Friday, November 11, 2011

Some throwbacks should be left back!

Grease is making a comback?!?

Okay, so we all remember those days of sitting between someone's legs having our hair braided and our scalp "greased." It seems as though some of the hair naturalists who originally avoided "grease" like the plague are now returning to the roots of our grandparents. Some hair naturalistas are even arguing that "grease" of old is comparable to modern day hair butters.  What? Really?

Well, being a teacher I thought I would dispel that argument. So here is my case AGAINST grease and FOR Butter and how the two are different.

The traditional goal for using butters or "grease" has been to moisturize the scalp. The scalp is skin and there is essentially only one way to effectively hydrate it; that is from the inside out. Drink plenty of water. The skin can absorb some moisture but that happens only at the surface level (the epidermis). As you can see from the diagram the root of your hair is far below the dermis where moisturizers do not penetrate.  In order for any moisture to be absorbed into the skin it has to penetrate the pores and enter the dermis. These molecules must be very small to penetrate the . pores. Skin by design is created to protect our bodies from toxins and keep moisture and heat in. Most often what happens is a smal amount of the what are skin comes in contact with may pass through  and enter the body but most often lotions and creams merely rest on the skin forming a barrier. This can create the allusion of moisture but often it's temporary and when one takes a bath the barrier can be broken down or washed away.  With that said there is no scientific way to determine if what you put on your skin will be asborbed (beneficially or harmfully) into ones body; despite what the beauty industry may claim.

Most ingredients found in typical grease have a toxic affiliation as the base. The main ingredient in Blue Magic and other "grease" is patrolatum which is the source of both kerosene and gasoline. In at lease one country (EU) this has been banned because of its link to breast cancer. Petrolatum is a nonregulated chemical and therefore there is no information available on how much of it (if and when it is absorbed) is toxic to the body. It is stated as being harmul when ingested. According to Patrolatum has no reaction to water which suggests to me that it cannot be absorbed in the skin to create moisture.

Butters are different in the fact that they are usually derived from natural sources that are proven to cooperate with water and have beneficial properties for skin, hair and health. The most common bases of butters are shea, cocoa, mango (bases are the first ingedient on the product's list). In hair butters beeswax may also be included. All of these ingredients are derived from nature and have proven beneficial components that can be absorbed safely by most users (everyone has differentiated allergies).

In the case of going back to grease...I suggest we make that throwback a thing of the past.

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