How many people do you know with gray hair, apart from beloved gamie or grandpa? Gray hair has never been a styling choice for most people, because it is a natural sign that signals aging. Gray hair is in fact daunting to deal with, sealing the fate for most to a lifetime of reliance on hair dye products. However, gray hair could soon be a thing of the past because science might have just found a cure for it.
It may seem vain, but for most people looking young as they age is very important. Hair is easily one of the signs of aging, with gray hair since time immemorial being associated with old age. Aside from graying hair, the state of the skin is also an indicator of aging. For most people, taking care of the skin greatly enhances its youthfulness and keeps you looking younger for longer. However those who suffer from vitiligo, which is a condition that causes skin pigmentation loss, are unable to control the state of their skin in relation to keeping it’s youthful appearance through aging. Some of the well-known celebrities said to suffer from vitiligo include the late king of pop Michael Jackson and singer Tamar Braxton.
Europeans researchers have come out with findings on what causes graying of hair and a possible treatment for it. The treatment is said to also have positive effects on people suffering from vitiligo. The study was conducted by M.D Karin U. Schallereuter, the Institute of pigmentation disorder study author, in collaboration with the University of Bradford’s Center for Skin Sciences and University of Greifswald’s E.M Arndt.
The age-old theory about what causes hair to gray has been attributed to the buildup of hydrogen peroxide within the hair follicles. This means that any new hair growing is bleached by the hydrogen peroxide, and it is this observation that has for many years led to the use of hydrogen peroxide as a bleaching agent as a cost effective way of ‘going blonde.’ When we are younger, the catalase enzyme present in our bodies naturally breaks down hydrogen peroxide to oxygen and water. However, the researchers were able to find out that having lower levels of enzymes MSR A and B, which are present in the body to repair the damage hydrogen peroxide causes, is the reason why our hair turns gray as we age.
The researchers also looked into people suffering from vitiligo. Their findings showed that both the non-segmental vitiligo and strictly segmental vitiligo types were caused by oxidative stress. The more common type which affects a number of people is non-segmetal vitiligo, marked by white patches appearing symmetrically throughout the body. For instance, both hands or legs might be affected. To the contrary, segmental vitiligo affects only a specific part of the skin which receives supply from a single nerve in the body. There are cases reported of a few people suffering from both the non-segmental and segmental vitiligo types and this is known as having ‘mixed vitiligo.’
The researches had the study group use PC-KUS, a topical treatment, which effectively treated their skin discoloration. In reversing the graying of hair, it was observed that the topical use of PC KUS converted hydrogen peroxide to oxygen and water which are essentially harmless to the hair. What this does is allow hair to retain its natural pigmentation.
For several years a number of treatment methods have been concocted to try and ‘cure’ graying hair. The reliance on hair dye and other bleaching agents has often been the treatment of graying hair chosen by most. However, most of these methods are often temporary and not out-rightly endorsed by any recognized medical body. The findings by this team of researchers gives a ray of hope that an actual treatment for gray hair might be available in the market in the near future. Vitiligo has caused socio-economic problems to those who suffer from it, because they are often plunged into a state of life-long reliance on the wide array of temporary cosmetic aids available to ‘mask’ their condition. Availing this permanent cure will radically improve the lives of scores of people battling with vitilgo.
The researchers concluded in their study, published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) that graying hair may not be a welcome sign of aging for most people, but it does point out to good health. However, many people have and still will go to lengths to reduce the visibility of their gray hairs.