The graying of hair with increasing age is an early sign of increased oxidative stress in skin tissues around hair follicles. Researchers here demonstrate that it can be locally reversed by an antioxidant-based strategy. This shouldn't be taken to indicate that antioxidants are of general utility: the researchers are carefully augmenting the role of a specific natural antioxidant enzyme in an intricate chemical process, not just picking any random antioxidant and throwing it into the mix.
People who are going gray develop massive oxidative stress via accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes our hair to bleach itself from the inside out. The build up of hydrogen peroxide was caused by a reduction of an enzyme that breaks up hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (catalase). Hair follicles could not repair the damage caused by the hydrogen peroxide because of low levels of enzymes that normally serve this function (MSR A and B). Further complicating matters, the high levels of hydrogen peroxide and low levels of MSR A and B, disrupt the formation of an enzyme (tyrosinase) that leads to the production of melanin in hair follicles. Melanin is the pigment responsible for hair color, skin color, and eye color.
The report shows that this massive accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be remedied with a proprietary treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical, UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS (a modified pseudocatalase). What's more, the study also shows that the same treatment works for the skin condition, vitiligo.