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Bienfaits capillaires ectoïne.

The hair benefits of ectoine.

Ectoine is an active ingredient that is believed to have numerous benefits for the skin. However, it would be relevant to explore its potential hair benefits. Let's focus on the potential advantages of using ectoine in hair applications.

Published April 5, 2024, by Kahina, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

Ectoine, a potential effect on hair?

Until now, no study has demonstrated any effectiveness of theectoine on hair. However, it is possible to formulate hypotheses regarding potential benefits for the hair.

Dan ZHAO and his colleagues sought to explain how ectoine can protect the skin from UVA rays and the resulting oxidative stress, by exposing human fibroblasts to UVA rays and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). After exposure and the addition of ectoine at 8 μg/mL, there was a significant increase in fibroblast proliferation, a halving of reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and a significant increase in the activities of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px).

According to studies, it has been demonstrated that photo-aggravation of hair ageing leads to a drying and stiffening of the hair fibre, linked to lipid oxidation. The photochemical protection of hair proteins, such as keratin, is provided by hair pigments that absorb and filter radiation, then dissipate this energy as heat. However, when these pigments act to protect these proteins, they themselves can be degraded or discoloured, resulting in white hair.

Similarly, numerous studies have demonstrated that superoxide, a free radical generated by photosensitisation, is the root cause of lipoperoxidation, and therefore the formation of lipid peroxidation products that damage DNA. These same studies have shown that increasing local concentrations of SOD can counteract the greying of hair through the elimination of these free radicals.

It can therefore be hypothesised that ectoine would act against the photo-ageing of hair by increasing the levels of antioxidant enzymes, particularly SOD, and by preventing lipoperoxidation. As a result, the hair would be less dry. Furthermore, it could play a role in preventing or reducing the onset of white hair by preserving hair pigments.

Ectoine: and what about its effects on the scalp?

Furthermore, ectoine could potentially have an effect on the scalp due to its moisturising action. Indeed, Hansjuergen DRILLER and his team studied the moisturising power of ectoine on the skin by applying an emulsion containing ectoine to the forearms of volunteers. It helped to protect the skin against dehydration, and resulted in a higher skin water content. The results also show that ectoine maintains a high degree of skin hydration. Finally, in the long term, hydration significantly increased, up to 200%, compared to the "control" situations.

This effect can be explained by the ability of ectoine to bind with water molecules by establishing hydrogen bonds. Due to this ability, it can be hypothesised that ectoine would also hydrate the scalp and prevent its dehydration, characterised by the appearance of dandruff and itching, for example.

Whether it's on the hair or the scalp, it must still be noted that these effects have not been scientifically proven.


  • VASSY J. & al. Protective effect of superoxide dismutase against hair graying in a mouse model. Photochemistry and Photobiology (2004).

  • DRILLER H. & al. The multifunctional role of ectoine as a natural cell protectant. Clinics in Dermatology (2008).

  • LEE W. S. Photoaggravation of hair aging. International Journal of Trichology (2009).

  • OESTERHELT D. & al. Neutrons describe ectoine effects on water H-bonding and hydration around a soluble protein and a cell membrane. Scientific Reports (2016).

  • ZHAO D. & al. Protective effect of ectoin on UVA/H2O2-induced oxidative damage in human skin fibroblast cells. Applied Sciences (2022).


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