Coloring grey hair is a familiar ritual for those of us with silver-toned locks. In recent news, L’Oreal made it known that they were working on a pill that would take care of those troublesome greys. The question is, is taking a pill that prevents a person from getting grey hair a good idea or a bad one?
Bruno Bernard, head of the Hair Care, Quality and Color team at L'Oreal explained to the Daily Mail that “the pill will be based on a fruit extract that mimics an enzyme called TRP-2, which isn't present in hair follicles.”
Apparently, TRP-2 is involved in the pigment producing process in melanocytes so its presence may help keep hairs from turning grey. TRP-2 levels are thought to decrease starting around age 30, about the time people notice those grey hairs start popping up.
L’Oreal has been researching the development of such a drug for over a decade and they estimate the pill won’t be available until 2015. In addition, it will take another 10 years to really know if taking the pill will work since they propose that people would start taking the pill long before they actually would develop grey hair.
"Ideally you would take [the pill] 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," Bernard told the Daily Mail. It is thought that the pill would be inexpensive to purchase and be taken like daily like a vitamin supplement.
Interestingly, at NYU Lagone center they are also researching ways to keep hair from turning grey. They have found that if they inhibit a network of proteins called Wnt signaling in mice, then their hair turns grey. However, they do not plan to produce a pill based on this new research but will try instead to create an additive to be used in hair products.
Here lies the question of whether taking such a pill is a good idea. First, not everyone’s hair turns grey. Nor do all adults whose hair turns grey, experience it in the same amount.