The story of Samson in biblical times is very interesting. Its name may come from the Hebrew word “Shemesh” which means “hair”. He was consecrated from his mother’s womb to be a leader of the people and he was also endowed with a superhuman spiritual and physical strength so he was able to destroy temples and armies with the only power of his arm. He was a mythical strongman par excellence, subject only to one condition, to a divine reminder: his magnificent mane must remain intact. Its colossal strength would immediately vanish if his hair were cut. For this column, we are going to look at the trends in scalp care that will help the Samson of the 21st century, since different factors such as lifestyle, diet, hormone levels, climate, pollution and stress from the pandemic and confinement affect the health of the scalp.
Scalp care is the new skincare: Like in face, the skin of our scalp ages and requires regular cleaning, exfoliation and protection. The scalp is the basis of the hair follicles and if it is not in good condition, the chances of experiencing problems related to hair growth and health increase. The skin of the scalp is different, thicker, has a large number of sebaceous glands, contains more blood irrigation and produces more sebum, therefore it needs special formulations.
From Delilah to Covid-19: Cosmetics and Toiletries published a note on September 25 stating that the New York Times recently reported that the effects of stress from the coronavirus are causing people to lose their hair. The article cited a July survey by the Indiana University School of Medicine in which of 1,567 members of a Covid-19 survivor group, about 423 reported unusual hair loss. The note also points to an article that lists male pattern baldness as a severe Covid-19 risk. Research shows that the number of aggressive Covid-19 cases tended to increase with increasing reports of baldness. As such, the authors point to the possible association between severe cases of androgenic alopecia and the risk of Covid-19. Another article published in April in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology about a study carried out in Spain, reported a high frequency of hair loss in male patients who were admitted to the hospital for Covid-19 and how androgen expression may be a clue to the most severe cases of coronavirus infection.
Microbiome friendly: Statistics indicate that more than 50% of the adult population suffers from dandruff. We are seeing the launch of new active ingredients with benefits on reducing the inflammatory response, dandruff, itching and irritation on the scalp, which do not alter and at the same time balance the microbiome, since in addition to the Malassezia fungus the new studies indicate that some bacteria also play a key role in this process.
Scalp microbiome: The new studies use DNA to obtain valuable information on the health of the scalp. The “Next Generation Sequencing – NGS” technology is key to analyzing the genetic composition of the entire scalp microbiome to precisely define the types of bacteria and fungi that are present.
Grey reversion: New technologies that help to reverse grey hair, the efficacy and benefits are impressive. In January of this year, the National Geographic magazine published a related note about a scientific study that shows why stress causes grey hair. The sympathetic nervous system, in charge of responding quickly to external threats, is responsible for the hair follicles becoming discoloured, which ends up unleashing the appearance of grey hair. The speed with which hair turns white can respond to the stress that we have endured for a certain period. A team of neurologists from Harvard University seems to have found the answer: our sympathetic nervous system is the responsible because, in the face of an intense and prolonged episode of stress, it would leave the hair follicles without melanocytes, the cells responsible for hair pigmentation.
Curlybiome and straightbiome: In a previous study, unwashed scalp microbiome samples were taken from a group of volunteers with curly hair and other samples from straight hair. Then the volunteers’ hair was washed to remove part of their microbiome and the straight hair microbiomes were seeded on the scalp of the volunteers with curly hair and vice versa. Changes in hair appearance were monitored for 6 weeks. In 73% of the cases, straight hair became curly and curly hair became straight. Hair microbiome transplants are a world to discover.
From Gru of Despicable Me to Botulinum Toxin: A last August publication in BioMed Research International indicated that androgenetic alopecia (AGA) represents the most frequent clinical complaint found by dermatologists and is characterized by a progressive miniaturization of the hair follicle. In this article, the benefits of botulinum toxin type A (BTA) were studied in 63 patients with AGA. The results show positive effects on hair count, head photographs and self-evaluation and therefore BTA is a safe and effective therapeutic strategy for the treatment of AGA without adverse effects.
Postbiotics and Baldness: A February publication in Dermatol Ther indicates that Alopecia Areata (AA) is the second most common form of hair loss. Treatments for AA traditionally include low-level light therapy, biologics such as kinase inhibitors, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This article presents the benefits of microbial (postbiotic) metabolites for the treatment of AA.
Scalp moisturizers: Trend towards softer products, moisturizing surfactants that maintain good levels of hydration, stimulation of the natural hydration factor (NMF) and promoters of collagen and elastin to keep the scalp rejuvenated.
Claims & new formats: We see new launches related to Detoxifying scalp masks, scalp scrubs, nourishing SPF hair mists, curl-friendly, sulfate-free cleansers, non-detergent shampoos, moisturizing scalp, purifying oil, follicle-stimulating, hair growth headbands, ayurvedic haircare, thickening hair aging, pre-wash scalp exfoliators, hair-cleansing foams, prebiotic/probiotic/posbiotic scalp serums, vegan, food grade, micellar shampoos…
Hair health is strongly linked to scalp conditions. Regardless of whether the scalp is itchy, dry, oily or normal, a healthy scalp will ensure strong and healthy hair. Probably the Delilah of the XXI century would have greater problems to weaken Samson by cutting his hair, since thanks to his scalp strengthened by the innovations and new trends in scalp care, he would keep his hair healthier, he would quickly regain his hair length and therefore his powers.
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