Scientists say that they are close to finding a cure for gray hair, which could mean freedom from messy hair dyes for millions.
Researchers from Arndt University in Germany and the University of Bradford, UK, have found that people who are going gray develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicles, which causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out.
Yet the team has discovered a topical remedy containing a "UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS (a modified pseudocatalase)," the report said. The proprietary treatment reverses not only gray hair but perhaps more importantly a skin condition called vitiligo, which causes a loss of pigmentation. Michael Jackson said he developed the condition in 1993.
Study author Professor Karin Schallreuter said: "To date, it is beyond any doubt that the sudden loss of the inherited skin and localized hair color can affect those individuals in many fundamental ways." A specialist in vitiligo, she and her team made their discovery after studying an international group of 2,411 patients.
The findings, announced May 3, appear online the journal The FASEB Journal.
"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide grey hair but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed," said The FASEB Journal editor-in-chief Gerald Weissman. "While this is exciting news, what's even more exciting is that this also works for vitiligo."
"This condition, while technically cosmetic, can have serious socio-emotional effects on people," he added.