A quick glance around any health or beauty shop reveals hundreds of products for both hair and nails, all boasting about how much keratin they contain. But what is this miracle ingredient and why do we need it so much? We delve into the science to help you understand more about keratin and how to use it.
So what is keratin exactly?
Essentially, keratin is a bunch of proteins that make up the building blocks of our hair, nails and skin. This family of proteins bond together to make super-strong structures that help these parts of our body stay tough and unbreakable; for example healthy hair is 95% keratin while strong keratin bonds are what makes our skin waterproof.
How do these bonds work?
The coils of proteins that make up keratin can bond in different ways: hydrogen bonds, ionic bonds or sulfide bonds. Hydrogen bonds are the weakest type and break down easily when they come into contact with water, which can explain why your hair goes extra frizzy after a swim or on humid days! The other two types of bonds are stronger and it’s these that are encouraged by keratin hair treatments to make your hair smoother and stronger.
Is that why I need keratin? For smoother hair?
Yes, that’s a benefit of keratin but by no means the only one. Naturally-produced keratin also helps repair damaged cells, creates a protective barrier in the skin to protect it against bacteria and helps strengthen your teeth and nails, so it’s important for lots of reasons.
Sounds good! Where can I get some?
Your body produces keratin naturally but, if you find you have weak or brittle nails or hair, there are some steps you can take to increase production. As with lots of beauty regimes keratin production starts with a healthy diet and, since it’s made of protein, you guessed it! You’ll need a diet rich in protein. Think lean meat, fish and dairy; these all contain the amino acids essential to keratin creation. Iron and vegetable-based proteins also form the building blocks of keratin so lots of leafy green veg and Vitamin C-rich fruits are key. Of course there are also plenty of products you can use to give your hair a helping hand. Try a keratin-enriched shampoo, a keratin hair masque or even the keratin-coated Radiant Shine Dynamica 4000 Sunrise Hairdryer to make the most of this miracle ingredient.