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A New View of Old Hair

By: Steve Herman
Posted: April 28, 2014, from the May 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Another popular product in some cultures is caps that aid hair rejuvenation. Treatments are placed on the hair and the cap protects the process, including during sleep. They have many names and designs, including therapy caps, spa wraps and conditioning caps. They can provide heat or cooling, and cold caps are even used to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.

And there is one known cure for gray hair, the anti-cancer drug Imatinib. However, it is much too expensive with potentially deadly side effects, so it is not a viable treatment. But if we can discover the mechanism of action of Imatinib on melanocyte stem cells, it is possible that a safer and less expensive drug might someday be developed.

Clinically, there is no permanent remedy for gray hair. But the believers in natural products keep faith in the existing botanicals and maintain hope that new and better materials will be found. And at the other end of the spectrum, scientists parsing our genome are looking for their own magic bullet. In the meantime we have the old standby, hair dye, to make us all look younger than our years.


  1. S Herman, Chemical Reaction, Dandruff in the 21st Century, GCI (Nov 2012)
  2. M Seiberg, Age-Induced hair graying-the multiple effect of oxidative stress, Int J Cos Sci, 1–7 (2013)

Steve Herman is president of Diffusion LLC, a consulting company specializing in technology development in the beauty and cosmetic industry. He is a principal in PJS Partners, offering formulation, marketing and technology solutions for the personal care and fragrance industries. He served the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC) as chapter chair in 1992 and 2013, and is an adjunct professor in the Fairleigh Dickinson University masters in cosmetic science program. He also is a fellow in the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC).