New understandings in genetics and biology and the role of DNA in dictating the color, condition and health of hair are taking hair-coloring technology into a whole new realm. By utilizing new technologies, scientists have access to powerful new tools to explore ways to improve hair health and appearance.
Hair follicle with melanin granulesCourtesy of Dr. Desmond J. Tobin, University of Bradford, UK
For example, research presented at the 2007 Intercontinental Meeting of Hair Research Societies addressed how biochemicals can significantly influence hair pigmentation. Researchers from Britain and the US studied melanocytes, cells which are responsible for pigment, in hair follicles for the presence of certain hormone receptors that may affect follicle growth and coloration. They found that the hormones may respond differently within these and other hair follicle cells, including fibroblasts (responsible for cell structure), depending on their interaction with biochemicals. When the researchers stimulated the melanocytes with hormone proteins, the reaction induced an increased production of melanin and cell growth. The proteins also stimulated expression and activity of tyrosinase (an important amino acid to melanin production), evoking a conclusion that biochemicals may affect specific cellular functions when exposed to melanocytes.27
These, and other advances in technology and genetics, promise to improve hair coloring and care in the years ahead, providing women and men in all parts of the world with the tools they need to maintain beautiful, healthy hair.