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Bienfaits phytostérols cheveux.

Phytosterols for hair: what are the effects?

Phytosterols are plant molecules found in various oils such as avocado, hazelnut, or sweet almond. These compounds have several properties and are frequently found in cosmetic treatments for skin or hair. Let's explore more precisely what the benefits of phytosterols are when applied to hair.

Published July 4, 2023, updated on January 29, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

Phytosterols to soothe the scalp.

Applying a treatment containing phytosterols can reduce scalp irritations and discomfort. These plant compounds indeed have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. They are capable of inhibiting the activity of enzymes that play a significant role in the synthesis of prostaglandins, such as lipoxygenase (LOX) and cyclooxygenase (COX). It's worth noting that prostaglandins are molecules responsible for several inflammatory phenomena such as itching or pain.

Furthermore, phytosterols have an impact on the activation of pro-inflammatory transcription factors, specifically the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and activator protein 1 (AP-1). These transcription factors play a crucial role in regulating the expression of genes that code for pro-inflammatory proteins. Phytosterols interfere with these signaling pathways, leading to a decrease in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Thus, phytosterols soothe and relieve the scalp by reducing sensations of discomfort.

Phytosterols for hydrating hair and preventing breakage.

To prevent split ends and breakage, it is crucial to provide daily adequate hydration to your hair. Phytosterols can contribute to hair hydration due to their moisturizing properties. Indeed, they have the ability to attract and retain water, and help to limit its evaporation.

Note : It is wise to remain cautious about the moisturizing properties of phytosterols on hair. Indeed, these properties were first demonstrated on skin and, so far, they have been minimally studied in the hair care field.

Phytosterols to slow down the onset of gray hair?

The application of a phytosterol-based treatment on hair fibers could slow down the graying of hair due to the properties antioxidants of these compounds. Studies have indeed highlighted the existence of a link between oxidative stress and graying hair. Free radicals generated by UV rays, pollution, or even tobacco degrade melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color, through a series of reactions. It's also worth noting that free radicals are likely to weaken the hair bulb and promote hair loss and split ends.

Phytosterols protect hair from free radicals due to their chemical structure. This structure is rich in double bonds, which allows them to neutralize these reactive species through a donation of an electron. Moreover, some studies suggest that phytosterols can stimulate the activity of endogenous antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase. These are essential proteins in the mechanism of free radical elimination.

Phytosterols to cleanse the scalp?

A recent study has highlighted in vitro that β-sitosterol, a phytosterol found in the seeds of certain plants, could inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, a Gram-positive bacteria. However, the mechanism of action of β-sitosterol has not yet been determined. Although further tests targeting other bacteria would be necessary, this study suggests that phytosterols could be useful in combating certain bacterial infections affecting the scalp.


  • CABRAL J. & al. Phytosterols: applications and recovery methods. Bioresource technology (2007).

  • SEIBERG M. Age-induced hair greying - the multiple effects of oxidative stress. International journal of cosmetic science (2013).

  • SURINA I. & al. Antibacterial and antifungal activity of phytosterols and methyl dehydroabietate of Norway spruce bark extracts. Journal of biotechnology (2018).


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