There’s nothing wrong with gray hair (it even became a hair color trend!) but a lot of people panic when they start seeing them appear. They associate those grays with getting old. And until now, the only way to fix them was to get them dyed!
However, scientists from the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center may have found a cure for gray hair! While researching on cancerous tumors on nerves, they saw the genes that control hair pigmentation.
The “root” of hair loss and gray hairs
The researchers found that in our scalp cells, a protein called KROX20 turns on in cells that become the actual hair shaft (called progenitor cells).
This produces another protein called stem cell factor (SCF) in the process, which creates the pigment in your hair color.
When researchers removed the SCF protein from cells in mice, their hair turned white. Deleting the KROX20 protein made them go bald. Scientists say that SCF levels fluctuate during our lifetimes (that’s why we sometimes get a random gray hair) but when the level falls below a certain threshold, there is no backup source of SCF to rescue it.
Dr. Lu Le of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern said, “With this knowledge, we hope in the future to create a topical compound to safely deliver the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.”
The next step: creating the cure for gray hair
Researchers say they could potentially create a topical solution that stimulates SCF. This may take several years — but they’re hopeful that they can release a product soon. “With new technology in the lab, the time from a scientific discovery to clinical application keeps getting shorter,” he says.