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In the midst of its skin cancer research, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute may have stumbled across an interesting discovery related to hair color. The institute reported that its research of melanocytes and their connection to malignant melanoma has produced a finding that the loss of adult stem cells could be related to the loss of hair color.
The team that discovered the link between grey hair and the loss of melanocytes was also the team that, in early 2007, discovered a possible way to darken the skin naturally. The leader of the team, David E. Fisher, MD, PhD, was featured in C&T magazine's January "In Sight" column. In the feature, Fisher described the discovery that forskolin could stimulate the production of melanocytes, thereby producing pigment and darkening the skin naturally.
According to the team, the loss of melanocytes leads to a diminished hue and ultimately grey hair. The melanocytes become depleted, according to the study, and position themselves at the wrong part of the follicle.
The team at the institute has chosen not to continue to study the cause of the graying process, since its main focus will remain on malignant melanoma. Therefore, the road to uncovering better covering gray dyes will require more research by the personal care industry.