Tricotain Active Ingredients
What they are and why we use them.
By Tony Maleedy MIT MSCS
Award-winning cosmetic scientist, trichologist, and co-founder of Tricotain
The Tricotain products are the result of many years of research and development. Hundreds of ingredients have been trialed and tested to identify the best combination to stop hair loss in men and women.
But not just that. We want your hair to look and feel great and be in optimum condition, so we use ingredients that improve its strength, elasticity, texture, and appearance, as well as those that prevent you from losing your hair.
The Vitamins and Other Antioxidants
This group of ingredients is crucial to the success of the products. Because it is oxidative stress that is causing androgenic hair loss, we need effective antioxidants to prevent damage within the dermal papilla and hair follicle.
Vitamin A (Retinoic acid)
Vitamin A, or retinoic acid, is a fat-soluble vitamin found in a wide range of skin products. It is used primarily because of its antioxidant properties; it has a small molecular structure capable of penetrating deep into the skin and hair follicles. Studies have found that vitamin A can help reduce visible fine lines, pigmentation, blemishes, and wrinkles related to oxidative stress.
Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
Vitamin B3, or Niacinamide, is a potent water-soluble antioxidant that, on the skin, reduces fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. In the hair follicles, it fights destructive free radicals and reduces inflammation.
Vitamin F (Linoleic acid and Linolenic acid)
Strictly speaking, this is not an actual vitamin but acts like one. “Vitamin F” combines two essential fatty acids – linoleic acid and linolenic acid – with significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In our testing, it has worked exceptionally well when combined with other vitamins such as C and E.
Piroctone Olamine is a highly effective antimicrobial I use to treat scalp disorders such as dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. However, recent scientific research has identified it as a powerful antioxidant. Once this was confirmed, further extensive research was carried out on men and women with androgenic hair loss (common hair loss), in which the causative factor had recently been identified as oxidative stress. The results showed the destructive effects on hair follicles caused by the oxidative stress were quickly stopped by the Piroctone Olamine, leading to follicles that had not yet died being able to produce hair once again.
Vitamin C (L-absorbic acid)
Vitamin C, or Ascorbic acid, is found naturally in most fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits. It’s one of the most studied antioxidants and a favourite with dermatologists; being a highly effective free radical scavenger, it helps to reduce oxidative stress in the hair follicles.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
Vitamin E’s, or Tocopherol’s, primary role is to act as an antioxidant, scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body that can damage cells. It accelerates the skin’s healing process and reduces oxidative stress within the hair follicles.
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green tea is a very effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and has some mild antibacterial properties. The antioxidants in green tea are polyphenols. These are powerful free radical scavengers – studies have shown that green tea consumption helps reduce the likelihood of cancer. These free radical scavenging properties are used in the Tricotain products to reduce their destructive effects on the hair follicles.
An often contentious ingredient as some supposed ‘hair loss’ treatments rely on caffeine as the sole active ingredient – we do not! Some studies have shown caffeine to stimulate hair follicle growth in vitro (in a petri dish under lab conditions). However, applying it to the scalp topically has shown limited clinical results. Although hair-stimulant properties are possible – we predominantly use caffeine for its antioxidant properties.
Although we are classifying these oils separately, as each oil has a range of beneficial active compounds, they all have antioxidant properties that help to reduce the overall levels of oxidative stress within the hair follicle or on the hair itself.
Rosemary Oil has effective, natural, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Although used for hundreds of years for its antiseptic properties, modern extraction methods can now obtain a much purer and more active oil from the plants, making their action in products such as this shampoo so much more effective than it would have been. Like our other antioxidant ingredients, it inhibits free radical damage, with some clinical studies showing its effectiveness in treating hair loss.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea Buckthorn is a fantastic oil. Not only does it look great, having a deep warm yellow/orange colour, but it’s also naturally super-rich in vitamin A, fatty acids, and antioxidants, all of which are highly moisturising and nourishing for the skin and hair, as well as creating protection against oxidative stress and hair damage.
Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot Seed Oil is a wonderful, rich oil produced by cold-pressing harvested wild carrot seeds. We use it because not only does it have an excellent conditioning effect by being lightly deposited on the cuticle (outer part) of the hair to smooth the cuticle scales, reducing hair-on-hair friction and possible damage, because it is also rich in antioxidants, it helps reduce oxidative stress on the hair caused by UV radiation, harsh chemicals, and pollutants in the atmosphere. All of which can cause damage to the hair, leading to breakage and thinning of the hair.
Behentrimonium chloride is another very chemical sounding name, but the ingredient is derived from canola oil (Brassica napus), also referred to as Argentine canola, but commonly grown in Canada. Canola seeds are heated, pressed via screw presses, and chemically processed to create an outstanding conditioning agent for the hair.
Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyl Trimonium Chloride.
Please don’t let this name put you off. This ingredient is made from wonderful, very tactile guar gum derived from the seeds of a plant, Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, cultivated in India and Pakistan to produce guar gum, which is often used for thickening foodstuffs. When processed and transformed into a cationic gum, its effect on the hair can be stunning, leaving it soft, smooth, and shiny.
Glycerine is a thick, syrupy liquid that is colourless, odourless, non-toxic, and sweet because it’s a sugar. The glycerine we use is derived from soybeans and is 100% natural. Glycerine is commonly used in pharmaceutical formulations such as cough medicines because of its soothing effect and in cosmetic products because of its humectant properties that add moisture to the hair.
One of the main proteins we use in the Tricotain products is made from potatoes. It may not sound ‘sexy,’ but the ingredient is genuinely one of the best I have ever used. On the hair, its effect dramatically increases the strength and elasticity of the hair fibres. It does this by penetrating deep into the hair cortex (the central core of the hair, which makes up 90% of the hair). Here, it bonds with the hair fibres to increase their tensile strength, making them more pliable. This bond allows them to bend and stretch instead of break, and the effect on the hair can be remarkable.
The other protein we use is made from wheat. We say it’s a protein but contains a high level of separate wheat amino acids. These are the building blocks of proteins and are very much smaller, so they can penetrate deep into the hair. The main effect of this protein is to give the hair more structure and body, which is essential, particularly if the hair is thinning.