Cosmetics industry is a highly competitive market. Many companies are in this space, providing today’s consumers thousands of skincare, hair care, make-up, fragrances and toiletries. An estimated of 10,000+ hair care products were launched in only in 2012. To have success in such competing sector, cosmetic products must differentiate which can be achieved by means of using emergent technologies, such as micro or nanoencapsulation.
Encapsulation technologies add value by introducing different functional properties to products.
What is micro/nanoencapsulation?
Micro/nanoencapsulation is the process of packaging small droplets of liquid or particles with a thin film (1). Microcapsules have diameter greater than 0.1 µm and less than 1000 µm (for comparison – 100 µm is the average diameter of a human hair strand). Nanocapsules have diameter less than 100 nm (for comparison – 2 nm is the diameter of a DNA helix)
Micro/nanocapsules are composed by two parts: the core and the shell. The core contains the active agent that can be: essential oils, fragrances, vitamin, antioxidants, or other active ingredients. The shell can be made of polymers, lipid bilayers (in the case of liposomes), lipids, nonionic surfactants (in the case of niosomes). Shells can also consist of a continuous film or can be porous.
What is the scope of encapsulation in cosmetics?
There are 3 main objectives:
- protection against degradation from external factors; protect fragrances or other active agents from oxidation caused by heat, light, moisture, or from contact with other substances over a long shelf life (2);
- controlled release of the active ingredient over a period of time (3);
- penetration enhancer into the skin or hair strands; encapsulation and carrier systems like liposomes, nanoemulsions, or lipid nanoparticles serve to transport agents to deeper skin layers.
In my opinion, hair care is one of the most promising field where encapsulate (specially at the nanoscale) can have a fast and strong impact. While the majority of research has been focused on skin care, hair care was a little bit neglected. However, in the last years, research is ongoing to discover how encapsulation techniques and nanotechnologies can be used to prevent hair loss and to maintain shine, silkiness, and health of hairs (4).
- Unlike ordinary hair straightening products nanoemulsion in hair cosmetics does not destroy the outer structure of the hair fibers (the cuticles), to penetrate into the hair strands (5).
- For example, sericin (composed of cationic sericin nanoparticles) is an active area of hair cosmetics. Studies have shown that sericin nanoparticles easily adhere to the surface of hair, sealing and treating the damaged cuticles (6).
The present and the future look very innovative as more hair care companies borrow ingredients from skin care products and apply them to both scalp and hair care. It has to start with a healthy scalp, and the scalp has to stay healthy for the hair to follow.
- Blair, H.S., Guthrie, J., Law, T. and Turkington, P. Chitosan and modified chitosan membranes, preparation and characterization. J. App. Poly. Sci 1987; 33: 641-656.
- K. Ghosh, Functional coatings and microencapsulation: a general perspective, in: Swapan Kumar Ghosh (Ed.) Functional Coatings, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2006, pp. 1–28.
- J. Greay, K.A. Hammer, Recent developments in the bioactivity of mono- and diterpenes: anticancer and antimicrobial activity, Phytochem. Rev. (2011)
- Alka Lohani, Anurag Verma, Himanshi Joshi, Niti Yadav, and Neha Karki, Nanotechnology-based Cosmetics, ISRN Dermatology, Volume 2014, Article ID 843687.
- Ereno, “Well-grounded Beauty,” http://revistapesquisa fapesp.br/en/2008/04/01/wellgrounded-beauty/.
- D. Carmen, V. Pereda, A. Polezel et al., “Sericin cationic nanoparticles for application in products for hair and dyed hair,” U.S. Patent 20120164196, June 2012.
Hair loss has really created chaos around the world now days. Recent data shows tendency of hair fall has increased in past two decades (1) being a psychological problem as well.
In particular, the Female Pattern Hair Loss (FPHL) is a very common form of hair loss that can occur in all ages but most commonly in postmenopausal women. It is a non-scarring progressive thinning of hair and results from a progressive decrease in the ratio of terminal hairs to shorter, thinner vellus hairs, a process known as follicular miniaturization.
In the past, the term “androgenetic alopecia” (AGA) was the primary term used to refer to this condition in both men and women. The term “andro” from ancient Greek refers to male subjects and “genetic” referred to the contribution of heredity. Over the years, “female pattern hair loss” became the preferred term for this form of hair loss. This terminology helps to distinguish the different features of the condition in women versus men and shows the lack of clear hormonal contribution in many cases. Although hormonal factors and genetic predisposition are believed to contribute to FPHL, the complete mechanism remains elusive and the most affected women have normal androgen levels (2).
So, scientists don’t know yet why certain hair follicles are programmed to have a shorter growth period than others.
However, several factors may influence hair loss, specifically in the case of temporary loss:
- Deficiency of useful minerals & vitamins in body
- Mental & emotional stress
- Prolonged illness
- Hormonal imbalance commonly seen in hyperthyroidism, imbalance in androgen & estrogen
- Usually after child birth due to hormonal imbalance
- Certain medications like blood thinners, vitamin A if taken in excess amount, non-contraceptive pills, anti depressant drugs & medicines used in chemotherapy.
- Certain infections that can promote hair loss for example fungal infection on scalp
- Diseases like diabetes may also be a precipitating factor in hair loss
- Poor blood circulation or excess blood loss
- Lack of sleep & life style disorder
- Hereditary factors
Horsetail – composition, uses and DIY
Equisetum arvense (or field horsetail) is one of the oldest plants on earth and what remain today from tree-sized fossils are the field horsetails.
Composition: No other herb in the entire plant kingdom is as rich in silicon as is horsetail. This trace element really helps to bind protein molecules together in the blood vessels and connective tissues. Silicon is the material of which collagen is made. Collagen is the “body glue” that holds our skin and muscle tissues together. It contains silicic acid and silicates (5-10%), potassium (1.8%), calcium (1.3%), aluminium, sulphur, magnesium and manganese (4). It also contains flavonoids, alkaloids and phytosterols.
Uses: Equisetum arvense extract is used mainly as collagen promoting agent in cosmetics.
In skin care, it is considered to be the best possible tonic to cure acne and eczema, known to provide excellent healing effect for most skin conditions. Horsetail improves the texture and tone of skin, and it is also used as in cosmetics as a moisturizer and skin conditioning agent (5).
In hair care, because of the high content in silica, it promotes hair growth and improves the quality and condition of hair (6). It prevents grey hair, acts against dandruff and seborrhea (7,8).
Horsetail extracts showed hair growth-stimulating effect in an aged man with alopecia (9).
Horsetail infusion preparation for use at home: Add 3 Tsp of plant (the stems are pre-cut in very small pieces) to 1L of boiling water, cover the recipient and leave it for 10 minutes. Filter the solution and use it to rinse your hair and to massage the scalp very well. The procedure needs to be repeated every time you wash your scalp and continue for 4-5 months.
Jain Deepak, Jain Yogita1, Hair loss and Herbal Medicines, Global J Trad Med Sys. 2012 September 1(1): 13-15
Anja Vujovic and Véronique Del Marmol, The Female Pattern Hair Loss: Review of Etiopathogenesis and Diagnosis, BioMed Research International, Volume 2014.
Sasaki I, Inoue S, Togiya H. Collagen synthesis-promoting agents containing plant extracts. Jpn Kokai Tokkyo Koho 2001, 11.
Carnet A, Petitjean-Freytet C, Muller D, Lamaison JL. Content of major constituents of horsetails, Equisetum arvense L. Plantes medicinales et phytotherapy 1991; 25(1): 32-8.
Yamamoto Y, Takei M. Skin-moisturizing and -conditioning preparations containing plant extracts and lipids. Jpn Kokai Tokkyo Koho 2001, 22.
Semwal et. al/ Alopecia: Switch To Herbal Medicine, Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Medicine, 2011.
Fukuda R, Kidena E. Hair preparations containing Equisetum arvense extracts for prevention of gray hair. Jpn Kokai Tokkyo Koho 2001, 10.
Kuriyama K, Watanabe Y, Hotta H, Takisada M, Senoo M, Kameyama K. Anti-acne and anti-dandruff compositions containing lignan glycosides and antisebum/antibacterial agents. Jpn Kokai Tokkyo Koho 1998.
Ikemitsu S, Ikemitsu H, Maeda T. Hair growth stimulants containing Equisetum arvense extracts. Jpn Kokai Tokkyo Koho 2001, 5.