Monday, October 03, 2011

Once-a-day pill means you will never have to go grey

"Based on a secret fruit extract". Need I say more?

The likes of George Clooney, Phillip Schofield and Helen Mirren make going grey look distinguished, if not downright glamorous.

But whether it’s a sprinkling of salt-and-pepper in your 30s, or a full head of platinum in your 40s or 50s, most of us are not quite ready to embrace the ‘silver fox’ look too early in life.

Now scientists suggest that holding back the process could soon be as easy as popping a vitamin pill. They are working on a medication which, when taken daily, could let you hold on to your own naturally-coloured locks as long as possible.

The breakthrough comes after more than a decade of research at the laboratories of cosmetics firm L’Oreal.

The global market for hair colouring is worth an estimated £8billion and the company – the world’s largest in cosmetics and hair care – hopes to become the first to come up with the lucrative anti-grey formula.

Based on a secret fruit extract, the pill would be inexpensive and designed to be used in the same way as a daily dietary supplement.
From this to this? L'Oreal's new pill could eradicated the need for hair dye going forward

Bruno Bernard, head of hair biology at L’Oreal, said: ‘Ideally you would take it for your whole 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 among men as well as women.’

If the formula, which is being developed in secret, is proven to be effective, it could earn the company billions. Between 2008 and last year, there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of men visiting hair salons to dye their hair, a study commissioned by L’Oreal revealed.

In Britain, sales of home hair colouring kits have risen by a third in the past three years. According to market research firm Mintel, more than two-thirds of women colour their hair.

Grey hairs usually begin to appear after the age of 30, when human hair cells begin to succumb to a process called oxidative stress, which makes them more susceptible to toxins. The pill would work by offering protection against this process.

Hair pigment cells die with age due to the lack of a protective enzyme called tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP-2), the researchers explained. Rather than creating a synthetic drug to mimic TRP-2, the scientists instead screened thousands of naturally occurring compounds, and eventually found one in a fruit – which they have not named.

Safety trials are under way, but the product’s mechanism will not be unveiled until the next International Investigative Dermatology meeting in 18 months.

Because going grey can take decades, it could be many years before it is clear how effective the product is.

Des Tobin, professor of cell biology at the University of Bradford’s Centre for Skin Science, and a leading hair expert, said: ‘With people living longer and working longer, they are in the grey zone for longer, and the demand for something like this is huge.

‘It’s not clear if replacing this enzyme really is the answer, but Bernard’s team have a very good knowledge of how the hair follicle works.’


Birth control beads 95 percent effective

Rosaries for the ovaries?

A birth control method that shows the 12-day "fertile window" of a woman's period using beads is more effective than a condom, U.S. researchers say.

Victoria Jennings -- a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Georgetown University Medical Center Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University Medical Center -- said the Standard Days Method identifies the 12-day "fertile window" of a woman's menstrual cycle, taking into account the life span of an egg, 24 hours, and the viable life of sperm, about five days.

The researchers tracked study participants for three years. An earlier study that tracked women for one year found the new method was more than 95 percent effective at avoiding pregnancy -- higher than a diaphragm or condoms.

The Institute for Reproductive Health developed CycleBeads, a string of 32 color-coded beads with each bead representing a day of the menstrual cycle.

Beginning with the red bead, which represents the first day of her menstrual period, a woman moves a small rubber ring one bead each day. The brown beads are the days when pregnancy is very unlikely, and the glow-in-the dark white beads -- beads 8-19 -- represent her fertile days, Jennings said.

The study, scheduled to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care, found the multi-country three-year study of 1,659 women indicated women are likely to continue to use the method, and to use it effectively.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


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