in skin diseases.

Acharya Vagbhatta described the seed oil of Nimba as being very effective in the treatment of grey hair and hair fall.

Neem leaf , neem seed oil and neeem flowers are traditionally used in hair and skin care. Neem helps bring down scalp itching, scalp dermatitis and scalp psoriasis. It is a very effective anti bacterial cleanser and deodorizes scalp and skin with regular use.

nimba - krya aug 4 blog 3

The crushed seeds and leaves are applied over hair as insecticide to kill lice. The infusion of fresh leaves is applied on the head to cure dandruff. The mixture of seed and exuded sap from trees growing near water, is massaged on the scalp for promoting hair growth.

Nimba can be found in Krya’s anti dandruff system, the Krya Kids ubtan, and the Krya Anti acne face wash.

  1. Amalaki / Phyllanthus embellica / Indian gooseberry

The Indian gooseberry is renowned in Ayurveda and Siddha and is called the “Dhatri” or the Nurse. It is one of the few herbs that contain all 6 tastes, and is therefore considered a perfect food. It is not a surprise, therefore to see such frequent mentions of this fruit in Vedic literature and in Ayurveda.

The Texts classify Amlaka as a Chavanaprasha and Rasayana (rejuvenative, life expectancy enhancing, youth promoting) herb. It has extremely strong anti microbial activity, hypoglycaemic activity, hypolipidimic activity and anti emetic activity.

amla - krya aug 4 blog 4

It is a strong, health giving and hair nourishing herb which promotes hair growth, retards graying, removes excess pitta and conditions hair. It is also an extremely rich source of Vitamin c which stimulates healthy hair and skin growth even in the boiled / dry form (a unique fruit as generally Vitamin C is water soluble and disappears on boiling).

Amlaki is found across all Krya hair formulations including the Krya Classic hair system, the Krya extra conditioning hair system, the Krya damage repair hair system and the Krya anti dandruff hair system.

  1. Saw Palmetto / Serenoa repens (Peruvian ginseng) /

Saw Palmetto is a palm like plant with berries that grows in the south eastern united states. The berries were a staple food for Native Americans. The active ingredients in Saw palmetto include fatty acids, plant sterols and flavonoids. Saw palmetto is prescribed in Europe for Benign prostrate hyperplasia (a non cancerous enlargement of the prostrate gland). The berries are also expectorant, a mild sedative and help expel mucous. The herb is also used to treat urinary disorders.

saw palmetto - krya aug 4 blog 2

Historically, saw palmetto was used to stop hair loss and trigger healthy hair growth. Research suggests that saw palmetto inhibits DHT (dihydotestosterone), an enzyme that is associated with male pattern baldness.

  1. Soapwort (a cousin of the Indian soapberry ) / Saponaria officinalis

Soapwort comes from a family of nearly 30 species of saponin containing plants found in Europe, parts of Asia and Western Siberia. Soapwort leaves and roots can be used as a gentle cleanser for hair and skin. Historical anecdotes indicate it was used to clean the Shroud of Turin.

soapwort - krya aug 4 blog 1

It has also been used historically, much like its Indian cousin, the Soapberry to clean delicate fabric like wool and garments with lace.

So there you have it – we read about 5 herbs that have been used historically around the world to cleanse and care for hair.


 

As we are fond of saying, the chemical consumer product industry is about 150 years old. But human beings have been washing, bathing and keeping themselves clean for millennia. And we did pretty well (apart from that brief blip during the Black plague in medieval Europe). The most brilliant thing about the human body is its ability to heal itself, if the conditions that cause it harm are removed. Similarly, hair that is damaged due to lifestyle reasons can be coaxed back into good health.

To inspire this change and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August?

Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products at special prices all of August here.

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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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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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The SLeS & SLS free soap: bathing without sulphates

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

Krya’s skin and hair care products contain an interesting declaration which we are proud of. It states that our products are free from SLS, SLES, Parabens and other synthetics including (but not limited to) chemical fragrances, colours, thickeners, fillers, foam boosters and any other weird substance you could think of. This means that our cleansers (both hair and body) are an answer to your search for an “SLS free soap” or an “SLES free shampoo”.

Our post today will focus on SLS and SLES and why we believe that these 2 ingredients should NOT be present in any personal care product. The post will also focus on many natural alternatives to SLS and SLeS.

The original SLS free soap: made from 2500 BC

Detergents, car washes, pet washes, shampoos, baby washes, face washes – if something foams a lot, and comes from your favorite brand of hair/skin/home care (other than Krya), the chances are it uses Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Sodium Laureth Sulphate as a surfactant.

Originally the only cleaning products in the western hemisphere was a a soap. And it tended to be a naturally SLS free version.

Soap has a hoary old history and we have archaeological evidence of the Babylonians making it in 2500 BC. Soap isn’t the greatest or gentlest product you could use on skin – but it is an efficient cleanser. So it was used when people were direly in need of thorough cleaning.

soap and candle maker in medieval times project gutenbergSoap & candle maker in medieval times - Project Gutenberg

After the world war, the use of old fashioned soap started to go down as synthetic detergents derived from petroleum started taking over in all cleansing products. Synthetic detergent surfactants like SLS and SLES were cheaper than soap, made thicker and denser foam, were much stronger degreasers, and did not react with calcium present in water to form soap scum or “soap rings”.

SLS and SLES started out purely in detergents. As their popularity grew, they appeared in personal care products like shampoos, body washes, face washes, products used on babies and even toothpastes.

It’s safe to say today that if you are using any kind of synthetic foaming product, it almost definitely contains SLS, SLES or some form of sulphate surfactant.

5 reasons why you should ditch SLS / SLES in your personal care product:

  1. Dry skin and hair every time you wash

Dirt on skin and scalp sticks to the natural oil layer secreted by the body. This oil layer, called the sebum, helps naturally moisturize skin and creates a protective barrier keeping it free from harmful micro organisms.

 Xeroderma_knucklesXeroderma – acute dry skin which cracks, scales and itches. Associated with low relative humidity and frequent bathing or hand washing with harsh soaps

SLS and SLES dissolve this 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.

  1. Aggressively oily skin and hair sometime after you wash

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.

oily samosa

“My hair would feel like a wrung out oily papad or samosa, a day after washing with a synthetic shampoo” – verbatim quotes from Krya consumers complaining about the after effects of using a synthetic shampoo

This is very common among users of shampoos that contain SLS and SLES. 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.

  1. Aggressive washing can harm your body’s natural micro biome layer

Our skin contains more than 1000 species of micro organisms that live in it. Nearly a trillion bacteria are estimated to be a part of this rich and complex micro biome layer. A study by the National Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland found that there was also a large fungal diversity across the body. The human heel alone, hosts 60 different species of fungi and nearly 40 species just between the toes!

microbiome layer of skin - courtesy nature magazine

The human microbiome – a wonderful, natural shield that envelopes our skin protecting us – source Nature.com

In their natural state, these beneficial bacteria almost act as an invisible shield on our body. They prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing our skin, and even stimulate our immune system’s response in case there is an attack on us. The bacteria present in our sweat, secrete lactic acid that helps keep our pH at a range between 4 – 4.5. This acidic pH of our skin is one of the major ways in which our skin prevents the entry of harmful micro organisms.

Under alkaline conditions, (for example when you use a soap, which is a known alkaline product), the bacteria on our skin are detached and removed easily. Our skin also swells under alkaline conditions, opening up and allowing embedded micro organisms to float and move out of its surface. This also leaves the cell structure open and naked, shorn of its protective micro biome layer.

microbiome injury

 

When the microbiome is destroyed – extent of devastation after a simple bath or hand washing with synthetic soaps

Intensive use of alkaline products, aggressive surfactants (SLS, SLES) or the use of antiseptic liquids and soaps can lead to a higher degree of infectious attacks by gram negative bacteria as your beneficial micro biome layer is ripped apart.

 

  1. Skin irritation, cankers , and cavities

SLS is a knownskin irritant. Constant exposure to SLS irritates skin. Animal studies indicate that it can irritate eyes as well on contact. It can also aggravate skin problems when skin is already sensitive.

pre molar dental cariesDental caries in the pre molar tooth – SLS is linked to interference with the flouride pathway in teeth

In toothpastes, studies show that the incidence of canker sores increase with the use of SLS based toothpastes. Separate studies also indicate that SLS interferes with the fluoride pathway in teeth, preventing the deposition of fluoride on tooth enamel – fluoride deposition helps keep teeth stronger and cavity free.

  1. Possible carcinogenic activity due to contamination with 1,4 dioxane

SLES is the ethoxylated compound of SLS. During the process of ethoxylation, SLES can get contaminated by 1, 4 dioxane, which then shows up in products that contain SLES, (sometimes upto 279 parts per million). The US National Toxicology programme classifies 1, 4 dioxane as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. It is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a Group 2B carcinogen: possibly carcinogenic to humans as it is a known carcinogen on animals”.

There is no known safe limit for this possible carcinogen. Testing by the FDA has found 1,4 dioxane being present in even children’s shampoos upto 85 ppm – Remember this is an ingredient that should be to be completely absent in any skin or personal care product.

To sum up:

Why SLS - SLES are Nos - blog infographic

 

What are my options? And why shouldn’t I use soap to clean my hair and skin?

A reader may be excused for feeling alarmed now that the foam has been wiped away. We’ve just made SLES and SLS extremely unattractive options to clean with. We’ve also firmly told you to get rid of your bar soap, unless you are super filthy.

What is one supposed to do without soap, you may question, rather indignantly.

Recorded history suggests that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 BC and the Phoenicians definitely knew about soap making by 600 BC. The first “hard proof” of soap making is in Roman times. The Pompeii ruins have a soap factory complete with finished soap bars.

Despite their knowledge and use of soap, the Romans did NOT use soap to bathe in. They instead used a mixture of olive oil and sand to scrub their body. A scraper called “the strigil” was then used to scrape off this mixture along with any dirt, grease and dead cells from skin. The roman “bath” was the finished off by moisturization using herb infused salves.

Even Galen did not recommend soap for all purpose bathing by everyone – he recommended the judicious use of soap ONLY in certain skin conditions which required the harsh but through cleansing that only soap can give.

 

Our solution: grain, clay and herb based cleansers

If you trace bathing and hygiene across warm and tropical climates, you will find a consistent use of herbs, oils, muds and clays to keep skin clean. In these areas, bathing frequency was higher and skin diseases arose as a result of sweat, and the pervasive nature of insects, and micro organisms which flourished in these warm climates.

Traditional Indian systems document hundreds of herbs that can be used in combination with grains, lentils and clays to make safe, effective skin and hair cleansers.

Here are 5 grains / herbs and clays you should be exploring to substitute SLS / SLES personal care products:

  1. Mung Beans – Traditionally used in skin care India, the Mung bean is an excellent skin cleanser. It exfoliates and gently lifts away dead cells from skin, yet is gentle and safe enough to be used evn on a very small baby, as it is even today in traditional Indian homes.

Wash, sun dry and powder organic whole Mung beans to form the base of your daily skin cleansing product. It can also be used as an excellent hair cleansing base for young children.

  1. Rice Powder – Fabled in traditional Japanese culture for its skin lightening and exfoliation properties, rice powder is another invaluable ingredient in your skin care arsenal.

 Wash, shade dry and powder finely, organic Rice powder. Add this to your face and body cleanser to give your skin an even tone and texture. Limit usage if your skin is extremely dry.

  1. Amla / Indian Gooseberry – Amla also called Embellic myrobylan is one of the 3 great Myrobalans in Ayurveda, Siddha and traditional Tibetan medicine. It is a kayakalpa herb, that rejuvenates, revitalises and regenerates body tissue. It is tridoshic and satisfies all 6 rasas / tastes, according to Ayurveda.

A small amount of cleaned, washed, cored, sun dried and finely pounded Amla powder is a fantastic adition to skin and hair care products. It helps keep the pH of the product in the acidic range, and is a strongly cleansing and toxin removing ingredient.

  1. Cyperus rotundus / Nutgrass / Mustha – Nutgrass also called Nagarmotha or Mustha in Sanskrit and Cyperus rotundus in Latin, is a gorgeous underground tuber that is used in Ayurveda and Siddha for various ailments. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with a nut, and is a starchy underground tuber that has been eaten by many ancient civilisations. Cyperus rotundus is native to Africa, Southern & Central Europe and Southern Asia.

Its pharmacological properties include anti inflammatory action, anti pyretic and analgesic action. Nutgrass is one of nature’s deodorizers – which makes it a great addition in a body wash product.

 Look for forest collected (and not cultivated or sprayed) nutrgass. Scrub the tubers thoroughly to remove traces of clay, sun dry and powder finely. Add this to your bodywashes for a refreshing , naturally de-odourizing product.

  1. Fuller’s Earth / Multani Mitti – Clays (of different kinds) have been used across various cultures to cleanse and care for skin and hair. Depending on their origin, different clays are good for different kinds of skin. The international skin care world has already gone gaga over Rhassoul clay and French green clay. In India, we have the sandal coloured, fine multani mitti available.

Multani mitti is an oil adsorbing clay and works very well on oily skin and greasy scalps. It is a very gently cleansing alternative to foam based surfactants and can be used effectively in both skin and hair care products.

 When used on hair, ensure it is used on oiled, or already greasy hair. Do not let it settle on scalp as it becomes harder to wahs off hair as it dries. Look for unadulterated, Multani mitti – buying clay blocks and powdering them yourself help check any contamination or adulteration.

 natural herb magic

 

9 Krya alternatives to SLS / SLES :

1. SLS + SLES + Paraben + Synthetic free face washes – Try our grain, lentil and herb blended face washes with aromatic herbs like liquorice and peppermint. Tested and researched for over a year, our face washes work gently to cleanse facial skin without stripping it of moisture. Explore more here, there, and there. Also, here’s one for Men (yes, you do deserve to look after your skin).

krya face wash classic

2. SLS + SLES + Paraben +Synthetic free body wash – The all new deodorizing Krya bodywash uses herbs like Lemongrass, and Palmarosa to give you delicately scented and smooth skin – no SLS/SLES, no sebum stripping

krya bodywash classic

 

Explore more here.

3. SLS + SLES + Paraben +Synthetic free hair washes – Try our gently foaming, scalp loving range of hair washes. Our shampoo gently lifts dead cells and dirt from scalp and hair without destroying hair’s cell structure or its acid mantle. Leaves hair feeling cleanse, light and alive.

Explore more here and here.

4. SLS+SLES free home cleansers – Try our all natural detergent and dishwash, made from soapberries , and other herbs like lemongrass. We use only organic and forest collected herbs and both our cleansers work great on clothes and dishes, help save water and are gentle on skin.

Explore more here & here:

We are on the warpath against SLS, SLES and all the nasties that go into stuff that we are supposed to use on ourselves. We think we deserve to use better products.

Do you think so to? Do you have a story to share or a comment for us? Write to me : preethi@krya.in

A happy, toxin free, nourished and clean day to you.

 

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