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Should Skin Care Stop at the Hairline?

By: Rhonda Allison
Posted: December 30, 2011, from the January 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Telogen phase. The telogen phase is the resting phase of the hair follicle. At any given time, 10–15% of all hair is in the telogen phase. This phase lasts approximately 100 days for hair on the scalp, and longer for hair on the eyebrows, eyelashes, arms and legs. During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest, and the club hair is completely formed. Approximately 25–100 telogen hairs are shed normally each day.

Factors that can disrupt the cycle and trigger hair loss include disease and illness; stress; hormones; nutritional deficiencies; and medications and surgery. Knowing these potential cycle disrupters, what can skin care professionals do to correct hair damage and the progression of hair aging?

Applying esthetic knowledge to hair

Two major components of skin and hair are keratin and mitochondria. Keratin refers to a family of sulfur-containing fibrous proteins that form the key structural material of the outer layer of skin, hair and nails. Keratin, chains of polypeptides, are essential in forming the inner and outer root sheaths, as well as the hair shaft through keratinization.

The mitochondria, known as the cell’s powerhouses, act like the digestive system to regulate the intake and breakdown of nutrients to create energy for cells. Maintaining hair and skin—or scalp—health, and slowing the aging process requires both cellular energy and keratin support.

Studies have shown excess mitochondria damage can result in apoptosis, or cell death, a characteristic of aging. When mitochondrial damage occurs, skin, including the scalp, will suffer from tone loss, thinness and abnormal collagen accumulation. Keratin also suffers through excessive styling damage and chemicals, as well as a lack of proteins and amino acids. Through research, it is now known that many of the ingredients traditionally used in the treatment room also have the power to inhibit the progression of hair damage and loss by stimulating mitochondria, supporting keratin and fighting free radicals. Some of these ingredients include the following.