Researchers working on a cure for vitiligo (the disease which causes people to lose pigmentation in their skin and hair color) recently created a cream that successfully reversed the loss of color in a number of people who participated in the study. The result is not only great news for those who have vitiligo, it’s also great news for people whose hair is turning grey.
If the cream passes the various phases required to get it onto the market, it would be the first product of its kind that would treat vitiligo and grey hair. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, said in a press release: “It could be a great thing for those who have vitiligo, most of whom live with the condition for the rest of their lives. As for other graying folks, it would be the first anti-graying product that actually addresses the root of the problem instead of just hiding gray hair.” The FASEB Journal published a paper about the cream this week.
Popular Science writes: “The European researchers found some of the changes in what proteins vitiligo patients make compared to people without vitiligo. They also found that a couple different chemicals accumulate in vitiligo-affected skin: peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide (Yep, the same stuff that’s often used in bleach). The researchers had five of their study volunteers apply a cream they developed to reduce the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the skin. The researchers found that the cream worked to re-pigment the volunteers’ skin and eyelashes. Could removing hydrogen peroxide from the skin and hair work for those who don’t have vitiligo? In 2009, some of the same researchers published a study that suggests it may, because people going gray from age have elevated amounts of hydrogen peroxide in their hair follicles and hair shafts.” One to 2 million people in the U.S. have vitiligo, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.