Published: 05/10/2012 - Updated: 02/23/2018
Keratin (from the Greek word "keros" meaning "horn") is a fibrous structural protein found in the outer layer of the skin, also called the epidermis. Keratin is an insoluble and hard protein, which plays an important role in the body's cells.
It plays an important role in the formation of skin (as a soft sbustance), and its hard form, it is found in nails and hair.
Keratin assemblies are the ones that give the hair its strength and flexibility, as well to nails, and firmness and elasticity to the skin.
In the hair shaft, keratin forms flakes doing a hair protection and makes it strong and firm even though the hair is too thin and has a minimum diameter of one tenth of a millimeter.
The cuticle is the responsible part for protecting the hair inside and consists of cells composed of keratin, which are involved in traits like hair color and brightness. Over 95% of human hair is composed of keratin.
What causes a deficiency of keratin in the hair?
Environmental factors such as pollution and the excessive cold, and chemical treatments like hair dye and corrosive products such as gels, foams, etc, which are major causes of a dramatic change in the structure of hair, making it look dry, opaque and weak.
Furthermore, exposure to chemicals, corrosive soaps, frequent washing of hair, using pliers or dryers and chemical or mechanical treatments to straighten or wave it , etc., as passing time, an unbalanced diet and low nutrients deteriorate the structure and production of keratin, causing loss and a deteriorated and very thin appearance to the hair.
How to keep hair keratin in great condition for longer?
As we have seen, keratin can suffer and get weak because of nutritional and environmental aggressions and the use of products that damage the hair. If your hair looks that way, or you just want to keep it shiny, flexible and strong, you need to restore or maintain the properties and elements that your body needs to keep your hair healthy, and two of the main elements are amino acids and sulfur.
There are some products that contain keratin, which will return strength, shine and movement to hair. These products are available in masks, ampoules, shampoos, etc.
However, the body has the ability to produce keratin and maintain a healthy hair for a long time. For this, there is nothing better than maintaining certain habits such as:
- A healthy Diet
- Prevent stress and mantain a healthy scalp
- Use occasionally some mixtures or masks to nourish the hair.
Foods which promote good production and maintenance of keratin:
If your diet is not rich in nutrients, your hair, nails and skin will be the first to feel it. The general health of the body can be quickly noticed in the appearance of hair. If it does not look good, it speaks of tension, lack of nutrients and poor blood circulation, energy and oxygen.
That is why the importance of maintaining a diet where you include nutrient-rich foods. You must avoid GM productsn since they are terrible for the environment and prefer organic or biological products as these, due to land degradation, are richer in quality and nutrients.
Foods that promote the production of keratin are:
- Plant and animal proteins such as nuts, eggs, wheat germ, seafood such as clams, anchovies, oysters, tuna, etc, soy products like soy milk, almonds, etc.
- Legumes are rich in zinc, a mineral involved in the synthesis of keratin, like lentils and beans.
- Vegetables such as cauliflower, celery, alfalfa, carrots and aloe, combined with other foods such as seeds and grains, help promote the production of keratin in the body.
- Antioxidants foods such as citrus, strawberries, broccoli, grapes, etc.
- Supplements that you need in your diet to maintain a good production of keratin are: brewer's yeast (rich in amino acids), whole grains like amaranth, extra virgin olive oil (a teaspoon each day)
Remember also that too much stress or eating many refined carbohydrates like white bread, sugar, soda, cookies, candy, etc. demineralize your body. You should also avoid fried foods, cow's milk, light products and sausages, as they get stuck in the intestine preventing proper assimilation and absorption of nutrients.
The head massage is one of the best ways to promote the circulation of nutrients and oxygen to the head, plus it is great for reducing stress that usually accumulates easily in the scalp. To give you a massage, just use the tips of your fingers and give it to you when your hair is dry. The tips of your fingers should make gentle but firm pressure on the scalp and rub vigorously on all sides. To enhance results, try to give this massage with bowed head and apply a mask at the end to nourish the hair, as this is the best time to absorb the benefits of the mask.