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Say Bye-Bye to Gray Hair, Researchers Find Way to Reverse The Process

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May 03, 2013 11:47 PM EDT
Gray Hair
George Clooney, who has been voted the sexiest man alive on several occasions, sports stunning gray locks (Photo : Reuters)

What has become ubiquitous with age - gray hair - may soon become a thing of the past. Forget about trips to the hair salon, or buying box dye to cover up those roots, a team of European researchers say.

In a new research report published online in The FASEB Journal people who go gray develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out.

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The report notes that the enormous accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be cured with a proprietary treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical, ultraviolet B-activated -- sunlight -- compound PC-KUS, a modified pseudocatalase.

What's more, the study also showed the same treatment works for the skin condition, vitiligo which is a condition that causes de-pigmentation of sections of skin. Although vitiligo isn't an agonizing, or dangerous condition, it can still be pretty distressing because it can change people's appearance so much, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. One to 2 million people in the U.S. have vitiligo, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide gray hair," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, the editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal, "but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed. 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."

In the current study, an international group of 2,411 patients with vitiligo, 2.4 percent were diagnosed with strictly segmental vitiligo and after treatment of the pseudocatalase activated via sunlight, the pigment of the skin and eyelashes returned.

The researchers did not specify when the treatment would become available for retail.  

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