WHAT IS HYDROLYSED ALPHA-KERATIN AND CAN IT STIMULATE HAIR GROWTH?

Hydrolysed alpha-keratin is liquid protein complex made up of low molecular weight peptides. This amino acid complex mimics the natural composition of alpha-keratin and helps in strengthening the hair structure.

Topical application promotes hair growth and increases the water content of the epidermis by reducing transdermal water loss. Topically applied hydrolysed alpha-keratin also supports scalp and hair health by increasing amino acid availability.

HYROLYSED ALPHA-KERATIN INCREASES DERMAL HYDRATION 

Hydrolysed alpha-keratin increases the water content of the epidermis by reducing transdermal water loss.  The water-hating nature of the amino acids that make up keratin reinforces the waterproof barrier of the outer skin layer.  A decrease in water loss increases the volume of the intermediate skin layers (70-30% depth) and this increases the depth of the hair follicle canal.

Keratin cells grow and divide, they are continuously moving up the hair fibre canal from the zone of differentiation into what is known as the zone of keratinisation.  Here the cells die and become a unit of keratinised tissue held together by only by disulphide bonds.

An increase in the differentiation zone and hydration means not only do these water-hating amino acids bind together more tightly, but they also have a longer period to align themselves correctly.  This leads to an increase in the number of intermediate filaments within the keratin helix before the cell becomes keratinised tissue. Properly bound filaments build a thick and smooth hair fibre with high tensile strength resistant to breakage and damage.

A higher water content enables proteins and enzymes to function more efficiently. It also provides a more efficient means to transport nutrients, hormones and other elements.

HYDROLYSED ALPHA-KERATIN INDUCES COLLAGEN SYNTHESIS AROUND THE HAIR FOLLICLE

Hydrolysed alpha-keratin increases the expression of extracellular matrix components and adhesion molecules that anchor the hair fibre.  The extra cellular matrix consists of: collagen, fibronectin, laminin, proteoglycans and polysaccharides.

This matrix surrounds the hair follicle providing mechanical support and controlling the flow of nutrients and signals to the cell.  An experimental study on topically applied hydrolysed alpha-keratin showed induction of collagen type IV and type VII collagens, both of which are major components of the dermal basement membrane.

HYDROLYSED ALPHA-KERATIN INCREASES AVAILABLE AMINO ACIDS

Alpha-keratin is a polypeptide chain high in hydrophobic (water-hating) amino acids.  The amino acids that make up alpha-keratin are alanine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, cysteine and phenylalanine.  A study in 2017, found 100% of participants with hair thinning were selectively deficient in some or all amino acids required to produce alpha keratin [2].

When a keratin cell within the hair follicle attempts to produce keratin but finds a reduced availability of the required amino acids, the production of keratin will slow down and eventually cease.  When keratin production is reduced, the hair fibre will emerge thinner and grow more slowly.  When keratin production is ceased all together, hair growth will stop, and the hair follicle will go into telogen (resting phase), and the cycle will start again.

THE FINAL WORD

Hydrolysed alpha-keratin is a powerful complex rich in the amino acids required for healthy hair growth.  Regular application of hydrolysed alpha-keratin will improve moisture retention in the scalp and result in smoother, thicker hair that grows for longer.

REFERENCES

  1. Denyer, J., Marsh, C. and Kirsner, R.S., 2015. Keratin gel in the management of Epidermolysis bullosa. Journal of wound care, 24(10), pp.446-450.
  2. Gowda, D., Premalatha, V. and Imtiyaz, D.B., 2017. Prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in hair loss among Indian participants: results of a Cross-sectional Study. International journal of trichology9(3), p.101.

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