As someone with naturally dark hair, it was pretty distressing when I realized I was following in my dad's footsteps and going gray prematurely. Hair dye is one relief, but it takes a toll on the strands and tends to fry the ends no matter how much conditioning you do.
Some scientists think they may have discovered another route, however, after finding that people with gray hair share attributes with people who have vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition which causes patchy spots of discoloration, and is caused by an accumulation of hydrogen peroxide. An enzyme made by the human body called catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide, but vitiligo blocks its release. Therefore, a synthetic reproduction was on the agenda for scientists, who made something called "pseudo-catalase". In cream form, the catalase partnered with sunlight returned pigment to the skin and hair of vitiligo patients.
'The improvement of quality of life after total and even partial successful repigmentation has been documented,' said Dr. Karin Schallreuter.
Doctors believe this cream could be applied to gray hair in order to restore the color, taking the need for harsh dyes out of the equation.
"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide gray hair," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, "but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed.”