Now grey hair on some men is sexy, take George Clooney and Richard Gere, but generally speaking, grey hair is a sign of ageing and in this this anti ageing obsessed society, the first signs of grey hairs can be quite stressful. Whilst men can ‘get away’ with a few grey hairs, telling themselves that it gives them a distinguished look, grey hair on women is not so forgiving. Many rush out for the hair dye at the first sign of a grey hair and with sales of home colouring rising in the UK alone by a staggering third in the last three years, research has shown that at least two thirds of women dye their hair. So the news that cosmetic giants L’Oreal have been researching a pill that can halt the growth of grey hair must come as a relief to all those suffering from this affliction.
For more than ten years, L’Oreal have been working on a daily pill that so far, has proved to be effective with an anti grey formula. Keeping the formula tightly under wraps for now, the company have said that it is made from a fruit extract. Grey hairs form when human hair cells begin to go through a process called oxidative stress, this makes them more susceptible to toxins in the body. Hair pigment cells then die off due to a lack of a protective enzyme called tyrosinase – related protein 2 (TRP -2). The pill L’Oreal have created halts the oxidative stress so that the hair follicles are no longer susceptible to the TRP -2.
L’Oreal’s Head of Hair Biology, Bruno Bernard said that “Ideally you would take it all of your life, but realistically we’d encourage people to start using it before their hair goes grey because we don’t think it can reverse the process once it has started. We have a watertight proof of concept, and we think it will have a market amongst men as well as women.” As people are living for much longer and grey hair will clearly be a problem as we all age, the concept of taking a pill before you start going grey has huge benefits to the general public, although not to the hair dying industry. So for people like George Clooney and Philip Schofield, unfortunately it is too late for them to start taking it. We will keep you informed as to when the product is on the market, estimates are at least 18 months before final testing has been completed.