Free radicals & how to protect hair from them

Free radicals & how to protect hair from them

What are free radicals?

Chemically unstable molecules with at least one unpaired electron are known as free radicals. By stealing electrons from other molecules, they can stabilise themselves by scavenging the body for other electrons. A short electron is left behind in the molecule being robbed, which causes the whole debacle. Now, the robbed molecule turns into a free radical by itself, which may reduce the function of other cells and ultimately kill them.

How are free radicals produced in the human body?

Free radicals and other 'relative oxygen species' (ROS) are derived from normal essential metabolic processes in the human body or external sources like environmental pollutants & UV rays, among others. 

How do they affect you?

A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. Eventually, an organism's cells are destroyed by free radicals, causing it to age. Oxidative stress results when the body is unable to control free radicals. Oxidative stress has been associated with various conditions, including progressive damage of the cellular structures related to the hair and scalp, dandruff, and seborrheic dermatitis.

Therefore, the scalp appears to be impacted by oxidative stress before the emergence of the hair. The yeast species Malassezia, which is linked to the conditions of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, has also been recognised as a source of oxidative stress and is considered to contribute to compromised hair health and growth.

Let's look at the correlation between oxidative stress and Hair.

It is a known fact that prolonged exposure to sunlight results in hair damage, ultimately leading to tensile strength loss, brittleness, and colour changes. It also leads to loss of lustre, split ends, and increased surface friction. The process occurs via a free radical chain reaction initiated by the high-energy UV wavelengths in the sunlight and other factors like pollution.

Trace metals, particularly copper ions absorbed into the hair fibers from tap water, increase the rate of free radical oxidation. In pigmented hair, melanin granules partially protect the protein and lipid components from oxidation, although the hair becomes lighter as melanin is oxidised.

Moreover, free radicals also weaken coloured hair. UV rays can generate free radicals in the hair structure, causing damage to hair melanin and breaking down essential components for hair growth, such as amino acids, peptides, and proteins. This can lead to changes in the mechanical properties of the hair, negatively impacting its health and colour. As coloured hair is already dry and weak, it is highly prone to damage due to oxidative stress. 

However, here is how to protect your hair and scalp against them.

Well, the good news is that you can fight free radicals with the help of antioxidants. Unlike free radicals, these compounds can give up an extra electron without becoming unstable, ending the destruction chain. Rich sources of antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, and E, among others, and you can find these both in the foods you eat and the products you apply. These ingredients fight oxidative stress and have antioxidant properties that give you shiny, lustrous hair. That is why you should use hair products that help protect your hair from those free radicals you run into daily, like including iluvia's hair-protection serum in your hair care routine. 

Additionally, if you have coloured, bleached, or highlighted hair, include iluvia's Colour Lock Shampoo, which has a pH-balanced formula that helps reduce colour bleed and prevents any degradation of colour molecules by free-radical damage. It is suitable for both semi-permanent and permanent hair colour.

Moreover, the antioxidant properties in these products protect hair from free radical damage caused by pollution and UV light sources like sunlight that break down hair colour and molecular bonds. It contains actives to repair brittle hair and provides a heat and damage protection routine for unruly, difficult-to-manage, frizzy hair.

iluvia's hair care products are suitable for all hair types, so take the first step towards healthy hair today. They are even compatible with coloured and treated hair making them perfect for protecting your long locks against those free radicals. Shop iluvia's collection today.