Saturday, March 30, 2013

UV, Skin And Oils, Psoriasis And Phototherapy Risks

I sent an email to Health Canada about mineral oil baby oil use on skin and UV and received this back some time ago, colour and bolding added by me. I asked for references too and received them as well. This email information was posted by me online previously but not in this blog. Outside of phototherapy, a lot of oil is not going to do much to protect you from UV without a decent SPF, and a broad spectrum SPF is best. A thicker application of petrolatum (Vaseline), or a cream is about such use negatively affecting desired phototherapy results, and possibly the safety of some types of phototherapy. Risk factors include the number of treatments and the UV dose used. See the end of this post for SPF information in previous blog posts. 

"There are a number of resources that support the fact the baby oil (oils in general) can intensify the absorption of UV rays. First of all, oils applied to the skin causes less reflection and refraction (bouncing-off) of the UV rays, therefore allowing larger proportion of the UV radiation to be absorbed by the skin. The skin surface on close inspection is quite irregular and by applying oils you make the surface smoother and more uniform, allowing a larger proportion of the UV radiation to be captured by the skin. Lastly, there are tiny air pockets between the horny scales in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin), creating spaces that allow a lot of scattering of the UV radiation. Oil is the perfect substance that is able to seep between these horny scales and minimizes diffusion of UV rays allowing more of it to penetrate deeper into the skin to be absorbed.

Here are a number of resources/references.

Penetration of epidermis by ultraviolet rays. Everett MA, Yeargers E, Sayre RM, Olson RL.
Photochem Photobiol. 1966 Jul;5(7):533-42.

The light barrier of the epidermis Dermatol Wochenschr. 1965 Jul 24;151 (30):887-9.

Increased penetration of epidermis by high intensity ultraviolet rays following the application of vaseline oil.
Leroy D, Dompmartin A, Deschamps P. Photodermatol. 1986 Feb;3(1):51-2.

Change in ultraviolet (UV) transmission following the application of vaseline to non-irradiated and UVB-exposed split skin K. Hoffmann, K. Kaspar, T. Gambichler, P. Altmeyer British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 143, Issue 3, pages 532–538, September 2000"

It is the thickness of the vaseline or petrolatum application, or cream used, which can make a difference in phototherapy. Thicker application of either can result in a higher dose of UV used, or an increased number of phototherapy treatments.

"Effects of topical preparations on the eyrthemogenicity of UVB: implications for psoriasis phototherapy." 1995, colour added by me.
"Thick application of petrolatum and emollient creams can reduce transmission of UVBMineral oil and a clear liquid emollient did not significantly affect transmission or erythemogenicity of UVB."
erythema defined

"Change in ultraviolet (UV) transmission following the application of vaseline to non-irradiated and UVB-exposed split skin." 2000, colour added by me.
"The thicker the layer of vaseline applied, the lower was the difference in transmission between non-irradiated split skin and UVB-exposed split skin. 
CONCLUSIONS: Application of the correct amount of vaseline can enhance transmission in either the UVA or UVB range, and would enable dose reduction during a course of phototherapy."

While NB-UVB treatment appears to have lower risks, more research needs to be done.

"Incidence of skin cancers in 3867 patients treated with narrow-band ultaviolet B phototherapy", 2008, colour and bolding added by me.
"CONCLUSION: We found no significant association between NB-UVB treatment and BCC, SCC or melanoma. There was a small increase in BCCs amongst those also treated with PUVA. These reassuring results do not demonstrate the early increase in skin cancers that was found associated with PUVA treatment. However, cautious interpretation is required as the cohort contained relatively few patients who had a high treatment number and because the slow evolution of skin cancers may result in a delayed incidence peak. Ongoing risk assessment is therefore essential."

"Enhanced response of childhood psoriasis to narrow-band UV-B with preirradiation use of mineral oil." 2008, colour added by me.
"The cumulative dose for clearance was significantly lower on the emollient pretreated side. No adverse effects were observed with mineral oil or narrow-band ultraviolet-B phototherapy. We conclude that preirradiation use of mineral oil enhances the therapeutic efficacy of narrow-band ultraviolet-B phototherapy in children with widespread psoriasis."

Phototherapy risks 2009

"[Narrow-band UVB therapy in psoriasis vulgaris: good practice guideline and recommendations of the French Society of Photodermatology].", colour and bolding added by me.  
"(2) Adverse effects. The immediate adverse effects were generally of little consequence, with later effects alone posing problems. Because of the risk of induction of cataract, ocular protection must be used during sessions. In the absence of symptoms or known ocular disorder, prior ophthalmologic control is not considered necessary. The risk of skin cancer remains poorly defined, and this risk has not been clearly shown to be lower than with broad-spectrum UVB therapy or PUVA. The studies give no indication of the number of sessions after which therapy must be completely discontinued.

More and larger studies need to be done. 

"Carcenogenic risks of psoralen UV-A therapy and narrowband UV-B therapy in chronic plaque psoriasis: a systematic literature review.2012, colour and bolding added by me.
"CONCLUSION: There is an increased risk of skin cancer following PUVA, shown by both US and European studies. The greater risk measured by the US studies may be at least partly explained by high UVA dose exposure and the lighter phototypes of the treated patients. The lack of prospective studies in psoriasis patients treated with NB-UVB constitutes a barrier to the robust assessment of carcinogenic risk of this phototherapy technique.

See more about phototherapy at the Mayo Clinic 2015

See Also

The New York Times Article "Phototherapy" 2013, information review date "12/3/2013"
and these blog posts, herehere and here, for more details on SPF and hair and scalp protection. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Misting Hair And Reapplying Oil As Often As Every Day To Add Moisture To It

This topic came up in several emails regarding coconut oil and mineral oil use. Coconut oil was and still is being used as a pre-treatment before conventional dye with peroxide, to prevent damage. For that purpose, to condition hair during dyeing, the better feeling of the hair (compared to without using it) after dyeing and dye uptake, it is working very well.

Mineral oil is being used right after and in between dyeing the hair, to moisturize and condition it and it has proven to do so better than coconut oil, when the two oils were assessed for those purposes. While it has also been working very well, mineral oil now works even more effectively because more of it is being used and its distribution throughout the hair after washing has been improved. The hair has not become heavy or greasy.

Coconut oil used as a pre-treatment needs to saturate hair well and that means coatings on the hair are best removed to allow that. Washing the hair can remove mineral oil easily. It can remove enough conditioner too, as long as there is not a lot of residue present. It is best though, to wait a day or so before washing hair and dyeing it. Why? It is about the scalp, not the hair. The day or so allows natural oil from your scalp to recover sufficiently after being removed, to offset conventional dye ingredients and less irritation can result. That is why dyeing is often done on hair that is not freshly washed.

Hair stylists often recommend that you do not deep condition your hair before dyeing it. Deep conditioners usually contain more coating ingredients. It is about the dye taking evenly and well. Coconut oil used as a pre-treatment can increase dye uptake by chelating copper and iron, as well as protect hair from peroxide damage and condition it. Argan oil can do the same things.

The solution to conditioning hair during the waiting time before a coconut oil pre-treatment can be to use a small amount of coconut oil alone, on damp to wet hair if the hair is dry and then adding more coconut oil for at least an hour before dyeing the hair, or other conventional processing like using peroxide alone or bleach.

A problem can occur when reapplying more coconut oil and did, when waiting more days between the initial wash and dyeing the hair and is applicable to using more of any oil frequently on your hair to keep it moisturized. The hair in this case is dry and is made more so from frequent but not too frequent (once a month) dyeing of the roots. The hair became greasy and heavy and not more moisturized, even though misting had been done. In fact, even though oily, the hair felt drier. Needed water had evaporated and had not been replaced during those few days.

When oil is applied to hair, it can reduce the amount of both water vapour and water absorbed by hair.

Misting hair lightly enough to dampen it and applying more oil can be counterproductive in 2 ways.

1. Enough water to moisturize your hair is being restricted by the oil already on or in your hair.

2. Adding more oil can make your hair greasy and increases the chances of build-up, by it not completely being washed out with a mild shampoo or other cleansing methods. That possibility is increased with the use of heavy oils and especially drying oils, that often need repeated clarifying to be completely removed. Some conventional dyes when rinsed out can effectively remove coconut and argan oils, leaving the hair clean and one did remove the coconut oil, for this person.

When I have written about the reapplication of mineral oil, I have referred to enough of it being not been used during the initial application and needing more, to be added to areas of your hair that have been missed. It is about making up the difference in the total amount used, not a full reapplication of it. If enough mineral oil is used on your hair the first time and evenly distributed throughout your hair, more should not be required until after your next hair wash.

See Also
This blog post
and this one
Update 3/4/13
and this forum thread post "[0009]" on conditioners. The information in patents is most illuminating and free of marketing hype.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Do You Need To Cut Damaged Hair Short And Start Regrowing It Longer Again?

The short answer is no. However, it can depend on the extent and type of damage and your patience. I had gone from longer hair to pixie short hair long ago, to deal with that. I know better now because of help I received from the cosmetic industry, my experience and research I have done.

I consulted years later, also long ago, with the head cosmetic chemist of the Research and Development division of a fairly large cosmetic company regarding my own hair, which had become damaged by one of the company's products, by my over zealous use of it, not realizing how badly it could and did, dehydrate my hair. It was a clarifying product. The cosmetic chemist created a regimen for me with the company's products, that re-balanced the moisture level of my hair and strengthened it, while I trimmed off split ends and kept my overall hair length.

The products I used then to help my hair are gone. The company was sold and the products I used were replaced with others I later tried, only to find they were not as effective for my hair. The point is that it can be done. The moisturizing product I used in the regimen contained mineral oil.

Protein treatments along with moisturizing treatments can be a solution to well-balanced hair care. Protein treatments do not last though. They can wash out easily and should not be repeated too often on their own as that can be drying to hair. The balance of the two types of treatments can be tricky. I learned that firsthand with my own hair, during the regimen I used. My hair before starting the regimen had a lot of splits and breakage.

It is important to not continue to abuse your hair when it is damaged by: rough handling, the overuse of product, heat styling at too high a temperature, or processing and more. I never used that clarifying product again. I could not even look at it, although I overused it. The reality is that many people do continue to abuse their hair while trying to deal with hair damage.

When I first theorized about mineral oil, I did not know everything it alone can do for damaged and undamaged hair but as I said herethere is absolutely no reason why mineral oil should not help even severely damaged hair. Through subsequent research here, in other posts in this blog, plus my own experience as well as reports from friends and others, I realized just what it is capable of doing on its own and importantly to me, how and why it can work so well.

The keys to damaged hair "recovery" are about protection and the hair's moisture level, which can help the hair not continue to break or split and be subjected to abrasion through tangling and any more abuse, while new growth is happening.

The protection mineral oil can provide is fivefold and can also strengthen hair.

1. It can take the place of lost cuticles by coating hair.

2. It can reduce the amount of water vapour and water absorbed by hair, by coating hair.

3. It has superb slip or detangling properties.

4. It can supplement, or replace lost lipids within the cuticle structure of hair.

5. It can protect hair from heat during thermal styling.

The moisturizing mineral oil can provide is twofold.

1. It can retain or reduce the loss by evaporation of added needed water in hair, by coating hair.

2. It can retain or reduce the loss by evaporation of needed water present in hair, by coating hair.

Regarding needed water, colour added by me, "Hair is composed of proteins, lipids, water, and small amounts of trace elements." Hair also typically contains "pigments", See "Result 1" or "Page 105".

Mineral oil's long lasting moisturizing capabilities and its application, without timing, or needing to cover the hair, or needing to be washed out after use, or fuss in general, can make it a very user friendly, cost effective, easy way to deal with hair damage. It can simply be applied in a small amount, after your hair is washed, can work beautifully without causing build-up and not need reapplication until after your hair is next washed.  

Mineral oil can protect and moisturize damaged and undamaged hair without leaving either looking or feeling greasy, heavy, or sticky.

See Also this blog post, for a research study included in the book Aging Hair here, in 2010. More information about the book can be found here, See "Result 2" or "Page xv".
Update March 25, 2013
This research study applies to hair, not skin. While mineral oil and sun or UV filters in cosmetic products may protect hair, with no SPF do not take UV exposure risks.

When there is no or a low SPF on a hair sunscreen product, cover both hair and scalp to prevent sun exposure and wear a sunscreen with a high enough SPF on your skin. To me that is 30 or more.

More information on SPF and protection can be found here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Oils Do Not Seal Water In Hair Or Prevent Water From Being Absorbed By It

I keep seeing the opposite which is a misconception, repeated on the Internet, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Here is a research study reference I have used before, the full pdf, the cached copy and the abstract.

From Page 142 of the pdf, colour added by me,
"Figure 6. Water vapor sorption isotherms for hair samples with varying thicknesses of surface oil films. Samples with thicker films absorb less water vapor compared to thinner films. Mineral oil-treated hair consistently absorbs less water vapor compared to coconut oil-treated hair, in both cases." 
What this means is that you do not need a lot of mineral oil on your hair to prevent frizz or keep needed water in your hair, which can evaporate quickly otherwise and it is supported by my results and the reported results of many others. 

From Page 145, colour added by me,
"Our results using the DVS method indicate that moisture sorption behavior is not influenced by the oil that has penetrated into the cortex.

There is more information here in the COSSMA reference about oils used on skin.

Anyone who uses oil, or silicone on damp, or wet hair knows this as fact too.

If oil, or silicone did seal water in or out of hair,

1. Hair would not dry and it could not become wet after oil, or silicone was applied to it.

2. Hair would not become "poufy" or frizz in high and low humidity.

Natural oils and silicone have different properties. Mineral oil can work much better than vegetable oils, natural sebum, or silicone to prevent frizz and moisturize hair longer because of its properties. It is also a natural oil.

It is not just about the word seal. I have seen the word prevent used incorrectly as well.

Less water absorbed and water retained in hair is accurate and I have also seen that said online, far less often and worded differently.

With catnip and mineral oil baby oil use, my hair dries fairly quickly. It is about waist length long again and although relatively thin, it air dries completely in about or less than one hour and a half, after briefly being towel blotted, post-washing.

See Also
This blog post and this one

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hygral Fatigue: A Hair Care Issue?

Is hygral fatique a common hair care issue? Not for most people from what I have read and know. It is not an issue cosmetic chemists write about as such. I searched and came up with nothing on that as a topic, nor was it a specific issue when I worked in the cosmetic industry. Hygral fatigue is said to result from the constant swelling and de-swelling of hair that has too much water in it.

Too much water having access to hair can remove hair dye molecules, causing fading and tangling hair damage. A simple remedy for that can be switching to a gentle shampoo for colour-treated hair, which contains extra conditioning ingredients.

Hair can swell and become "poofy" when there is too much water vapour in it but that is not the same thing, going by the research study on hygral fatigue. The remedy would be the same though, helping to keep too much water in either form from accessing your hair, while your hair is lubricated, to help stop abrasion and keep needed water in your hair from evaporating. Excess water or moisture evaporates.

You can certainly find hygral fatigue written about on the Internet, in blogs like I am doing and have done and articles, all referring to that same study, that no doubt has increased coconut oil sales and more recently, pre-wash treatments. If you swim frequently, there are other considerations, like chlorine and salt water hair damage that can allow more water to enter your hair. Salt water swimming pools do contain chlorine. The links still work in that post.

Hygral fatique appears to have been named as a condition by the researchers in the study and has become a buzzword used by specific marketers, or others referring to the research. If it is a specific hair issue, it would be discussed by cosmetic chemists as a challenge to help overcome and it would be used in advertising and marketing for hair products generally, as a term for the promotion of a product to deal with or help prevent, like dry or porous hair.

Hair samples used and how they are prepared for testing in scientific research impact results, as do all samples and methods used for scientific investigation. In that 2001 research study, according to Page 170, colour added by me,
"The hair sample was black Indian hair obtained from individuals who did not use coconut or mineral oils as hair dressing". 

The control samples were cleaned prior to testing, according to the text provided. Therefore to me, the untreated control samples that were submerged in water for one hour were more vulnerable to swelling because of the cleaning, which also would have removed natural oil from within them.

From Page 171, colour added by me
"The drops of oil were placed on hair swatches and were spread onto the hair fibers with a fine-tooth comb. The samples were stored overnight, and then the oil remaining on the surface was washed with a 20% solution of sodium laureth sulfate and the swatches were rinsed thoroughly, air-dried, and stored at room temperature. Control samples were treated in a similar way, except for treatment with the oils." 

There is room for interpretation of the text on hair sample preparation. In other studies funded by the same company referred to in this blog, in 1999, Pages 328 and 329 and 2003, Page 178, the hair samples used were also pre-cleaned prior to preparation for testing. However, I go by what is actually written in each study. I would need to contact the researchers or company to verify and clarify hair sample preparation in this case.

It gets even more complicated on Page 178 of the 2001 study, colour added by me.
"Characteristic positive ions of mineral-oil-treated hair. The positive spectra obtained from the surface of the cross sections of hair fibers treated with mineral oil are similar to the spectra of the untreated hair (Figure 9). No mineral oil was detected in the treated hair. However, coconut oil and polydimethylsiloxane peaks were observed in the high-mass range, similar to observations made for the untreated hair fiber. This indicates that these hair fibers had been exposed to coconut oil as well as silicones and surfactant."

From this research abstract, dated 2009, colour added by me,
"Hair is one of the most difficult proteins to digest or solubilize. Among the most common dissolving procedures for hair are acidic, alkaline, and enzymatic hydrolysis." 

See also this information
"The keratin found in hair is called "hard" keratin. This type of keratin does not dissolve in water and is quite resilient. .... Hydrogen bonds account for one-third of the hair's strength. The hydrogen bond is a weak physical side bond that is easily broken by water or heat. Hydrogen bonds can be reformed by drying or cooling the hair." 

Information on the elasticity of hair can be found in the book Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair, 2012 by cosmetic chemist Clarence R. Robbins, in a searchable preview here. The swelling of hair can cause damage. Hygral fatigue though is not mentioned.

Effectively neutralizing chlorine immediately after swimming can prevent chlorine from crystallizing in your hair and causing damage once your hair has dried. Removing sea water salt and other minerals helps prevent hair damage too. Saturating your hair with water prior to swimming may help as well. If your hair already has oil or silicone on it from your usual hair care routine, too much water should not be absorbed by doing that.

Damaged hair needs extra protection to not absorb too much water at any time. There are various products that can help. Added oil is one of them but using a lot of oil or other products whether your hair is damaged or not is not necessary.

The shampoo I use contains one silicone and catnip contains some oil. I use mineral oil baby oil in between catnip use and occasionally, a very small drop or so of it in addition to catnip for extra polish. My hair is not dry and it has not become frizzy, even in conditions of high or low humidity in a long time. It used to become slightly frizzy very rarely, a good while back now.

That was most likely because I used too much shampoo. The natural oil in your hair is a defense against too much water entering your hair as well, to a degree. Overusing any product that can remove or emulsify oil reduces that protection.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hair Protein Loss And Coconut Oil, Hygral Fatigue And Mineral Oil

This is often referred to as the "definitive study"on coconut oil and hair protein loss. However, it is not said in the study, as is often stated on the Internet, that the observed protein loss coconut oil can prevent is from inside the hair shaft. An explanation is given as to why in detail. The hair tested was washed with sodium laureth sulfate only, not shampoo, after initially being cleaned, See Pages 178, 179 and 180. Most commercial shampoos today contain one or more quaternary ammonium compounds, e.g. polyquaternium 10, which also acts as a combing aid.

This text below is quoted directly from the study, on Pages 185 and 186, colour added by me. See Page 180, which names the protein loss testing method used.

The process of cuticle chipping that results from abrasion of hair against objects such as grooming devices or even other hair is a major factor in hair damage. The proteins that constitute the cuticle cells are lost during wet combing. It is well known that wet combing is accompanied by the breaking of the surface cuticle cell because of its brittleness. Histologically, the major component of the cuticle cell consists of the exocuticle and the endocuticle. The exocuticle, being highly cross-linked is not swollen by water. The endocuticle and the cell membrane complex, on the other hand, are less cross-linked and are more vulnerable to swelling damage. This leads to the lifting of the surface cuticle via bending. Such cuticle cells can be broken in the process of combing or teasing. The protein loss observed in these measurements results mostly from the cuticular region. Because of the short time involved in the combing and brief immersion of the combed tress in water, it is unlikely that proteins from the bulk of the fiber are involved in this measurement."

In the first study undertaken by the same company, a commercial shampoo used (shampoo 1), showed almost the same results on curly and straight hair as the use of coconut oil as a "prewash treatment", See the graphs on Page 334. The text on the left underneath the graph "Figure 6.", should have said without coconut oil. See this blog post on pre-wash treatments.

After rereading their 2001 study on coconut oil hair penetration, hygral fatique and mineral oil, it supports what I wrote in the post below and in this one, plus research in this blog post and the 2012 COSSMA reference here.

The researchers submerged untreated and oil-treated hair in water for one hour, See
 Page 182 and quoted from Pages 183 and 184, colour added by me.

"While both oil-treated categories show a significant decrease in swelling, it is slightly greater for the coconut-oil-treated fibers than the mineral-oil treated specimens. In coconut-and mineral-oil-treated specimens, swelling is reduced by 48% and 33%, respectively. This strongly suggests that the fiber is protected from damage by hygral fatigue (swelling and de-swelling).

It should be emphasized that the reduction in moisturization of the fiber does not make the fiber rigid because of the plasticizating action of the absorbed coconut oil. ...

Mineral oil also shows lower levels of swelling compared to the untreated fiber, suggesting that it may have penetrated into the cuticular regions, thereby preventing further penetration of water into the hair shaft during the swelling experiment.

Significant reduction in swelling suggests that this will prevent swelling and deswelling (hygral fatigue) of the fiber. Hygral fatigue can lead to cuticular damage as well as damage to the cortex, which can, in turn, affect the mechanical properties."

In other words, mineral oil can also reduce too much water from entering the hair shaft and it can penetrate deeper than just the surface of the hair. Coconut oil in experiments on hair without barrier coatings does not make hair stiff when it penetrates hair, See Pages 170 and 171 for information on the hair used and how it was prepared just before the testing for oil penetration (washed with sodium laureth sulfate)

From results reported on oil shampoo and my own results with it, lauric acid penetration and penetration to a lesser degree by the other fatty acids in coconut oil did not result in stiff or "crunchy" (very dry) hair either, even when coconut oil was used over a period of time. I have read numerous reports online of coconut oil use causing hair to become "hard" feeling and dry.

See Also
This blog post for more details