Hair-care Industry Killer: A Pill Against Gray Hair


Although stars like George Clooney may look incredibly sexy with their grey hair and charming smile, most of the ordinary people feel silver hairs only age them beyond their years. But a new pill is coming that promises to stop grey hair forever. Is it even possible?

According to a MSNBC report, in 2010 the global hair-care industry was worth $42.5 billion, and a large part of this industry makes its profit thanks of the grey hair. So, what happens when science finally finds a “cure” for grey hair? Well, we are already seeing it…

In 2009 the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology published a British study which explained why the hair loses its pigment and starts to turn grey. Of course, a lot of pharmaceutical companies and supplement manufacturers have been trying to use this data to find a way to slow down, stop or even reverse the process.

The world’s largest cosmetic and beauty company, L’Oreal, announced that it has been developing a pill to prevent grey hair. How is this possible? The process of losing hair pigment, explained by the 2009 paper, is caused by the dropping levels of certain enzymes in the body as we age. One of them is catalase which breaks down hydrogen peroxide, but its production lessens with age. Naturally produced by the body, hydrogen peroxide counteracts with melanin, the pigment that provides colour to our hair and skin, blocking it and leading to the loss of hair colour. There are two other enzymes which help repair the damage of oxidative stress and without them the hair begins to lose its pigmentation. They are also essential to the building of the enzyme tyrosinase which protects pigmentation production.

L’Oreal’s pill scheduled to be available in 2015, will contain a fruit extract which will mimic a chemically related to tyrosinase protein, TRP-2, which is said to protect the hair pigmentation. This fruit extract will keep your hair in its natural brown, blond or red colour, but it won’t be able to reverse the process of greying. Bruno Bernard, a leading researcher at L’Oreal, pointed out that in order to be effective, the pill should be taken every day for about 10 years before you begin to turn grey. And besides, you will have to take it for life, because, if you stop taking it, your hair will immediately start turning grey. So, would you buy it?

According to specialists, nobody knows when exactly they will start turning grey, some people go grey between their 30s and 40s, and others can go prematurely grey in their early 20s. But there are also people who never go gray, lucky ones, aren’t they? The truth is you can never know for sure when you will start turning grey, or if it happens at all. So, there is no point in taking a pill 10 years before a condition, and then until the rest of your life, if there is no condition for curing. This is valid mostly for the ordinary people who do not depend on their looks to make a living. However, if you are a celebrity, a model or a serial bride or groom, it may make sense to consider.

 Of course, a lot of people will still buy it, but there are also no guarantees that it will actually work. According to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis biography, the cause for her death from cancer at the age of 64 was the decades-long use of hair colorants. Dermatologists are worried of the potential side effects of this treatment to the rest of the organism. Besides, the doctors say, the grey hair is not an illness and your body doesn’t need a pill to cure it. On the contrary, this is a solely cosmetic issue, and no pills or supplements are worth the risk.


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