Gray hair and vitiligo reversed at the root

May 3, 2013, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Hair dye manufacturers are on notice: The cure for gray hair is coming. That's right, the need to cover up one of the classic signs of aging with chemical pigments will be a thing of the past thanks to a team of European researchers. In a new research report published online in The FASEB Journal people who are going gray develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes our hair to bleach itself from the inside out, and most importantly, the report shows that this massive accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be remedied with a proprietary treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical, UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS (a modified pseudocatalase). What's more, the study also shows that the same treatment works for the skin condition, 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," said Karin U. Schallreuter, M.D., study author from the Institute for Pigmentary Disorders in association with E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany and the Centre for Skin Sciences, School of Life Sciences at the University of Bradford, United Kingdom. "The improvement of quality of life after total and even partial successful repigmentation has been documented."

To achieve this breakthrough, Schallreuter and colleagues analyzed an international group of 2,411 patients with vitiligo. Of that group, 57 or 2.4 percent were diagnosed with strictly segmental vitiligo (SSV), and 76 or 3.2 percent were diagnosed with mixed vitiligo, which is SSV plus non-segmental vitiligo (NSV). They found that for the first time, patients who have SSV within a certain nerval distribution involving skin and eyelashes show the same as observed in the much more frequent general NSV, which is associated with decreased antioxidant capacities including catalase, thioredoxin reductase, and the repair mechanisms methionine sulfoxide reductases. These findings are based on basic science and clinical observations, which led to successful patient outcomes regarding repigmentation of skin and eyelashes.

"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide gray hair," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., 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."

Explore further: No longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older

More information: This report follows up on a 2009 study, which describes the cause of gray hair:

Citation: Karin U. Schallreuter, Mohammed A. E. L. Salem, Sarah Holtz, and A. Panske. Basic evidence for epidermal H2O2/ONOO−-mediated oxidation/nitration in segmental vitiligo is supported by repigmentation of skin and eyelashes after reduction of epidermal H2O2 with topical NB-UVB-activated pseudocatalase PC-KUS. FASEB J doi:10.1096/fj.12-226779

Related Stories

No longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older

February 23, 2009
Wash away your gray? Maybe. A team of European scientists have finally solved a mystery that has perplexed humans throughout the ages: why we turn gray. Despite the notion that gray hair is a sign of wisdom, these researchers ...

Eye color may indicate risk for serious skin conditions

May 6, 2012
Eye color may be an indicator of whether a person is high-risk for certain serious skin conditions. A study, led by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, shows people with blue eyes are less likely to have vitiligo. ...

Modified protein could become first effective treatment for vitiligo

February 27, 2013
Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers have developed a genetically modified protein that dramatically reverses the skin disorder vitiligo in mice, and has similar effects on immune responses in ...

Romanian community provides insight into genetic factors associated with vitiligo

March 17, 2008
An isolated, inbred Romanian community has a higher than average frequency of the skin disease vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases, suggesting a genetic variation that may indicate susceptibility to the condition in a ...

Prevalence, risk of thyroid disease up in vitiligo patients

August 13, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Both the prevalence and the risk of thyroid diseases are significantly higher among patients with vitiligo compared to those without the condition, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in the British ...

Skin transplant offers new hope for vitiligo patients

May 30, 2012
Henry Ford Hospital dermatologists say skin transplant surgery is safe and effective for restoring skin pigmentation caused by the skin disease vitligo.

Recommended for you

Could vitamin B3 treat acute kidney injury?

August 20, 2018
Acute kidney injury, an often fatal condition without a specific treatment, affects up to 10 percent of all hospitalized adults in the United States and 30-40 percent in low-income countries. The condition causes a build-up ...

New assay to detect genetic abnormalities in sarcomas outperforms conventional techniques

August 20, 2018
Sarcomas are rare tumors that are often misdiagnosed. Specific recurrent chromosomal rearrangements, known as translocations, can serve as essential diagnostic markers and are found in about 20 percent of sarcomas. Identification ...

Team develops new way to grow blood vessels

August 17, 2018
Formation of new blood vessels, a process also known as angiogenesis, is one of the major clinical challenges in wound healing and tissue implants. To address this issue, researchers from Texas A&M University have developed ...

New imaging technique can spot tuberculosis infection in an hour

August 16, 2018
Guided by glowing bacteria, researchers have devised an imaging technique that can diagnose live tuberculosis in an hour and help monitor the efficacy of treatments. That's particularly critical because many TB strains have ...

Obesity, infertility and oxidative stress in mouse egg cells

August 16, 2018
Excessive body fat is associated with negative effects on female fertility and pregnancy. In mice, maternal obesity impairs proper development of egg precursor cells called oocytes. In a recent paper published in Molecular ...

Research shows it's possible to reverse damage caused by aging cells

August 15, 2018
What's the secret to aging well? University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have answered it- on a cellular level.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.4 / 5 (11) May 03, 2013
So. A bunch of old wrinkly people with unnaturally dark hair. But we already have that.
3.1 / 5 (15) May 03, 2013
So. A bunch of old wrinkly people with unnaturally dark hair. But we already have that.

Admit it! You're in league with the hair dye cartels and their illuminati reptilian overlords! Or will you deny it which would be proof of your deception?!?!?

I'm not being sarcastic either (well, yes I am.)!!!!!!!
5 / 5 (3) May 03, 2013
IMHO the important question is: When will this actually be available if ever?
3.3 / 5 (14) May 03, 2013
What is the treatment? Injection, topical, etc.? Does it require frequent retreatments or is the treatment curative?

How much will it cost?
1 / 5 (11) May 03, 2013
So. A bunch of old wrinkly people with unnaturally dark hair. But we already have that.

Admit it! You're in league with the hair dye cartels and their illuminati reptilian overlords! Or will you deny it which would be proof of your deception?!?!?

I'm not being sarcastic either (well, yes I am.)!!!!!!!
I have no hair to dye. But I think they will need also to find cures for comb-overs, ponytails, and chop-faced old women like meg ryan and don johnsons ex who think they look young again.

They don't.
3 / 5 (22) May 03, 2013
Perhaps a cure for intolerance would suit you better, Otto.

You may rage at your leisure.
Phil DePayne
1.4 / 5 (10) May 03, 2013
This is pointless if you are bald like George Costanza, women will still find you funny looking.
2.5 / 5 (6) May 04, 2013
This once in a lifetime treatment will not be available until it can be broken into monthly doses that require a prescription and semiannual specialist monitoring.
1.4 / 5 (10) May 04, 2013
Perhaps a cure for intolerance would suit you better, Otto.

You may rage at your leisure.
Oh did I strike a nerve esai? Someone near and dear to you? Successful business inheritors will spend much money on expensive doctors to ruin their wives faces because well thats what money is FOR isnt it?? Besides all their wealthy friends have ruined faces and they must fit in.

-Anyone you know?
1 / 5 (7) May 05, 2013
Imagine a day at the old folks home, where not a single one is grey haired.

OTOH, imagine a near future, where (after a couple more inventions) everyone past their 20's looks genuinely like 25. You'd have no way of knowing who's worth pursuing, so to say. Fast forward to action time, and suddenly you face a naked puss oozing carcass chasing you!

2.9 / 5 (21) May 05, 2013
Not at all, Otto. Only a short fat baldy such as yourself would think that a ponytail needs a "cure".

Inheritor? Try again.

If you still need a job there are several openings unfilled.
Have you any experience moving irrigation pipe? Driving trucks?
Can you pick fruit quickly? Don't be jobless forever....
5 / 5 (4) May 06, 2013
Unfortunate that the comments dwell on the application to those with graying hair. Vitiligo (loss of pigment in skin color) is a much more devastating condition, and treatment could have a major impact on an individual's life.
4 / 5 (4) May 06, 2013
as someone who started getting gray around 18 (my grandad did too) this is very important critical information that must be sped onto the market before all my damn hair falls out ;-]
4 / 5 (4) May 07, 2013
If one looks at other diseases set off by oxidation one might think in the case of baldness antioxidant therapy might be akin to trying to close the door after the cows have gone. Whereas , white hair , grey hair , was noticed to be a sign of iron excess over thirty years ago by Dr. Jerome Sullivan. Curious thing , iron excess causes oxidation.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.