How heat damages hair!

I saw a post on Relaxed Hair Health website about the effects of air drying and blow drying on hair and I felt I should share this information.
There have been several studies on the effects of heat on the hair. I recently published a post on how blow drying hair can cause bubble hair damage.
Today, I’ll do my best to summarize two studies on the effects of direct heat and hair.

First, I’ll talk about this study on blow drying.
Chemically untreated hair was obtained from De Meo Brothers (New York, USA) and washed using 1% (w/w) sodium dodecyl sulfate, and then thoroughly rinsed with tap water and dried.
Methods
A standardized drying time was used to completely dry each hair tress, and each tress was treated a total of 30 times.
Air flow was set on the hair dryer. The tresses were divided into the following five test groups:
(a) no treatment,
(b) drying without using a hair dryer at an ambient room temperature of 20 degrees Celsius ( labelled group 20),
(c) drying with a hair dryer for 60 seconds at a distance of 15 cm and a temperature of 47 degrees Celsius (labelled group 47),
(d) drying with a hair dryer for 30 seconds at a distance of 10 cm and a temperature of 61 degrees Celsius (labelled group 61),
(e) drying with a hair dryer for 15 seconds at a distance of 5 cm and a temperature of 95 degrees Celsius (labelled group 95).

Results
1. Hair surface damage was examined after repeated shampooing and drying.
Lifting or cracks were not evident in the untreated and naturally dried groups.
In the 47-treated group, multiple longitudinal cracks were observed in the cuticle. More obvious lifting and cracks of the cuticle were noted in the 61-treated group.
The most severe damage of the cuticle was observed in the 95-treated group, with many cracks, holes, and hazy cuticle borders being evident.

2. Cortex
In terms of cortex damage, there were no signs of damage in any group . All cortex compartments, including melanin granules and cortical cells, were well preserved in all treated groups compared with the untreated group.

3. Cell membrane complex (CMC)
Only the naturally dried group exhibited the bulging that is the sign of a damaged CMC.
Natural drying, exposure to ambient temperature after gently remove dripping water drops with towel, is usually considered to be safer than using a hair dryer. However, damage to the CMC was noted only in the naturally dried group and earlier changes in hair color were seen in this group and the 95 group. This effect of natural drying has not been studied or described before. It is conceivable that a long lasting wet stage is as harmful as a high drying temperature (and may be even more dangerous to the CMC). Further evaluation about contact time with water or wet environment and hair damage is needed.

4. Color changes
Drying under the ambient and 95-conditions appeared to change hair color, especially into lightness, after just 10 treatments. In all treated groups, the hair was brighter than its original condition after 30 repeated cycles.

One major conclusion of this study was this: Although using a hair dryer causes more surface damage than natural drying, using a hair dryer at a distance of 15 cm with continuous motion causes less damage than drying hair naturally. Beat me on my head! Wow!

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Study on the effect of flat irons on hair
Hair thermal damage and the effect of various polymeric pretreatments were investigated using measurements of hair treated with flat irons.
1. The results showed obvious degradation of hair keratin.

2. In addition, thermally treated hair shows reduced water regain and lower water retention, compared to the non-thermally treated hair, which might be attributed to the protein conformation changes due to heat damage.

3. Thermally stressing hair also led to significantly increased hair breakage when subjected to combing.

After reading these studies, I’ve come to the following conclusions:
– I won’t let my hair dry for too long or keep my deep conditioner in overnight. I’ll be sitting under my hair dryer to dry my hair on a cold air setting from now on.
– I will reduce the number of times I co-wash and wash my hair. One thing the study talked about was hair color change. I have noticed that my hair is reddish! In the past, I could co-wash my hair like 2 or 3 times a week but it’s a maximum of once a week washing for me now.
– I will maintain my resolve to use direct heat as little as possible.

So, how often do you use flat irons or hand dryers?

© Copyright 2013 Dr Fomsky, All rights Reserved. Written For: Get your Sizzelle on!

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