Cosmetic Company L'Oreal Developing Pill to Prevent Gray Hair

Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 1:21 PM EDT
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Style-logue Rihanna

L'Oreal hopes to have the pill available by 2015.

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With products available to smooth wrinkles, stave off hair loss, and to delay senility, it was only a matter of time before someone tackled another aging-related phenomenon: gray hair.

For some, gray hair is a signal of distinction.  But for many, it's something to get covered up.  Using dyes is an old practice, but now cosmetic company L'Oreal is working on an internal method to keep the silver at bay.

The company hopes to have a pill on the market by 2015 that will prevent oxidation stress, the process that causes hair to fade from jet black or deep red to silver or gray.  The pill uses a fruit extract that does something similar to the body's own enzymes that control hair pigmentation.

But here's the catch - the pill probably won't be able to reverse the process once hair has started going gray.  The company's scientists say you'd need to start taking the anti-gray pill far ahead of time. 

Bruno Bernard, a L’Oreal researcher, told the Christian Science Monitor:

 “Ideally you would take it 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. We have a watertight proof of concept, and we think it will have a market among men as well as women.”

Bernard added you'd probably have to take the anti-graying pill everyday like a vitamin, perhaps as much as ten years before you started turning gray.

Some dermatologists urge caution, saying the pill's possible side effects are still uncertain.

But for those afraid of growing old, the risk and the effort might be worth it.

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