Avacor® Hair Regrowth Blog
18Jul/120

Beat the Heat: Summer Heat and Your Hair

We all use them... Blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, rollers...and we all have the damage that goes along with it! So how do we treat it? Or better yet try and avoid it before the damage happens? Summer and the hot months do not help, and it seems that more products are needed during this time to maintain our tresses!

How the heat affects your hair

Heat and hair careHeat can affect your hair immediately or over a period of time. The damage can be visible or can start working from the inside of your hair out. Heat can cause scorching, burning, and every time it is applied it is robbing your hair of its natural oils and moisture. Most tools that are used would burn your skin, so why is ok for your hair? If a tool is too hot it softens the keratin of the hair and can actually cause it to boil and burn. It weakens the hair shaft and will lead to breakage or can break off during the process. Whether you use heat processes daily, or occasionally it can still affect your hair and will catch up with you. It will dry out your hair, cause breakage, split ends, and damage.

How to prevent and avoid heat damage

Always use a heat protectant when any heated device is going to touch your hair. Try to let your hair air dry whenever possible. Hair dryers are made to dry the hair quickly, when not necessary, give your hair a rest. Moisturize your hair with a conditioning serum and protein builder as well. This will help your hair’s natural oils and moisture stay deep within the fibers. Always check and maintain your heating tools. A hair dryer that overheats from buildup will damage your hair more quickly. Check the temperatures on your flat irons and curling irons. Only use the highest setting needed for your hair. An average setting is around 200° F. More coarse hair usually requires higher heat and is in the 300° range. Hair burns at the same temperature as paper around 450°. It is a good idea to select heating tools that have temperature readings. High and Low is not sufficient. There is a big difference between 200° and 300°. Protect, be proactive, maintain and give your hair a “break” because extreme heat damage is irreversible.

How to treat heat damaged hair

To understand how to treat your heat-damaged hair, you need to understand the biology of hair. First off, hair is dead. You cannot repair something that isn't living. Hair is made up of the same protein as our fingernails - keratin. Just as a fingernail can chip and crack, hair can easily be damaged. Although heat damage is not reversible, there are ways that can improve the condition and appearance of your hair. Follow the tips above to avoid heat damage in the future.

There are many products out there to help with the appearance and prevention of future damage. It is about researching what is best for your hair type. Silicones, shampoos, conditioners, and trimming off the split and broken ends is necessary depending on the hair’s condition.

Products

Avacor® Detoxifying Shampoo

Avacor® Thickening Value Pack

Resources

Livestrong.com - Treatment for Heat Damaged Hair

Ehow.com - Straighten Curly Hair w Heat

Filed under: Hair Care, Style, Women No Comments
9Jul/120

Extreme Hair Styles Part 1

The part. The crew cut. The bowl cut. There are lots of hair styles that you’ve heard of, seen, or even worn at some point. But some people take their hair styles to extreme measures. Whether they are rebelling or using their hair as a means to express their personalities, these extreme hair styles never go unnoticed. If you are worried about thinning or lost hair, perhaps you can begin hair regrowth treatment with Avacor's Physicians Formulation, and when you grow back a full head of hair, you can try out a few of these extreme hair styles!

The Mohawk. Yes, there are versions of this hair style that are not very extreme, and the faux hawk is widely accepted across the mainstream, but some people take Mohawks to extreme levels. Punk rock in the late 1970s and early 1980s saw lots of musicians and fans of the music and culture adopt long, colorful Mohawk hair styles. Extreme skier Glen Plake is also famous for his long and colorful Mohawk, which he achieves using an iron and a lot of hairspray.

Mohawk

Photo courtesy of Salewa.us

Bride of Frankenstein. This do was made famous by Elsa Lanchester in the 1935 movie of the same name. The Bride of Frankenstein hair style even flirted with mainstream popularity with women in the mid-1900s with a more toned down version called the Beehive. But this extreme hair style basically involves taking all your hair, making it wavy, and standing it straight up. Add a streak of white along the side and you’re ready to rock this look. Let’s face it…if you were married to a monster made of dead human body parts, your hair might stand straight up too!

Bride of Frankenstein

Photo courtesy of blog.zap2it.com

Shave the Sides. Similar to the Mohawk in theory but different in style, this do is popular among young men around the world. Simply shave the sides and back of your head, not to the skin but close, and keep your hair on top long. Then, add some hair gel and style however you like.

Shaved Sides

Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Beard with Dreadlocks. Not just for hippies and hipsters anymore, the bearded guy with dreadlocks look is also popular among a variety of men. Get your dreads done at a salon, or the old fashioned way: through months of not washing your hair.

Dreadlocks

Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Give it some color. This extreme hair style idea works for any length of hair. Simply pick a bright color, or several, and make your hair that color, either at home or by a professional. Then comb it over, back, forward, or however you want. Men and women alike have colored their hair for decades, but have usually tried to make it look natural. Use bright colors to break that trend and get a little attention along the way.

Color

Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Hopefully this gives you some ideas of everything that is possible with a full head of hair. While you may not wish to go this extreme with your hair, it is nice to know that if you really wanted to, you can, thanks to your new head of thick, healthy hair courtesy of Avacor.

In the coming weeks we'll feature more examples of hair styles and tips on Avacor's Twitter and Facebook page. Follow us today for more updates.

Filed under: Hair Care, Style No Comments
27Jun/120

Swimming Hair Care Tips

Summer is here and avoiding swimming in the heat is not an option, but avoiding damage to your hair is! Chlorinated pools and salt water can wreak havoc on your tresses. Over the summer months, regular exposure can cause significant damage to anyone’s hair, but some hair types are more at risk than others. Color treated hair, especially those that are lightened, are at higher risk. Chemically treated hair that is permed, or straightened can take an extra toll over the summer months. Hair that is thin, fine, dry, or previously damaged shows more wear and tear from these chemicals.

Chlorine and pools

Chlorine on a regular basis is like any chemical, too much is never a good thing. We need chlorine as a disinfectant though. It breaks down and removes dirt, oil, and bacteria in swimming pools. Our scalps naturally produce oil to protect hair and too much chlorine will strip it of its natural oils, and cause it to dry out, and increase its porosity. Chlorine is used to kill bacteria so when it is put up against hair that is processed with chemicals, it reacts by oxidizing, causing breakage, discoloration, or dryness.

Salt water damage

Salt water may not bleach your hair, or turn it green, but it will also dry it out over time. In the hot summer months, once the sun opens up the hair cuticle, it also opens it up to other elements and potential damage. Like chlorine, sea water causes the hair to dry out from the bottom up, causing splitting and frizzing in the hair shaft. It weakens strands, and also can cause rapid color fading. The salt in the water can attach itself to the hair cuticles, and not only damage it, but also prevent it from absorbing any moisture or treatments.

Before your swim

There are ways to try and prevent the damage that chlorine and salt water will cause this summer. The first is to wear a swimming cap. Although it may not be the hottest trend, it is the number one way you can protect your hair and prevent damage if you are going to be swimming a lot. Wetting your hair before you go in the water is the easiest method. Use clean tap water and completely saturate your hair. Your hair is like a sponge and if it is already wet, it will be less likely to absorb as much chlorine and salt. Applying a conditioner before entering the water is also a great tip! It will lead to less absorption, and protect at the same time.

After your swim

After you are done swimming do not let the chlorine or salt sit on your hair. It is important to rinse and remove all of the chemicals as soon as possible. If possible, shampooing is best. After you thoroughly wash your hair, replacing what could have been potentially lost is also beneficial. A deep conditioner, or leave in conditioner will help soothe, restore, and prevent any future damage. If you are looking for hair cleaning products, find a good detoxifying shampoo and conditioner that can help rid your hair of chemicals. Keeping your hair trimmed every three weeks will also help keep up on any damage. Most of all, enjoy your summer and keep your hair looking great.

Filed under: Hair Care No Comments
30Jun/117

Brazilian Hair Straightening

Brazilian Hair Straightening: Could It “Blow Out” Your Hair?

The news of potential exposure to formaldehyde (a known human carcinogen1) from Brazilian hair straightening treatments began to surface almost four years ago, but adverse event reports recently released by the FDA reveal that some users have experienced hair loss after receiving these treatments.

Brazilian Background

In case you aren’t familiar with keratin straightening treatments (marketed under such names as Brazilian Blowout, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, and Keratin Complex), here is a brief description of the procedure.

Brazilian Blowout states on their product website that their original formula “improves the condition of the hair by creating a protective protein layer around the hair shaft to eliminate frizz and smooth the cuticle.”

According to an Associated Press article2 keratin straightening treatments “surfaced around 2005 in Brazil,” while an article3 on the Modern Salon website claims the procedure arose in the late 1990s in rural Brazil.

These treatments contain two critical ingredients: keratin, a protein found in hair and skin; and chemicals that bond the keratin onto the recipients own hair. The most common bonding chemical is formaldehyde dissolved in water (a.k.a. formalin, methylene glycol), a preservative used in embalming fluid.

In a standard treatment, the keratin/formalin solution is applied to the hair, followed by blow-drying and flat ironing at almost 450o F. The high temperatures used to lock in the treatment result in the production of “clouds of acrid-smelling smoke that stings the eyes.”2

Warnings from Public Agencies

The growing list of government health agencies that have issued warnings about formaldehyde exposure from these procedures already includes the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA),4 Health Canada,5 and the Irish Medicines Board.6

Oregon OSHA issued a final report7 on hair smoothing treatments and formaldehyde on October 29, 2010. Tests on 37 samples of Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution “Formaldehyde Free” found an average of 8.8% formaldehyde in the product.

Air monitoring tests in seven salons showed that performing a single treatment during one day did not result in actionable levels of formaldehyde in the air, but the report suggested that three comparable treatments by one stylist in the same day could result in levels exceeding the permissible exposure limit. Oregon OSHA “concluded that there are meaningful risks to salon workers when they are confronted with these hair smoothing products.”

Responses from Manufacturers

Some companies insisted their products were “formaldehyde free” because they were made with methylene glycol. Although methylene glycol is made from formaldehyde, known as “formaldehyde in solution” or formaldehyde monohydrate, and capable of releasing formaldehyde into the air, a scientist with ties to the cosmetics industry argued that the chemical formula of methylene glycol is distinct from that of formaldehyde (one ends in -ol and the other in -aldehyde) and therefore products containing methylene glycol should not be considered to contain formaldehyde as an ingredient.

(For more on the controversy over methylene glycol vs. formaldehyde, check out two posts here and here on the blog I Can Has Science, or the industry-supported position here and here.)

After Oregon OSHA publicized its test results, several manufacturers released statements regarding the “formaldehyde free” label and whether formaldehyde was an ingredient in their products (see examples here and here).

Brazilian Blowout subsequently removed the “formaldehyde free” claim from their original formula and released a new product called Brazilian Blowout Zero that does not contain methylene glycol.

Reports of Hair Loss and a Petition to the FDA

An organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) petitioned the FDA this April to take regulatory action regarding hair smoothing treatments that contain methylene glycol. In the document8 available on their website, EWG cites numerous adverse events reported to the FDA.

“In fact, FDA has received at least 47 adverse event reports about these products since 2008, according to records obtained in response to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.”

Beyond the concerns about cancer, the headaches, itching, burning eyes, and respiratory irritation, some of the adverse event reports involve hair loss:

“Within five days of the treatment I began losing large amounts of hair… experienced about a 40% volume loss in my hair and it continues to fall out at the same alarming pace[.]”

“After washing/rinsing [the] product out of her hair complainant immediately noted hair loss... Over time [her] hair became thin and she experienced more hair los[s][.]”

“My hair started falling out and continues to do so[.] I have been to my dermatologist and he confirms that my hair follicles have been damaged[.]”

“within a week had extreme hair loss which has not stopped

Although reports of hair loss following keratin straightening treatments appear to be few in number at this point, and there is no proof that the hair loss experienced by users was a direct result of the treatments they received, they may be worth keeping in mind when you’re choosing a solution for managing frizzy hair.

Keep checking back here on the Avacor® hair regrowth blog for updates on the safety issues surrounding keratin treatments and future regulatory actions taken by government agencies.

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1. “Formaldehyde - Substance Profile” from the 12th Report on Carcinogens, National Toxicology Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. June 10, 2011.
http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelfth/profiles/Formaldehyde.pdf

2. “Hazardous for Health? Roots of Brazilian Blowout.” Associated Press, via ABC News website. February 24, 2011. (accessed June 29, 2011)
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=12983482

3. “Salon Today Investigates Brazilian Keratin Services.” Modern Salon website. March 11, 2009. (accessed June 29, 2011)
http://modernsalon.com/Salon-Today-Investigates-Brazilian-Keratin-Services/2009-03-11/Article.aspx?oid=842018&aid=39

4. “Hazard Alert - Hair Smoothing Products That Could Release Formaldehyde” Occupational Safety & Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. Updated June 9, 2011. (accessed June 29, 2011)
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/formaldehyde/hazard_alert.html

5. “Brazilian Blowout Solution Contains Formaldehyde: Update” Health Canada Advisory 2010-182. October 26, 2010.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2010/2010_182-eng.php

6. “Concerns Relating to use of Certain Hair Straightening Products – Update.” Irish Medicines Board. November 29, 2010.
http://www.imb.ie/images/uploaded/documents/Concerns%20Relating%20to%20use%20of%20Certain%20Hair%20Straightening%20Products%20%E2%80%93%20Update%20Nov.%2029th.pdf

7. “‘Keratin-Based’ Hair Smoothing Products And the Presence of Formaldehyde.” Oregon OSHA and CROET at Oregon Health & Sciences University. October 29, 2010.
http://www.orosha.org/pdf/Final_Hair_Smoothing_Report.pdf

8. “Citizen Petition for Regulatory Action to Address Safety Concerns Surrounding Keratin Hair-Straighteners that Contain Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasing Chemicals as Ingredients.” Environmental Working Group. April 12, 2011.
http://static.ewg.org/reports/2011/brazil_blowout/PDF/FDA-Petition.pdf