Thursday, November 1, 2012

USP/BP Mineral Oil And UV Hair Damage

I wrote about UV protection for skin and hair here. I have not changed my mind that the best protection for both is to use a good product with a high enough SPF, which is usually about 30. That is much more difficult to do for hair. While sun or UV filters are used in hair care products and can help protect hair, the best protection for hair is still covering it, with a tight weave, or SPF treated: hat, scarf, or umbrella.

What I did not expect to read is this research study, which shows that mineral oil applied to hair may actually reduce UV hair damage.

This research supports a report from a friend of mine here, where mineral oil, in her case mineral oil baby oil, helped protect her hair from sun damage. At the time I could not reply with scientific literature to back that up.

The more I research cosmetic mineral oil and more possible uses of it for hair, the more I am pleasantly surprised to find positive, reputable, scientific research, that tells me it may have benefits that are not widely known.

Added in response to an email inquiry:
While in the study, they soaked hair in mineral oil, that is not what is being suggested for its use to reduce hair UV damage. My friend had mineral oil drops in her hair and not many of them. The research study says,
"... the tryptophan decomposition rate was found to be substantially slower in mineral oil-treated hair, compared to water-treated control. These data suggest that hair care formulations containing non-chromophoric material may also reduce photodamage. ... we show that conventional UVB sunscreens in hair care formulations can provide photoprotection. ... our data suggest that non-chromophoric compounds, such as mineral oil, also reduce hair photodamage."

Added in response to another email inquiry:
Your hair is drying faster than usual and you have less tangles with using mineral oil baby oil instead of conditioner because there is enough oil on your hair during shampooing, to prevent excess water from entering your hair and swelling it too much. Less excess water entering the hair shaft = less hair drying time. The baby oil is also helping to prevent tangles while you wash your hair. Silicone is added to shampoo for the same reason, extra slip.

It does not take too much baby oil to do all of that as your hair is not greasy and you have not had problems with build-up or residue, so your shampoo is removing the baby oil sufficiently each wash. If you do use too much baby oil or not wash it out well enough one wash, your regular shampoo should take care of the excess, the next time you wash your hair.

When you then apply the baby oil after washing, its slip or detangling properties help prevent friction and hair abrasion. Hair abrasion causes hair damage as cuticles get chipped and eroded, when hair is tangled and stressed. 

Html cached version of the research study pdf linked in the above text
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