Scientists created a hair dye from synthetic melanin, which mimics natural hair color and reduces the risk of allergies.
The dyes they synthesized, ranging from blond to black, combined the enzymes in mushrooms-rich in melanin-amino acids to mimic the melanin naturally produced in the human body.
Melanin is a natural pigment that makes skin, hair and eyes dark. It is present in every organism, making it easy to obtain and versatile.
Synthetic melanin is not as toxic as the current chemicals used to strip its pigment before recoloring, which can cause skin irritation.
It can also provide an alternative for people who are allergic to dyed hair, who still want to be able to modify their root causes.
Researchers say they can achieve color arrangement by changing the concentration of melanin
Nathan Giansky of Northwestern University in Illinois said: “From a biomedical point of view, there is a huge market for people who are allergic to hair dye.”
“Our first thought was that it would be great to find a solution to help those people.”
Benefits of synthetic melanin
-Synthetic melanin avoids the use of ammonia as a base layer.
-The precursor of melanin treatment of hair is less toxic.
-The process uses safer and more scalable chemicals.
-The cosmetic translation of synthetic melanin has great potential in the future.
In the typical process of coloring hair in a salon, the stylist uses bleach to strip the melanin from the hair, then adds ammonia and dye to open and penetrate the hair cuticle.
Replacing melanin instead of removing melanin is a way to deposit it on the surface of the hair, creating a more durable way to create lasting color.
In humans, melanin can resist the damage of ultraviolet rays to the sun, which is why people with warmer climates have darker skin.
Gianneschi said: “In humans, it is located behind the eyes to help vision, and it is located in our skin to help protect skin cells from UV rays.”
“But birds also use it as a spectacular color display-peacock feathers are made entirely of melanin.”
In addition to a milder process than traditional dyes, covering hair with synthetic melanin also has the potential to protect hair from sun damage, which can cause whitening.
The researchers said that by changing the concentration of synthetic melanin, they can achieve a variety of colors from light to dark.
The product will be in the form of a dye and will be applied as a paste in a bottle in a similar manner to the usual hair color.
Preliminary studies have also shown that the colored melanin layer may persist through multiple washings.
In the typical process of coloring the hair, the stylist uses bleach to strip the melanin from the hair, then adds ammonia and dye to open and penetrate the cuticle of the hair, thereby permanently coloring it.
Lead study author Claudia Battistella (Claudia Battistella) said: “From a hairstylist’s point of view, the dyeing process is similar, but these conditions are milder, so it takes longer.”
“Although it can be used in combination with a base material, there is no need to use a base material and no chemical pigments.”
And because we already contain melanin, researchers believe that people are unlikely to have an allergic reaction to it.
On the other hand, it is estimated that traditional hair dyes cause allergies and skin irritation in approximately 1% of humans.
Repeated use of certain dyes is linked to cancer – last year, researchers found that women who used permanent hair dye regularly for more than 8 years were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not use the dye.
Research shows that people who dye their hair regularly may have a higher risk of cancer
People who receive chemical hair styling treatment every five to eight weeks have a high risk of 30%.
Researchers warn that chemicals can enter the skin through the scalp, and smoke may also be inhaled when using this dye.
Experts believe that given the industry’s desire to get rid of the effects of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals, synthetic melanin should be able to break through the regulatory industry.
Their goal now is to find a business partner who is willing to develop this dye on a large scale and sell it to global stores.
The research has been published in the journal “Materials Chemistry”.
What is the evidence that hair dye causes cancer?
For many years, researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye use and cancer, but the conclusion is still inconclusive.
Certain chemicals in hair dye can be absorbed in small amounts through the skin or inhaled from smoke in the air.
Certain ingredients used in hair dyes have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, but it is not clear how these results may be related to people’s use of hair dyes.
Although studies have shown that certain dyes applied to animal skin are absorbed into the blood, most have not found a link between skin use and cancer risk.
Some human studies have shown that people who regularly work on hair dyes (such as hairdressers, stylists, and barbers) have more exposure than those who dye their hair occasionally.
The American Cancer Society says that the risk of finding bladder cancer among people engaged in these jobs is small but fairly stable, and the results of studies on leukemia and lymphoma are mixed.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that based on data on bladder cancer, exposure to work as a barber or hairdresser “may be carcinogenic to humans.”
The National Toxicology Program (NTP), composed of several different government agencies in the United States, does not classify the carcinogenic potential of hair dyes. However, it has classified certain chemicals used or used in hair dyes as “reasonably expected to be human carcinogens.”