Â By Miranda Hitti
Feb. 25, 2009 -- Scientists may have figured out why hair turns gray, and their finding may open the door to new anti-graying strategies.
New research shows that hair turns gray as a result of a chemical chain reaction that causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out.
The process starts when there is a dip in levels of an enzyme called catalase. That catalase shortfall means that the hydrogen peroxide that naturally occurs in hair can't be broken down. So hydrogen peroxide builds up in the hair, and because other enzymes that would repair hydrogen peroxide's damage are also in short supply, the hair goes gray.
Putting the brakes on that chemical chain reaction "could have great implications in the hair graying scenario in humans," write the researchers, who included Karin Schallreuter, a professor clinical and experimental dermatology at England's University of Bradford.
If they can stop it that is good news.Â But what about those of us who already have gray hair?Â Does that mean they might be able to stop it from graying more or could the hair go back to the orginal color with new hair growth?Â
One can only hope!