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Effect of topical application of hard water in weakening of hair in men

Authors:
  • Khyber Medical University- Institute of Medical Sciences, Kohat
  • Khyber Medical University Institute of Medical Sciences (KMU-IMS), Kohat

Abstract and Figures

Background: Hard water is thought to play a key role in weakening of hair (not Hair Loss) and breakage especially when travelling is involved. In our community, commonly men do the travelling and complain more about hair problem which is why only young male individuals were included in this study. Materials and methods:: Water samples from different districts of KPK, Pakistan, were collected and their hardness values were estimated to find the water sample of maximum and minimum water hardness in order to know the maximum hardness hair would encounter in KPK, Pakistan. Samples from district Kohat had maximum hardness whereas minimum hardness was estimated in samples of district Peshawar. Water from district Kohat was considered as our sample water for the experimental group of hair. Hair samples were collected from 76 male individuals of district Peshawar, the area with least water hardness among the samples collected. Each hair sample was divided into two halves. One half was considered as experimental group and the other was considered as control group. The experimental group was treated with hard water of district Kohat for 10 minutes on alternate days, for 3 months. In a very similar way the control group was treated with de-ionized water. Tensile strength in term of "Stress" of both the experimental and control groups were measured using the universal testing machine and compared using paired t-test. Results and conclusions:: The standard deviations (SD) for hair treated with hard water and distilled water was 62.05 and 58.13 respectively and the mean values were 238.49 and 255.36 respectively. The results showed that the tensile strength of hair was significantly (p=0.001) reduced in hair treated with hard water as compared to hair treated with de-ionized water.
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Introduction
Hair is treasured by everyone as it is a sign of both beauty
and confidence. This biomaterial is a characteristic feature
of mammals and grows in the form of a filament from the
follicles present in Dermis.1
Hair problems are common in all communities and the
most common ones are hair loss (16-96%) and
breakage.2-6 Here we are going to focus on hair breakage.
Genetic cause for hair loss is an established fact,7but
most people relate breakage (not hair loss) to the use of
hard water.6
Hardness of water is due to the presence of Calcium
Carbonate and Magnesium Sulphate in water that results
in temporary and permanent hardness respectively.8
Temporary hardness can be removed by boiling where as
it has no effect on permanent hardness. There are many
ways to express hardness of water, e.g. ppm, dGH, gpg etc.,
but most commonly it is expressed as equivalent of
Calcium carbonate.8Generally there are no harmful effects
of hard water on one's health rather it has more useful
effects as it acts as a good source of calcium and
magnesium.9-13 According to United States Geological
Survey (USGS) water is classified into four types (Table-1).14
Hair has a cysteine rich protein called keratin, that is
resistant to proteolytic enzymes' activity making it a very
stable biomaterial but still these proteins render hair a
reactive nature.15,16 The presence of hydrogen bonds,
ionic bonds and covalent bonds give stability to the hair
structure but also act as location for chemical
processes.17,18 In a medium with a pH greater than 5.5
hair scales swells up and allows absorption of metal ions
in to the hair structure whereas at ph below 5.5 the hair
scales shrink blocking the entry.19 When a chemical
reaction occurs in hair, oxidation of the disulphide bonds
occur that result in the formation of sulfonate and
sulfonic acid followed by the ionization (de-protonation)
of the side chains of proteins and forms negatively
charged resin that helps in drawing the cations from the
solution in to the hair structure (as hair dyeing).16
Similarly when the hair reacts with hard water, the
cations; calcium and magnesium are absorbed from the
J Pak Med Assoc
1132
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Effect of topical application of hard water in weakening of hair in men
Muhammad Waqas Luqman,1Roshan Ali,2Zahid Khan,3Muhammad Haris Ramzan,4Fazal Hanan,5Usama Javaid6
Abstract
Background: Hard water is thought to play a key role in weakening of hair (not Hair Loss) and breakage especially
when travelling is involved. In our community, commonly men do the travelling and complain more about hair
problem which is why only young male individuals were included in this study.
Materials and Methods: Water samples from different districts of KPK, Pakistan, were collected and their hardness
values were estimated to find the water sample of maximum and minimum water hardness in order to know the
maximum hardness hair would encounter in KPK, Pakistan. Samples from district Kohat had maximum hardness
whereas minimum hardness was estimated in samples of district Peshawar. Water from district Kohat was
considered as our sample water for the experimental group of hair.
Hair samples were collected from 76 male individuals of district Peshawar, the area with least water hardness among
the samples collected. Each hair sample was divided into two halves. One half was considered as experimental
group and the other was considered as control group. The experimental group was treated with hard water of
district Kohat for 10 minutes on alternate days, for 3 months. In a very similar way the control group was treated with
de-ionized water. Tensile strength in term of "Stress" of both the experimental and control groups were measured
using the universal testing machine and compared using paired t-test.
Results and Conclusions: The standard deviations (SD) for hair treated with hard water and distilled water was
62.05 and 58.13 respectively and the mean values were 238.49 and 255.36 respectively.The results showed that the
tensile strength of hair was significantly (p=0.001) reduced in hair treated with hard water as compared to hair
treated with de-ionized water.
Keywords: Hair, hard water, tensile strength, calcium carbonate, magnesium sulphate. (JPMA 66: 1132; 2016)
1,2Department of Biochemistry, 4Department of Physiology, Khyber Medical
University, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, 3Department of Biochemistry,
Institute of Chemical Sciences, 5Department of Microbiology, Lady Reading
Hospital, 6Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, KPK, Pakistan.
Correspondence: Muhammad Waqas Luqman. Email: dr.waqas@kmu.edu.pk
water by the anion sites of hair and results in oxidation of
hair (similar to oxidative damage in hair dyeing), is
influenced by both water hardness and/or pH.16,20
Keeping in view the importance of both hair and hard
water and their regular interaction with each other
during bathing, washing etc., and the pH as calculated in
Table-2 and its effect, we conducted this study to
evaluate the effect of hard water on strength of hair in
men and also create awareness among people about the
effect of hard water on hair. A study such as this has never
been conducted in our area.
Materials and Methods
This study was experimental in nature and two types of
samples were used i.e. hard water and hair and the
sampling technique used was non-probability, purposive,
Randomized Control Trial (RCT). This study was approved
by the institutional review board (IRB) and advance
studies and research board (AS&RB), Khyber Medical
University, Peshawar, Pakistan. This study was carried out
from September 2014, to February 2015.
Hard Water Sample
Samples of tap water were collected from different
districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan and their
relative hardness was evaluated according to
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
standards, with the help of ethylendiaminetetraacetate
(EDTA) assay in terms of standard unit for hardness i.e.
mg/L of CaCO3 (Table-2).21-24
From the samples we concluded that the maximum
hardness is found in the area of Kohat. The purpose of
finding maximum hardness was to establish the
maximum hardness a hair can encounter in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. So tap water from district Kohat
was considered as our sample hard water. This water was
further evaluated to find the actual hardness compounds
(Table-3).
Hair Samples
After a well written signed consent form, from 76 young
male healthy individuals from district Peshawar, aged 20-
30 years, with no cardiac disease,25 no skin infection
(fungal),26 no hair loss patterns, no autoimmune disease
(alopecia), no chemotherapy, non-smokers,27 non-
diabetics,28 and with almost 15cm long straight hair, were
selected. Hair achieve maximum diameter during age 20-
30 years and the contents of hair are mostly proteins,
whereas straight hair has a uniform diameter.19
The minimum length was kept 15 cm as each hair had to
be divided in to two halves. One half had to be considered
as part of the control group and the other half as the
experimental group. In this way two groups were
established, an experimental and control each comprising
of 76 hair samples. Each hair from both experimental and
control group was tied to a glass rod.
The experimental group was treated with hard water
sample, for 10 minutes on alternate days, for 3 months
and in the very similar way the control group was treated
with de-ionized water.
After treatment of both groups with respective water,
Universal Testing Machine (UTM) (M500-1000KN, United
Kingdom), available at the Centralized Resources
Laboratory (CRL), Physics Department, University of
Peshawar, was used to find the tensile strength of the hair
of both the control and experimental group. Tensile
strength of a material is measured in terms of stress
applied to it.
Statistics
The results were stored in a preformed proforma and then
compared by Students' paired t-test using Statistical
Package for Social Sciences (SPSS, Version 20, Inc, Chicago,
IL, USA). P<0.5 was regarded to be statistically Significant.
Results were put into words as means and ± Standard
Error of Mean (SEM).
Vol. 66, No. 9, September 2016
Effect of topical application of hard water in weakeningof hair in men 1133
Table-1: Categories of Water Hardness.14
Classification of Hard Water Hardness in mg/L of CaCO3
Soft 0-60
Moderately Hard 61-120
Hard 121-180
Very Hard >180
Table-2: Hardness of tap water samples from different districts of KPK, in terms of
CaCO3, and their pH Values.
Sample Area Total Hardness as CaCO3(mg/L) pH
1 Abbottabad 250.88 7.44
2 Kohat 485.47 6.85
3 Haripur 361. 58 6.26
4 Peshawar 241.98 6.58
Table-3: Chemical analysis of water sample from district Kohat.
Parameters Results
Total Hardness as CaCO3 487.47 mg/L
Total Calcium Compounds as CaCO3 129.95 mg/L
Total Magnesium Compound as CaCO3 361. 58 mg/L
pH 6.85
Results
Hard water can be classified in to the following four
categories as shown in Table-1.
Tap water was collective from different districts of Khyber
Pukhtoonkhwa and their relative hardness was measured
(Table-5).
Significant difference in the tensile strength of both
experimental and control group was observed.
Discussions
People treasure hair and consider it a great asset.
Therefore; a lot of focus is put to its health and care.
Many different types of shampoos, conditioners and
oils are used to prevent damage to it. But most
common interaction of hair is with water and when its
hard water there might be consequences. In our study
we showed that hard water significantly decreases the
strength of hair. Similar work was performed by
Srinivasan and his colleague6and Evans and his
colleague20 that showed no significance between hard
water and its effect on the tensile strength of hair. Our
results might be different for a number of reasons. The
hardness of water used in the study conducted by
Srinivasan was 212.71 mg/L of CaCO3 and that used by
Evans was 17gpg (272 mg/L of CaCO3), that both had
almost half hardness as compared to the hard water we
used in our study i.e. 486.7mg/L of CaCO3. Female hair
J Pak Med Assoc
1134 M. W.Luqman, R. Ali, Z. Khan, et al
Table-4: Age groups and number of the participants taken in the study.
S.No Age Group Nu mber of Sub jects (Total
76)
1 21 11
2 22 16
3 23 13
4 24 12
5 25 9
6 26 6
7 27 6
Table-5: Mean Tensile Strength of Control and Experimental Group compared using students paired t-test (N=76).
Mean± SD Minimum Maximum SEM P Value
Tensile Strength (Control Group) 255.36±58.13 126.76 378.0 6.67 0.001
Tensile Strength (Experimental Group) 238.49±62.05 113.18 355.38 7.12
Values = Mean ± SEM. Tensile Strength expressedin N/mm2
Figure: Tensile strength of individual hair in ascending order, showingnow specific pattern or order.
were used Srinivasan in his study, whereas we
conducted our study on male hair, which gives us the
idea that gender might play a role in different results.
We also exposed hair to hard water for much longer
period of time and our sample size was much larger
than in either study.
Though there is a regular interaction between the hair
and hard water but the damage is not always so
obvious. Because of the different shampoos and hair
conditioners etc. that act as chelants that extract the
metal ions from the hard water, reducing the chances
of hair exposure to it. Also in some areas, yogurt and
lemon are commonly applied to hair that contain
Lactic acid and ascorbic acids respectively which re-
protonate the proteins side chains and desorbs the
metal cations. Besides; the acid treatment (pH less
than 5.5) also shrinks the hair scales thus inhibiting the
entr y of the metal ions from water in to the hair
structure.
Age was found to have no effect on the strength of
hair in random samples. Our study conducted
revealed that under normal circumstances there is a
marked statistical difference between the tensile
strength of the experimental and control group after
treatmen t with hard wate r and deion ized water
respectively. However enough data on the
mechanism is not available and different sample size
and different salt concentration may give different
results.
Conclusions
From the above mentioned study we showed that
there is marked statistical significance in the tensile
strength of hair treated with hard water and distilled
water, hence we conclude that hard water decreases
the strength of hair and thus increase hair breakage.
Acknowledgments
All Authors are extremely thankful to Pakistan Council of
Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Laboratories,
Peshawar, Pakistan and Centralized Resource Laboratory
(CRL), Physics Department, University of Peshawar,
Pakistan and their staff for their help and support in
carrying out different analytical procedures involved in
our study.
Competing Interests: Authors have no Conflict of
interest.
Financial Support: The study was self supported and no
financial favors were taken from any institution or
company.
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... 4 However, another study by Luqman et al., in a sample of 76 volunteers, suggested that tensile strength might indeed be affected by the hardness of water. 7 In this study, the tensile strength of hair was significantly reduced in hair treated with hard water compared to soft water. 7 It has been postulated that long-term deposition of salts on the hair shaft may lead to an abrasive action on the hair shaft leading to surface damage, water loss, and eventually decreased thickness. ...
... 7 In this study, the tensile strength of hair was significantly reduced in hair treated with hard water compared to soft water. 7 It has been postulated that long-term deposition of salts on the hair shaft may lead to an abrasive action on the hair shaft leading to surface damage, water loss, and eventually decreased thickness. 5 The significance of the relatively higher deposition of magnesium salts is not clear. ...
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... 4 However, another study by Luqman et al., in a sample of 76 volunteers, suggested that tensile strength might indeed be affected by the hardness of water. 7 In this study, the tensile strength of hair was significantly reduced in hair treated with hard water compared to soft water. 7 It has been postulated that long-term deposition of salts on the hair shaft may lead to an abrasive action on the hair shaft leading to surface damage, water loss, and eventually decreased thickness. ...
... 7 In this study, the tensile strength of hair was significantly reduced in hair treated with hard water compared to soft water. 7 It has been postulated that long-term deposition of salts on the hair shaft may lead to an abrasive action on the hair shaft leading to surface damage, water loss, and eventually decreased thickness. 5 The significance of the relatively higher deposition of magnesium salts is not clear. ...
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Background and Aim Interaction of hair with water is common. This study was conducted to compare changes in baseline strength of hair after treating it with hard water and deionized water. Material and Methods Hardness level of water samples collected from 10 districts of KP, Pakistan was determined, and that with maximum hardness was considered our sample hard water. Hair samples of 70 male individuals, from district with minimum hardness levels, were collected. Each hair sample was divided into three equal parts, and three groups of hair were established, each group containing 70 hairs. Group A was considered control. Group B was treated with deionized water and Group C was treated with hard water. Tensile strength of all three groups was measured using the universal testing machine and compared using paired t-test. Results The mean age of all 70 participants were 23.87 ± 3. The mean values of tensile strength for hairs of Groups A, B, and C were 255.49, 254.84, and 234.16 with a standard deviation of 57.55, 58.74, and 56.25, respectively. Results were significant in case of hard water (P = 0.001) as compared to deionized water (P = 0.609). Conclusion Hard water decreases strength of hair and thus increases breakage.
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Book
Human hair is the subject of a remarkably wide range of scientific investigations. Its chemical and physical properties are of importance to the cosmetics industry, forensic scientists and to biomedical researchers. The fifth edition of this book confirms its position as the definitive monograph on the subject. Previous editions were recognized as “concise and thorough” (Journal of the American Chemical Society), “an invaluable resource” (Canadian Forensic Science Society Journal), and “highly recommended” (Textile Research Journal). Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair is a teaching guide and reference volume for cosmetic chemists and other scientists in the hair products industry, academic researchers studying hair and hair growth, textile scientists and forensic specialists. Features of the Fifth Edition: Recent advances in the classification and characterization of the different proteins and genes in IF and keratin associated proteins in human hair are described. The mechanism and incidence of hair growth and loss and hair density vs. age of males & females are described for Asians, Caucasians and Africans in different scalp regions. Details of hair surface lipids and cuticle membranes provide a better understanding of the surface and organization of the CMC and its involvement in stress strain is presented. Recent evidence demonstrates a more bilateral structure in curly hair and a more concentric arrangement of different cortical proteins in straighter hair. SNPs involved in hair form (curl and coarseness) and pigmentation and genes in alopecia and hair abnormalities are described. The latest biosynthetic scheme for hair pigments and structures for these and the different response of red versus brown-black pigments to photodegradation is described. A new method for curvature on 2,400 persons from different countries and groups is used to assign curvature throughout this book. Additional data for age and effects on diameter, ellipticity, elastic modulus, break stress and other parameters are presented with much larger data sets featuring statistical analyses. Hair conditioning, strength, breakage, split ends, flyaway, shine, combing ease, body, style retention, manageability and feel parameters are defined and described. A new section of different life stages by age groups considering collective and individual changes in hair fiber properties with age and how these affect assembly properties.
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Demographic, smoking and dietary information was obtained from a cohort of 17,633 white American men, largely of Scandinavian and German descent, who responded to a mailed questionnaire in 1966. After 20 years of follow-up, 50% to 90% increases in mortality from stomach cancer (75 deaths) were found among foreign-born, their children, and among residents of the North Central states. An association was seen with low educational attainment and laboring or semiskilled occupations, primarily among immigrants and their children. Risk was elevated in subjects who regularly smoked cigarettes (RR = 2.6, 95% CI = 1.1 to 5.8). A significant dose-response trend was observed, with subjects who smoked 30 or more cigarettes per day having more than a five-fold increased risk compared with those who never smoked. Elevated risks were also found for pipe smoking and smokeless tobacco use, but not for alcohol consumption. Analysis of dietary consumption of nine food groups revealed no significant associations with stomach cancer. However, total carbohydrate intake and a few individual food items (salted fish, bacon, cooked cereal, milk, and apples) were associated with increased risk. The findings of this prospective study of a high-risk population add to the limited evidence relating tobacco consumption to stomach cancer risk and suggest clues to ethnic, geographic, and dietary risk factors.
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The objective of this work was to examine the variables that influence the interaction between water hardness metals and human hair. Hair extracts various constituents from the tap water used during daily hygiene practices and chemical treatments. Calcium and magnesium metal ions are the most prevalent and give water "hardness." Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) was employed to quantify the metal content of hair, which was studied as a function of the following variables: hair condition (oxidative damage), level of water hardness, and water pH. We have demonstrated that these variables impact water hardness metal uptake to varying extents, and the effects are driven primarily by the binding capacity (available anionic sites) of the hair. The condition of the hair, a key representation of the binding capacity, was most influential. Interestingly, water hardness levels had only a small effect on uptake; hair became saturated with notable amounts of water hardness metals even after repeated exposure to soft water. Water pH influenced metal uptake since side chains of hair proteins deprotonate with increasing alkalinity. These insights highlight the importance to the hair care industry of understanding the interaction between water hardness metals and hair.
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Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is the most common form of hair loss in men, and female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common form of hair loss in women. Traditional methods of treating hair loss have included minoxidil, finasteride, and surgical transplantation. Currently there is a myriad of new and experimental treatments. In addition, low-level light therapy (LLLT) has recently been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hair loss. There are several theories and minimal clinical evidence of the safety and efficacy of LLLT, although most experts agree that it is safe. More in vitro studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanism and effectiveness at the cellular level, and more controlled studies are necessary to assess the role of this new treatment in the general population.