HAIR- Personal care
A PRESENTATION BY SURYA PRAJAPAT
Its no late to work on retaining your hair’s natural colour with
Here presenting a research work on hair graying and the herbs useful
to get rid of this problem.
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial that grows from follicles found in the
Hair follicle - the part beneath the skin.
Hair bulb - the part when hair is pulled from the skin.
Hair follicle is located in the dermis and maintains stem cells -
responsible for regrowth of hair and skin.
Hair shaft- the hard filamentous part that extends above skin surface. It has
3 layers Cutile – outer layer
Cortex- contains melanin pigment
and keratin protein.
Medulla- inner layer
Cortex contains melanin,
which colors the fibres based
on number, distribution
and types of melanin granules.
Cuticle is outer layer covered with single molecular layer of lipid. That’s
why hair repel water.
Hair growth begins inside hair follicle
Other structures- Sabeceous gland & arrector pili muscles (responsible
for hair erection, goose bumps)
All natural colours of hair are due to 2 types of hair pigments.
Dominant pigment indark blond hair
Dominant pigment inred hair
Both these pigments are produced in hair follicle and packed into
granules found in fibres.
Gray hair occur when melanin production stops or decrease.
Shades of human hair colour are assessed by Fischer-Saller Scale. This
scale shows different grades asA – Light blond
B to E – blond
F to L – blond
M to O – dark brown
P to T – brown
U to Y – dark brown/ black
I to IV – red
V to VI – red blond
Biochemistry of hair colour
As we discussed, 2 types of pigments are responsible for hair colour -
Eumelanin & Pheomelanin.
Pheomelanin colours the hair orange and yellow, all human beings have
some pheomelanin pigment present in their hair.
Eumelanin has 2 subtypes- Black eumelanin & Brown eumelanin. These
subtypes determine the darkness of hair colour.
Less Concentration of brown eumelanin = Blond hair
More Concentration of brown eumelanin = Brown hair
Less Concentration of black eumelanin = Gray hair
More Concentration of black eumelanin = Black hair
Pheomelanin is more chemically stable than black eumelanin but is less
than brown eumelanin, hence it breaks down more slowly when
oxidised. That’s why bleach gives a darker hair a reddish tinge.
As pheomelanin break down continues hair becomes orange to yellow
and then finally white.
Pigment concentration affects hair colour 1. Black hair- it is the darkest colour. Large amount of eumelanin is
2. Brown hair- more brown eumelanin, less pheomelanin.
3. Blond hair- can have any proportion of both pigments.
4. Auburn hair- range from dark red(pheomelanin) to
5. Chestnut hair- reddish shade of brown hairs.
Red hair- highest amount of pheomelanin about 67% and low
Gray and White hair- it is not due to any gray or white pigment, but is
due to lack of pigmentation and melanin.
Cause of hair graying-
There are many causes for hair graying, but mainly hydrogen peroxide
is responsible for it.
Accumulated oxidative stress leads to the overproduction of H2O2 in
the hair follicles. In other words hair begins to bleach itself from the
inside out. The build up of H2O2 begins to block the melanin
This process is a series of complex mechanism involving the effect of
oxidative stress and follicle damage on key enzymes.
Key enzymes are- catalase, MSR A & B, tyrosinase.
Catalase is supposed to break up the H2O2 into water and oxygen, so the
body can eliminate it. But catalase level drops as we age, allowing to
MSR A & B (methionine sulfoxide reductase A & B) are supposed to
stimulate hair follicles to repair the damage caused by H2O2, but levels of
these enzymes drop as we age.
And without enough MSR A & B the body can not produce enough of
another enzyme, tyrosinase, which is directly involved in melanin
Conditions affecting hair colour
Age- hair lose their colour as human grow in age. Increase in age affects
the melanin production in the body.
Naturally change in hair colour according to age is termed as
Genetics- genes play major role in deciding hair colour. Mainly 2 genes
are responsible for graying of hairs i.e Bcl2 & Bcl-w. Stem cells at the
base of hair follicles produce melanocytes- these are the cells that
produce and store pigment in hair and skin, the death of melanocyte
stem cells causes the onset of hair graying.
Our hair care products- tooth whitening agents and hair care
products(hair bleaches, dyes, conditioners, shampoos) are being
extensively used by the people. These products contain H2O2 which
when increases in the body decreases the enzyme for melanin
production. Hence hair graying occur.
Enviornmental pollution- Harmful free radicals are present in
enviornmental pollution which get bind to healthy cells and cause
cellular damage and decrease melanin production.
Smoking- smokers are more prone to hair graying as compared to
Lack of Vit B12 & folic acid- these vitamins enhance the melanin
production in the body naturally.
Albinism- the inherited absence of pigmentation in the skin, hair, and
eyes, resulting in white hair and pink skin and pink eyes.
Vitiligo- a common autoimmune disease in which symmetrical white
or pale macule appear on the skin. Eyelashes turn white due to
accumulation of hydrogen peroxide.
Werner syndrome- premature aging
Pernicious anemia- RBC decrease
Junk food- eating too much junk food increase the amount of
emulsifying agents, sodium bicarbonate in the body which directly
degrade the useful enzymes.
At some point in human life cycle cells located in the base of hair
follicles eventually slows or stops producing pigment. This condition is
termed as Apoptosis.
Also called shoe flower, gurhal.
Active principles- anthocyanin
flavanoid & vitamin
Gurhal contain anthocyanin
acts as antioxidant and arrest the
free radicals, hence it prevents the accumulation of hydrogen peroxide,
as a result melanin production is enhanced and hair starts regaining its
Gurhal contains flavanoid quercetin which acts as tanning agent.
Vitamin C present in gurhal gives antioxidant action against oxidative
Also called Bhringraja
Active principles of eclipta albaecliptine, wedelolactone, apigenin
and alkaloids, glucosides.
Wedelolactone is a selective inhibitor of the potent inflammatory
chemical 5-lipoxigenase, the inhibition occurs via extremely aggressive
oxygen radical scavenging.
Hence eclipta alba helps to promote hair growth and prevents hair
graying and also helps to retain natural hair colour.
The methanol extract of whole plant when tested for hair growth
promoting potential, exhibited dose dependent activity in C57BL6 mice.
The activity was assessed by studying the melanogenesis in resected skin,
follicle count in the subcutis, skin thickness and surrogate markers in
vehicle control and extract treated animals. (Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Also called amla, amalaki.
Active constituents- tannins
It also contain amino acids, iron.
The fruit is an important source of vitamin C, minerals and amino acids.
It contains three times the protein concentration and vitamin C (ascorbic
acid) concentration than apple.
Emblicannin is a polyphenolic antioxidant. Emblicannin A aggressively
seeks and attacks free radicals. After it neutralizes free radicals,
emblicannin A is transformed into emblicannin B, another antioxidant.
Emblicannin inturn also atttacks free radicals and is transformed into
Researchers at the Institute of Natural Medicine, University of
Toyama, Japan, called Emblic Myrobalan a very useful antioxidant to
support normal oxidative stress levels during the body's natural aging
E. officinalis was found to be rich in enzymic antioxidants such as
catalase, peroxides, superoxide dismutase, polyphenol oxidase,
glutathione. All these play an important role in detoxification of
superoxide, anions and H2O2 respectively. As a result melanin
production is stimulated and hair starts regaining its natural colour.
(International Journal of Pharma and Biosciences, vol-3, 2012).
Also called Narikela, Nariyal.
Cocos nucifera contains a wide range of constituents, various inorganic
ions, wide range of vitamins, amino acids and enzymes.
Cocos nucifera nourishes hair follicles and promotes hair growth
Coconut oil is a triglyceride of lauric acid (fatty acid) and has high
affinity for hair protein.
It contains wide range of vitamins like Vit C (ascorbic acid-antioxidant)
and biotin which are useful for hair care.
It contains amino acid tyrosine which helps to stimulate
melanogenesis. Since stress can cause hair loss as well as color change,
stable tyrosine levels are important. L-tyrosine dietary supplements
may help hair that has changed color and regrowing hair regain its
Enzymes present in cocos nucifera like catalase and peroxidase which
act as catalyst in melanin formation.
Leucoanthocyanin present in coconut act as antioxidant which helps to arrest
accumulation of hydrogen peroxide.
Also called jatamansi.
Jatamansi contains 3 terepenoid compoundsnardal, nardin and jatamansic acid.
Oral admisnistration of jatamansi helps to remove
stress and anxiety which directly reduce the accumulation of free radicals.
Rhizome of jatamansi is being used as an aromatic adjunct in the preparation of
medicinal oils, to promote hair growth and also imparts blackness.
Its rhizome extracted with hexane & chloroform gives hair growth promoting
activity by reducing the hair growth time.
Essential oils obtained from its root show fungi toxic activity, antimicrobial,
antifungal and hypotensive activities.
(C. P. Khare, Indian Medicainal Plants, 2011, 7, 146)
Also called fenugreek, methi.
Seed of this plant gives alkaloids, including trigonelline, gentianine and
carpaine, flavanoids and glycosides.
Its extract containing trigonelline and trigonellic acid is used as hair
Using fenugreek as a part of your diet or as a paste to directly apply on
your hair makes your hair shiny and black.
Massaging your head everyday with boiled
fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in coconut
oil can be an excellent remedy for thinning
of hair and hair fall.
Some Facts about hairs A single hair has a thickness of 0.02 - 0.04mm, so that 20 - 50 hair
strands next to each other make one millimetre.
Hair is strong as a wire of iron. It rips after applying a force equivalent
to 60kg, only after it stretched itself for about 70%.
Even on a good hair day, everyone loses at least 40 to 100 strands.
Hair consists mainly of keratin, which is also responsible for the
elasticity of fingernails.
More than 40% of people develop gray hair by the age of 40.
90% of your hairs are constantly growing, a hair having a lifespan of
about five years.
1. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, (124, 450–456)
2. Indian Medicinal Plants- C.P. Khare (2008, 2011)
3. Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India
4. International Journal of Phytopharmacology.
5. International Journal of Pharma and Biosciences, vol-3, 2012.