New Treatment for Gray Hair and Vitiligo is Almost Here: Study

First Posted: May 04, 2013 07:26 AM EDT

Graying of hair at an early age causes a lot of panic among those who experience it. People readily blame their stressful lifestyles the moment a gray strand pops up. But it looks like one can bid their worries goodbye, with a team of U.K. researchers devising a novel technique that has the capacity of reversing the graying process. The innovation may just put an end to the era of hair dyes.

According to a report published in the online journal FASEB, people with gray hair develop massive oxidative stress through accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, and this causes the hair to bleach itself right from the root.

The researchers state that this huge accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be cured with the help of a proprietary treatment described as a topical, IVB activated compound called PC-KUS, which is a modified pseudocatalase. Apart from this, the treatment shows good results for skin conditions such as vitiligo.

"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," Karin U. Schallreuter, M.D., study author from the Institute for Pigmentary Disorders in association with E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany, was quoted as saying in a news release. "The improvement of quality of life after total and even partial successful repigmentation has been documented."

To test their new treatment, the researchers examined a group of 2,411 patients with vitiligo. Among the participants, nearly 2.4 percent were diagnosed with strictly segmental vitiligo (SSV), and nearly 3.2 percent were diagnosed with mixed vitiligo that inclused SSV and NSV (non-segmental vitiligo).

The researchers noticed that those with SSV, within certain nerval distribution that involves skin and eyelashes, had the same level of oxidative stress like those with NSV. And this causes the hair follicles to turn gray. The new treatment will lead to repigmentation of hair and eyelashes.

Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB journal, concludes saying that this is the first time a treatment has been developed that goes to the root of the problem. "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 of people. Developing an effective treatment for this condition has the potential to radically improve many people's lives." 

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