Saturday, 4 April 2009

Reprogram Curly Hair?


As part of my venture to find out if curly hair grows faster than kinky hair (if you make that distinction - I think they are both just curly hair), I came upon the reason why hair is curly in the first place. The people at L'Oreal determined that curly hair may be related to the shape of the hair follicle (International Journal of Dermatology pg 2-3, 2005). 

In the simplest terms, a curved follicle gives curly hair as the hair takes the shape from the follicle. This research was based on African hair with the scientists trying to find out where the curvature of super curly hair comes from. 

I thought the discovery was very interesting not just because L'Oreal were studying African hair (yes they do!), but also because I can visualise a time when some people may want to simply reprogram their hair follicles to make them straight. Gladly I don't think that this would get ethical approval, but I don't see it past some scientists attempting this on a rat ......................watch this space.

12 comments:

  1. I think someone in the future might actually try that. Or maybe even implant straight hair follicles!

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  2. Wow that is true, implantation may be an even easier procedure

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  3. Ugh, have you heard of hair stylists telling people they can "train" your hair straight? It's the most infuriating thing I've ever heard! I'm surprised that L'Oreal is doing this--can we expect good natural hair products in the future? I sure hope so :)

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  4. I guess if they can implant follicles into the hair of balding men, they could do it to make someone's hair straight. I could really see this happening one day. I've never heard of training the hair to be straight, other than maybe damaging it so much it doesn't curl anymore.

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  5. @ Bronze trinity

    In the future, people will be fighting to have our hair, or better, people will be accepting of their hair when all races are viewed as equal in every aspect.

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  6. WHEN WILL THIS HAPPEN!! I WOULD DIE FOR STRAIGHT HER!! is this just a sci fi kind of thing or do you actully think this will happen?

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  7. @ Anon - This is a curl loving blog, I'm very glad to say that this is pure sci fi :)

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  8. I can't see that follicle placement having much to do with the on going growth process. Why would it stay curly as it grows out ?? Doesn't make sense. Yes, I have heard "you can train your hair straight" from the mouths of coworkers but THAT is impossible! lol they base that on the flat tops of the past said to have been trained to stand up what a hoot.

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  9. Shirley I didn't really understand your comment. The follicle shape does not control the hair growth rate but is know to influence whether hair comes out curly or straight.

    Hair is in essence a shape memory material retaining the shape of the follicle.

    It is not possible to alter the shape of the hair follicle without a transplant of some sort or by DNA damage. So 'training hair' from the follicle is not possible.

    Many people refer to heat training where hair is repeatedly subjected to heat until it is damaged and can no longer be curly. It is a little bit like a relaxer or perm just done with heat.

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  10. Hi, I have type 3 hair that curls. However, I have noticed that my hair is straight from the root. So is my hair follicle straight or curly? Apologies if the question sounds silly.

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  11. Carmen, your hair is curly, the weight of your hair just stretches out the curl

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