Scanning electron microscopy of hair treated in hard water

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BackgroundHardness of water is determined by the amount of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) dissolved in it. Hardness of water used for washing hair may damage the hair.ObjectivesThe objective of this study is to observe the surface changes due to hard water usage and compare the thickness of hair between hard and soft water treated samples.MethodsTen to 15 hair strands of length 15–20 cm, which were lost during combing, were obtained from 15 healthy female volunteers. Each hair sample was cut into two equal halves to obtain two sets per volunteer. Each hair sample was wrapped around a glass rod. One set of 15 samples was washed with hard water, and the other set was washed with distilled water for 10 minutes on alternate days and air-dried. This procedure was carried out for 30 days. The surface of hair treated in hard and soft water was examined under a scanning electron microscope.ResultsThe CaCO3 and MgSO4 content of hard and distilled water samples were determined as 212.5 ppm of CaCO3 and 10 ppm of CaCO3 respectively. The mean calcium deposition in hard and distilled water treated hair was determined as 0.804% and 0.26%, respectively. The mean magnesium deposition in hard and distilled water treated hair was determined as 0.34% and 0.078%, respectively. The mean thickness of hair treated in hard water and distilled water were 72.78 and 78.14 μm, respectively.ConclusionThe surface of hard water treated hair has a ruffled appearance with higher mineral deposition and decreased thickness when compared with the surface of distilled water treated hair.

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