Prevention of lipid loss from hair by surface and internal modification

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 8;9(1):9834. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46370-x.


Surfactants during routine washing have a tremendous effect on lipid loss from hair. This study aims to understand the loss of lipids from hair upon contact with surfactants and develop a way to prevent the lipid loss. The change in lipid levels depends on the relative hydrophobicity of the lipid. We herein propose that the change in lipid levels can be protected by two modifications. In the case of fatty acids and cholesterol (group A), the concentration difference between virgin hair versus surface modified hair with highly charged polymer was 22 to 32% higher after washing with surfactants while the loss of squalene and wax esters (group B) in response to surfactants still occurred even after the surface modification. In the hair treated by internal modification with the carbodiimide reaction, 52.0 to 81.3% more lipids in group B were prevented than in the untreated hair. Finally, different types of lipids were successfully protected by surface and internal modifications from the surfactant treatment. This study will be the basis for understanding the mechanisms by which surfactants damage the lipid barrier of tissues including hair and for establishing strategies to defend the barrier.

MeSH terms

  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Hair / drug effects
  • Hair / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions / drug effects
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Surface-Active Agents / adverse effects*


  • Lipids
  • Surface-Active Agents