Benefits of Ayurvedic oil in Hair Care:
Hair comes in a variety of textures from fine to coarse. Different hair styling techniques such as coloring, straightening and perming are commonly used. The chemicals, blow dryers or hairirons used for these treatments may cause severe damage to the hair shaft. But regular oiling of hair can prevent the further enhancement of this damage. An ayurvedic oil containing coconut oil and a combination of essential oil like black Pepper, ajowain and hibiscus extracts was formulated as a hair oil. Black Pepper is known to provide warming effect whereas ajowain and hibiscus are known to provide nourishment to the hair.
In this study hair damage is assessed by quantification of proteins lost from the hair shaft and measuring the tensile strength of hair after various treatments. The surface of hair shaft was also assessed by Scanning electron microscopy. The effect of the hair oil on the dandruff sufferers was also studied.
Materials and Methods:
Hair Tresses were procured from Indian Hair suppliers. The hair tresses were then bundled to weigh 3 gm and fasten it with a rubber band at one end for easy handling. Hair dye was applied per the instructions given on the leaflet. Hair perming was also carried out on another set of hair tresses.
Coconut oil containing ayurvedic extracts like black pepper, ajowain and hibiscus was applied on the hair tresses (0.3ml for 3gm hair tress) and were then allowed to stand for 30 minutes. Post oiling hair tress was washed using 1ml of 15 % SLES and rinsed under running tap water and then dried using a dryer. This cycle was repeated 20 times. A control was also run which was washed with 1 ml of 15 % SLES and then dried. This cycle was repeated 20 times.
Tensile strength - Hair fibers from the above treated hair tresses were separated and their diameter was measured using Folliscope. Tensile strength of the same hair fibers was measured using LRX plus model from Lloyd Instrument Limited using a load cell of 10N and an operating speed of 10 mm/min.
Scanning Electron Microscopy - The surface of the above treated hair samples were observed using scanning electron microscopy. A knot was tied on the hair and images were captured around this knot.
Anti-dandruff effect - Ten Subjects below age 35 years were recruited. Subjects with severe dandruff were selected. They were asked to take a head bath two days before coming for the selection. They were also asked to stop using any anti-dandruff product. Subjects were asked to use the above formulated ayurvedic hair oil for fifteen days. The below mentioned measurements were performed before and after the hair oil usage.
Scalp Normalization - Corneofix tape strips were taken from the scalp of the subjects. The tape strips were taken before and after usage of the hair oil. These tapes were then stained using Wright Stain and observed under the microscope for the presence of nucleus within the corneocytes.
Protein Estimation - Six tape strips were taken from a particular site on the scalp, each strip dipped in 1ml Phosphate buffer pH 7.0 taken in an eppendorf tube. These tubes were then sonicated for 10 minutes. Tape strips were removed form the buffer. Eppendorf tubes were then centrifuged for 6 minutes at 2200rpm. Supernatent from these tubes were pooled together. Protein estimation was carried out using Lowry's Method for each sample.
Scoring - Flaking Score was calculated for each subject by dividing the scalp in 4 quadrants and then scoring each of the quadrants separately. Sum of all the quadrants put together gave a total flaking score for the entire scalp.
Result and Discussions:
Tensile strength - The tensile strength measurements of all the hair samples were done after chemical treatments such as hair dyeing and perming. It was observed that oiling the hair tresses after the chemical treatments helped in maintaining the tensile strength of hair whereas just washing them reduced the tensile strength. Chemical treatments usually cause a lot of damage to the hair fiber. But it has been observed that oiling helps in alignment of the hair cuticle. Also oil penetrates into the hair cuticle thus prevents water from entering into the fiber and causing further damage due to hygral fatigue.
Scanning Electron Microscopy: - SEM images were captured around the knot tied on the hair. It was observed that oiling the hair helps in maintaining its cuticular structure whereas just washing them aggravates the damage caused by the chemical treatment.
Scalp Normalization: - Nucleus is usually lost during the normal process of desquamation. But during parakeratosis, nucleus is usually retained in the scalp corneocytes. The visualization of nucleus in the scalp corneocytes can be used as an indicator of abnormal desquamation. Nucleus was observed in the scalp corneocytes of the dandruff sufferers. Usage of oil containing black pepper, ajowain and hibiscus led to the normalization of the scalp desquamation process within 15 days where nucleus was not observed in the scalp.
Protein Estimation - The proteins obtained upon collection by the above mentioned method are usually the proteins from the corneocytes. The amount of proteins increases with the amount of flaking. But after using the ayurvedic hair oil, there was 56.5% reduction in the amount of proteins obtained from the scalp corneocytes. This indicates that hair oil helps in reducing flaking of the scalp.
Scoring - It was observed that the total flaking score of the scalp reduced by 62.47%. This manual scoring pattern is almost inline with the results obtained for protein estimation of the scalp corneocytes.
Thus it can be concluded that the above formulated ayurvedic hair oil can be used to prevent aggravation of damage caused to the hair due to chemical treatments. It can also be used as an anti-dandruff product.
This article is based on the research work by Kamath et al at MARCO Industries Ltd.