Monday, 26 May 2014

The sun protection experiment

Have I mentioned how much I love intelligent feedback?

The comments from my SPF-post made me think. I could do a lengthy and boring post on active ingredients and SPF science, but I could also try an experiment.
So I did the latter: I have made a set up for a sun experiment for hair.

The goal: To see if hair products boasting of sun protection actually will have an effect. 



I have been collecting shed hairs for a friend’s dreadlocks for a while (She politely asked for some of my coarse, resilient hairs for her dreads and I just couldn’t refuse) but some of them will go towards this experiment.



I drew squares on the cardboard on the back of a block of paper, then spread out some hairs and taped them to it. This was the best I could do to keep the hairs in place but not cover them too much and disturb the sun rays.
One square is marked “hair SPF”, middle one is “control” and the last is “skin SPF”.

Notice the flap of paper taped to the top?


It folds down to cover the “control” square...

...So I can spray the two squares without getting too much on the “control”.

I decided to use a normal skin SPF to see if maybe there will be a difference between the product for hair and skin.


 Then I folded the flap back and left the experiment in the back window that faces south. Between around 5 am and 3 pm, the sun will shine directly in here. Of course the sun exposure and the shadows will wary during the day, but both sides seem to get the same amount of sun and shade, that should be alright.


Now I just need to re-spray it once a day or so and otherwise just ignore it for a while. I wonder if or when I will be able to see a difference.
At least I will try to remember to spray them. Maybe spray them twice a day? Of course this will mimic real life where you don’t always get to add SPF before leaving the house, and other days where you spray more times.
I never had a “system” with the two sprays to begin with, but just grabbed the closest thing on the shelf.

Now for a closer look at the sprays I will use…
There are no greater thoughts to these than “This was what I had at hand”. 
I use the Nivea spray for my skin (Especially for my Hubby who whines like crazy when I try to rub sun cream on him. Hmm. I really should just let him burn and blister, shouldn’t I?) and the Schwarzkopf and Goldwell to dust over my finished updos.



Nivea invisible protection SPF 20
Alcohol Denat.,
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: Gosh, what a name! It sounds horrible and toxic but none the less it has no bad remarks. This is a long-chain alkyl benzoate ester for those interested.
Cyclomethicone,
Homosalate: Has the ability to convert incident ultraviolet radiation into less damaging infrared radiation (heat)
Octocrylene: Has the ability to convert incident ultraviolet radiation into less damaging infrared radiation (heat)
Glycerin,
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane: Behind the scary name is another ingredient with the ability to absorb ultraviolet light over a wide range of wavelengths and then convert it to less damaging infrared radiation (heat).
Ethylhexyl Salicylate: Absorbs ultraviolet light, protecting skin from the harmful effects of exposure to sunlight, specifically it absorbs UVB
Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer: A film-forming and fixative agent. It is also what makes many products “water-resistant.” Frequently used in hair sprays and sunscreens, it gives a smooth and glossy finish when applied to the hair/skin
Aqua,
Limonene: Limonene and its oxidation products are skin and respiratory irritants
Linalool: Gradually breaks down when in contact with oxygen, forming an oxidized by-product that may cause allergic reactions such as eczema in susceptible individuals
Butylphenyl Methylpropional: The topical application of this ingredient has been shown to cause irritation and allergic reactions in many individuals
Benzyl Acetate,
Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone: It’s been known to irritate the skin and trigger allergic reactions for some people. After evaluating the potential side effects of Alpha-isomethyl Ionone, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) banned the ingredient from being mixed into fragrance products
Eugenol, Citronellol, Coumarin,
Geraniol: Should be avoided by people with perfume allergy
Benzyl Alcohol: Severely toxic and highly irritating to the eye
Parfum.

WTF. This product started off so well: Ingredient after ingredient for sun protection, but then after the ingredient for making it water resistant, came shitty ingredient after shitty ingredient. Particularly baffling was Benzyl Alcohol which is known to be highly irritating to the eye. I know you shouldn’t spray something directly in the eye, but it’s impossible to avoid spray particles “hanging” in the air after spraying it on your skin. How long do you have to keep your eyes shut to avoid it? Not cool Nivea. Not cool at all.

Schwarzkopf Bonacure sun protect
Aqua
Cyclometicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Dimeticone: Three cones to begin with. As much as I love my ‘cones, I’m not sure how much I like this. It reeks of being intended to smooth over damaged hair instead of having ingredients to protect it.
Laurdimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein, Lactic acid
Cetrimonium chloride: Prevent static and build-up in the hair
Sodium Benzoate
Tocopheryl acetate: A skin sensitizer that can instigate immune system responses such as itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin
Parfum
Benzophenone-4: A photostabilizer and sunscreen agent used for its ability to absorb UV rays. Finally! Was beginning to wonder if I would ever see a SPF ingredient in this product!
Hydrolyzed wheat protein
Phenoxyethanol: Extreme irritant to the eyes and skin, and can even cause blistering. Oh yay, lets put that in a spray! Seriously, I need to stop doing these in-depth analyses… They get me depressed.
Hydrolyzed keratin
Linalool: Gradually breaks down when in contact with oxygen, forming an oxidized by-product that may cause allergic reactions such as eczema in susceptible individuals
Pantolactone
Limonene: Limonene and its oxidation products are skin and respiratory irritants
Citronellol
Benzyl salicylate: Primarily used as a fragrance additive, and secondarily as a UV light absorber
Alpha-isomethyl ionone: It’s been known to irritate the skin and trigger allergic reactions for some people

I usually like Schwarzkopf, but this spray makes me depressed. First a bunch of cones that just reeks of being there to hide damage, then, all the way down after perfume comes is only two actual sunscreen ingredients. Not impressed.

Goldwell Dual Senses Sun Reflects Leave-In Protect Spray
Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG / PPG-18 / 18 Dimethicone: Three ‘cones again. Not cool.
Passiflora Incarnata Seed Oil, Lactic Acid,
Sodium PCA: Humectant
Cetrimonium Chloride: Used to prevent static and build-up in the hair
Panthenol: Emollient and moisturizer because of its ability to bind to the hair providing it with lubrication and hydration 
Polyquaternium-16: The molecules are positively charged; they neutralize the negative charges of most shampoos and hair proteins and help hair lie flat
Polysilicone-15: Absorbs UVB radiation. Finally the first SPF ingredient!
Cyclomethicone, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Glycoproteins, Glycerin, Vegetable Oil/Olus Oil, Octyldodecyl PCA,
Sodium Benzoate: A peservative
Fragrance/Parfum,
Limonene: Limonene and its oxidation products are skin and respiratory irritants
Linalool: Gradually breaks down when in contact with oxygen, forming an oxidized by-product that may cause allergic reactions such as eczema in susceptible individuals
Benzyl Salicylate: Primarily used as a fragrance additive, and secondarily as a UV light absorber
Alpha-isomethyl ionone: It’s been known to irritate the skin and trigger allergic reactions for some people
Butylphenyl Methylpropional: The topical application of this ingredient has been shown to cause irritation and allergic reactions in many individuals
Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone: It’s been known to irritate the skin and trigger allergic reactions for some people
Yellow 6 / C.I. 15985

Although this one doesn’t seem to have as many questionable ingredients as the Schwarzkopf-spray, this one also only have two SPF ingredients. Hmm!

Information on ingredients from:

So far I have established that sun sprays for hair are crap for the actual SPF. The sun spray for skin was a lot better for the SPF, but had a bunch of crappy ingredients.


I have the idea already that the hair sun sprays wont do a whole lot, but I will return with results at a later time. For now, it’s safely in the window. 

6 comments:

  1. I wish you had some color treated hair---it might show how it protects colored hair vs non colored hair. Great experiment!! I'm excited to see the results! :)

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  2. Major kudos. So many of the discussions/conclusions on hair forums are based on subjective and unmeasurable parameters. This one likely will be far more rigorous.

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  3. This is really interesting, I'm eagerly awating the results.

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  4. Awesome experiment! There are so many conflicting and unproven ideas out there about how to protect hair from the sun properly. So I'm really looking forward to the results of your experiment.
    Thank you for doing this!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words! :)
      I was thinking I would post the results on the 26th, where the experiment has been going for 2 months. Hope I can see a difference then!

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