Grey Hair, Hair Dye and Cancer

By | October 21, 2009

Grey Hair Hair Dye and Cancer

This article from March 2009 mentions by a doctor makes the claim that polypeptide signal topical therapies may reverse gray hair.

WARNING … Hair Color with Dyes May Damage Your Health

There’s no doubt gray hair is an issue of some importance to many people, judging by the popularity of hair dyes on the market. However, many of these products contain an astounding array of potentially toxic chemicals. (The FDA does not regulate hair dye ingredients, whether they’re synthetic or natural.)

For example, The Environmental Working Group found that 69 percent of hair-dye products tested for their Skin Deep database may pose cancer risks!

Some are worse than others.

For example, between the two leading men’s hair color brands, Grecian Formula has a max hazard score, whereas Just For Men scored slightly lower, falling in the moderate hazard range. For more information about some of the hazardous ingredients in hair dyes, and their potential ramifications to your health, please review this previous article.

Many are now starting to dye their hair in their teens, but if your son or daughter is thinking about switching color, it may be wise to consider some of the potential long term risks.

One 1994 National Cancer Institute report states dark dyes used over long periods of time appear to raise your risk of cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. And a 2001 International Journal of Cancer study found that people who use permanent hair dye are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who keep their hair au natural.

There are ways to limit your exposure of course, while still giving your hair some added pizzazz. Many professional salons now work with formulas that are ammonia-free, herbal-based, low-PPD, and dyes that are lead-, toluene- and coal tar-free.

Refraining from all-over dye jobs and getting highlights or lowlights instead is also safer, as the dye is not placed in contact with your scalp.

Or, you could just accept what nature has given you, which would be the safest option, at least for the time being.

Is Stem Cell Stimulation Therapy the New Answer to Avoid Gray Hair?

I believe adult stem cell therapy maybe the wave of the future as there seems to be no limit to their applications, whether it be something as complex as regrowing organs or using them for the more mundane purpose of keeping a full head of healthy hair in its original color.

If you’re not familiar with the basic tenets of this fascinating field of science and medicine, this link to the National Institutes of Health provides great basic information about stem cells.

As it turns out, melanocytes — those special cells that make melanin — come from stem cells. Halfway up your hair follicle, above the bulb, there is a pocket that houses melanocyte stem cells. These stem cells turn into melanocytes when old melanocytes die off.

However, as you get older, your stem cells diminish in quality and quantity. Likewise, the stem cells in your hair follicles decrease over time, and eventually no new melanocytes are produced and hence melanin synthesis stops, and your hair turns gray.

So the idea is that by stimulating  the stem cells with special polypeptide signals you may be able to reverse this process and keep both your hair color, and your hair. I’m actually beta testing one of these polypeptide signal topical therapies right now, and my hair is slowly starting to come back in, so it’s pretty exciting stuff and most of the gray is disappearing. I look forward to giving you further updates on that product later on.

Interestingly enough, there is some evidence from recent animal studies indicating that physical exercise can reverse the age-related decline in the production of neural stem cells by restoring a brain chemical that promotes the production and maturation of new stem cells. Yet another reason to start or stick to a regular exercise routine!

… Dr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site,

via Grey Hair, Hair Dye and Cancer.

How about an ointment that restores your hair color? Research has been going on for years. This is from Life Sci. 1987 May 11;40(19):1889-95. //

We determined the relative effectiveness of alpha-MSH and a highly potent melanotropin analogue, [Nle4, D-Phe] – alpha-MSH, in stimulating a shift from pheomelanogenesis to eumelanogenesis within hair bulbs of mice. The analogue proved to be at least a hundred times more effective than the native hormone when injected subcutaneously. The two melanotropins were then incorporated into an ointment base and topically applied to a shaved area of the skin on the back of a yellow strain of mice (C57BL/6JAY). Within 24-48 hours eumelanin production was visible within hair bulb melanocytes in both treated and untreated areas of animals. The presence of melanized organelles (eumelanosomes) within melanocytes was confirmed by electron microscopy. These results document the delivery of a peptide hormone through the skin and into the systemic circulation. This is the first demonstration of the delivery of a peptide hormone by percutaneous absorption and may provide a model for a similar route of delivery of other peptide hormones. The hormone analogue has also been delivered across human skin in vitro. Delivery of a melanotropin by a transdermal route may prove to be clinically useful in the treatment of some integumental hypopigmentary disorders in humans. –

From 1990:

A superpotent analogue of alpha-MSH, (Nle4, D-Phe7)-alpha-MSH, when applied topically to mice induces darkening of follicular melanocytes throughout the skin. In vitro studies have demonstrated delivery of the peptide across mouse but not rat skin. This variation in permeability of skin of animal models prompted us to use human skin In vitro. The melanotropin was applied to the surface of human skin samples through a permeation apparatus and allowed to penetrate for 24 h at 36°C. Passage of the analogue was shown by both bioassay and radioimmunoassay. These assays correlated well and demonstrated both the presence and the biologic integrity of the peptide after transdermal passage. Regional differences were noted in the degree of transdermal penetration. In addition, split thickness skin allowed greater penetration suggesting dermal binding of the hormone. This study is the first to show that a melanotropic peptide can be delivered transdermally through human skin in vitro. This has potential importance in the development of therapies for hypopigmentary disorders and for the stimulation of skin tanning without ultraviolet light. –

From 2004, this study shows that kids with splotchy scalp skin pigmentation can be helped. I wonder if Michael Jackson tried this type of therapy. He supposedly had vitiligo, which is why he wore the glove.

Methods Twenty-two child patients with vitiligo on the scalp were treated with 1.2 mg/ml aqueous melagenine in combination with 20 minutes of infrared exposure twice daily.
Results In 4 patients (18.2%), melagenine treatment in combination with infrared exposure led to complete recovery; in 6 patients (27.3%), treatment was shown to be effective; in 8 patients (36.3%), treatment led to improvements in patient condition; and only 4 patients (18.2%) showed no response after 1-2 treatment sessions. The general effective rate of melagenine-infrared combination treatment was 45.5% for the children with vitiligo on the scalp, and treatment was accompanied by minimal side effects.
Conclusion Melagenine may be efficacious and a safe treatment option for childhood vitiligo affecting the scalp.

I couldn’t find the study in the time I had that shows a topical polypeptide therapy to reverse gray hair. Post a comment if you know who is doing this research and the status. Very exciting!

3 thoughts on “Grey Hair, Hair Dye and Cancer

  1. Pingback: all about hair |

  2. ulysses500

    If I only could find out who’s that beautiful,little bit greyhaired lady. It would be so important to me only to know who she is and were she lives. I live in germany…:-))))so what. You remember the movie ‘desperately seeking susan’?same importance to me – but I’m male and she is…………..!!????

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