A Rio professor and her team of students have developed the first national product capable of protecting hair from sun radiation.

According to Ana Percebom, of the Scientific Technical Center of University PUC in Rio, none of the products currently sold have substances that actually block sun radiation. The research, presented at a recent congress in Brazil, is the result of student Amanda de Azevedo Stavale’s Master’s thesis in Chemistry. Its innovation lies in the class of nanoparticles that work as an oil transport vehicle responsible for protecting from UV radiation.

This vehicle allows the sunscreen to have a higher concentration of oil, reaching a sample with higher protection, low viscosity and very liquid texture, allowing its spray application.

“We ran in vitro tests to determine the equivalent to the sunscreen factor and we reached 15 (compared to the parameter used for skin), a value that we consider to be good protection, higher than any other in the market. This, however, does not prevent the vehicle concentration from being increased to achieve an even higher oil percentage and reach a sunscreen factor higher than 15”, says Percebom in a news release.

According to the professor, using this vehicle makes the product work not only as a chemical protector, but also as a physical protector, as it absorbs and also “reflects” the sun radiation due to the nanoparticles that work as if they were tiny mirrors, making the filter even more efficient. Keratin is directly affected by sun radiation and, unprotected, the hair loses mass and becomes fragile and brittle. The lighter the hair, the more exposed it is to degradation.

“In another test, by exposing donated hair to UV radiation, the protection was applied to a lock of hair, while another lock was exposed without any protection. Results by infrared spectroscopy showed a 14 percent increase in the cysteic acid signal (formed from the degradation of the keratin) in the unprotected hair, while there was no major change in the locks containing the product”, the professor confirms. She also reveals that tests were performed and confirmed the good durability of the sunscreen protection effect, which is also waterproof. “We put the product on plates that simulate the surface of the hair and then immersed them in water for 30 minutes. The analyzes of the plates showed that the water did not remove the product and that the product remained active. In this formulation, we also applied a surfactant used to condition the hair, which makes the product multifunctional,” she explains.

The product may be used on any type of hair, even those with chemical transformations such as Brazilian keratin treatment or highlighting. The substance protects the strands throughout the day and a simple wash with a shampoo removes it. “We ran preliminary tests from a chemical perspective. This class of particles was already being studied internationally, but for no purpose. The thesis is the first initiative inserting these findings into a product with practical application and using specific surfactants and polymers,” she says.