Hair is exposed every day to a range of harmful effects such as sunlight, pollution, cosmetic treatments, grooming practices and cleansing. The UV components of sunlight damage human hair, causing fibre degradation. UV-B attacks the melanin pigments and the protein fractions (keratin) of hair and UV-A produces free radical/reactive oxygen species (ROS) through the interaction of endogenous photosensitizers. Hair was dyed and the efficacy of two antioxidant formulations was demonstrated after UV exposure by evaluating, surface morphology, protein and amino acid degradation, lipidic peroxidation, colour and shine changes and strength/relaxation properties. UV treatment resulted in an increase in protein and lipid degradation, changes in colour and shine and in adverse consequences for the mechanical properties. Natural antioxidants obtained from artichoke and rice applied to pretreated hair improved mechanical properties and preserved colour and shine of fibres, coating them and protecting them against UV. Furthermore, the lipidic peroxidation of the protein degradation caused by UV was reduced for some treated fibres, suggesting an improvement in fibre integrity. This was more marked in the case of the fibres treated using the artichoke extract, whereas the rice extract was better preserving shine and colour of hair fibres.
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