Cleopatra had packs made of henna and safflower oil prepared for her hair, Princess Sissi spent a whole day cleaning her hair, using eggs and brandy. In short, time and attention have always been dedicated to hair. And not only by women, men also care a lot about this part of the body! Today we'll therefore try to shed light on the properties of keratin, a substance that we hear a lot about and to which various beauty products are dedicated. We will try to understand what science says about the benefits of keratin for hair health, we will see the foods that can stimulate its synthesis and cosmetic treatments based on this substance.
Keratin, what science says
Keratin is a protein and is the building block of the hair structure. Sun, wind, aggressive treatments and other oxidative stressors, such as pollution, an unbalanced diet, smoking and a stressful life, can affect the keratin in the hair and weaken it. This is why nowadays it is very easy to find cosmetic products dedicated to hair containing keratin. These products aim to restore strength and youth, hydration and softness to the hair and to restore damaged fiber (Basit et al, Biotechnol Rep, 2018 - Roddick Lanzilotta et al, J Cosmet Sci, 2007). In untreated hair, applications of products containing keratin have been able to improve the strength and resistance of the hair by 40%. But even treated hair, such as, for example, following bleaching, benefits greatly, improving resistance and softness (Tinoco et al, Int J Cosmet Sci, 2018).
How to stimulate the natural production of keratin
The Annurca apple is a type of apple produced in Italy, in particular from the Campania area. This apple is characterized by a high content of antioxidants, such as procyanidins. Well, the intake of annurca apple, even in the form of a supplement, has been shown to increase the synthesis of keratin and fortify the hair (Piccolo et al, Nutrients, 2019).
Then, since keratin is a protein composed mainly of the amino acids lysine and cysteine, it is important not to miss foods containing these substances, in order to stimulate the natural synthesis of this protein. For example, lysine is contained in fish, meat and eggs, cysteine in garlic, onions, cabbage, watercress and broccoli (Almohanna et al, Dermatol Ther, 2019). Also important is the role of vitamin B6, found in white meat, fish, spinach, dried fruit and legumes, which stimulates the formation of keratin from cysteine (Goluch-Koniuszy et al, Prz Menopauzalny, 2016 ). There are also keratin supplements, but in these cases it is necessary to pay attention and strictly follow the instructions on the package to avoid an excess of keratin.
Keratin-based cosmetic products
On the market there are shampoos, serums and conditioners containing keratin. These products help the hair stay hydrated, soft and shiny (Vazquez Villa et al, BMC Biotechnol, 2013). Instead, pay attention to keratin-based smoothing products that are gaining momentum nowadays. These treatments, which serve to counteract frizz and make curly hair more manageable and which are applied in saloons by professionals, may contain formaldehyde or derivatives and therefore pose a health risk (Weathersby et al, J Cosmet Dermatol, 2013 ).