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Safely Color Hair! Scientists Develop Hair Dye That Mimics Hair’s Melanin

Update Date: Mar 05, 2017 07:53 PM EST

Fashion is no more than just dressing one's self in the most popular clothes of the season. Fashion has literally become a way for people to express and nowadays, not only do people change their clothes frequently to reflect themselves but also their hair. Constantly coloring hair could not only damage the hair itself but the chemicals used in hair dye has bad consequences for a person's hair.

Recently, scientists have developed a hair dye that not only will safely and effectively color hair but also mimics the hair's natural melanin.

Scientists from Gyeongsang National University at Korea developed a hair dye that is not only eco-friendly but also safe and effective to use. The permanent hair developed mimics the hair's natural melanin. Melanin is a natural molecule found in the body that gives color to human hair, skin, and other animal's fur. Melanin is also a subject of different studies as it has properties that are applicable to adhesives, drug delivery, sunscreens, and bioelectronics among other things.

Moreover, the permanent hair dye the scientists developed should also meet the standards used for current commercially available hair dyes in the market.

One of the ingredients in the hair dyes used today is p-phenylenediamine (PPD). Based on toxicological studies, the PPD compound is revealed to have the potential to cause cancer and to cause allergic reactions. In addition, compounds use during the hair coloring process like bleaching can cause added damage to the hair and scalp of an individual.

Furthermore, contact with such cosmetic products, may it be through the smell or direct contact of the product itself, also has negative effects on the person applying the product.

In order to develop a safer but still effective hair dye that can rival current hair dye products available in the market, the scientists looked into a compound, polydopamine, which can mimic the hair's natural melanin. Combining polydopamine with a metal ion, in this case, iron ions, the hair dye was able to change grey-colored hair into a deep black color commonly associated with Asian hair.

Further details of the research, published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, was able to determine the safeness of the developed hair dye by testing it on mice. The researchers found that the hair dye's effect lasts the same period as commercially available hair dyes and can withstand thrice washing of hair with conventional detergents or cleaning agents.

Moreover, by just tweaking the amount and type of metal ions used with the compound polydopamine, different color of the hair can be achieved.

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