The researchers say 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.
This massive accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be remedied with a treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical, ultraviolet B-activated -- sunlight -- compound PC-KUS, a modified pseudocatalase. Their study also showed the same treatment works for the skin condition, vitiligo.
Dr. Karin U. Schallreuter of the Centre for Skin Sciences at the University of Bradford in England and colleagues at the Institute for Pigmentary Disorders in association with E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany, developed a patented cream called pseudocatalase. In combination with calcium, they said, it achieved very high success rates in treating vitiligo.
Vitiligo is a condition that causes depigmentation of sections of skin.
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 findings, published in the FASEB Journal, suggest since the treatment affected the eyelashes, the treatment might work on gray hair as well.