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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-12

Biology of hair pigmentation and its role in premature canities

Department of Dermatology, PGIMER, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Surabhi Sinha
C 403, Sabka Ghar C.G.H.S Plot 23, Sector 6, Dwarka, New Delhi, Delhi - 110 075
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2349-5847.208297

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In today’s world, physical appearance and the desire to look young are very important. Skin and hair play a powerful role in this as they impart much information, not only about our race, ethnicity, and health but also about gender and age. We experience a significant change in pigmentation during our journey of life from birth to puberty and then to young adulthood, middle age, and beyond. Graying of hair is a conspicuous sign of aging. It is said that 50% of the people have 50% gray hair by the age of 50. Premature graying or premature canities is defined as graying that occurs before the age of 20 in Caucasians, before 25 in Asians, and before 30 in Africans. The pathogenesis of premature canities is not yet clear but various hypotheses have been suggested including alteration in pH and cysteine levels in melanosomes, the role of trace metal ions, vitamin B12 and folic acid, vitamin D3, and oxidative stress. Along with increased awareness, there is an increased demand for treatment modalities but the options are limited and unsatisfactory. Various topical preparations containing phytic acid, amino acids, peptides, acetyl hexapeptide-1, melitane, capixyl, pea proteins, etc. are already available in the market. Currently, research is focusing on topical liposome targeting melanins, genes, and proteins selective to hair follicles for therapeutic and cosmetic modification of hair.

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