Expert criticises L’Oreal’s plan to develop a pill to prevent grey hair

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hair

As news leaked this week that L’Oreal is developing a fruit extract pill to prevent gray hair, an expert has cautioned on potential effects to skin and body organs.

L’Oreal explained to British newspaper The Daily Mail that development of the pill, which would effectively be marketed as a nutricosmetic product, has been in the research phase for more than 10 years and is based on a fruit extract which the company is not prepared to reveal.

Marketed as a dietary supplement, the product could have the potential to have an enormous impact on the hair care segment, particularly given the significant growth recorded in the hair colouring category worldwide in recent years.

Growth is being driven by the fact that increasingly women are turning to hair colouring products at an earlier age in an effort to hide the first grey hairs, while men are also are increasingly adopting the use of hair colouring products, a habit that barely existed a few years ago.

Targeting big growth in the hair colouring market

In line with this, L’Oreal research indicates that there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of men visiting hair care salons to have their hair dyed between 2008 and 2010.

“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,”​ said Bruno Bernard, head of hair biology at L’Oreal.

“We have a watertight proof of concept, and we think it will have a market among men as well as women,”​ he added.

Product trials already under way, but critic take a blow

L’Oreal told the newspaper that product trials are already under way, but that further information about the development, including its mechanism, are not likely to be revealed until the next International Investigative Dermatology meeting, in early 2013.

However, in an interview with MSNBC.com, Dr. Hillary Johnson, director of dermatologic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, believes that the development of the pill could have potential side-effects on both the skin and body organs.

Dr. Johnson has also criticised the fact that L’Oreal says the pill will only work if individuals start taking it before the greying of the hair follicles has started, citing the fact that knowing when the graying process will take effect, if at all, is impossible.

Beauty From Within Conference 2012

Tying in with L’Oreal’s announcement about its anti-greying pill, CosmeticsDesign has once again teamed up with its sister publication NutraIngredients to host the second Beauty From Within Conference in Paris on 27th October 2011.

This year's conference will take a look at the challenges behind the education and marketing of nutricosmetics to consumers as well as covering scientific validation, new product forms and categories and exploring how to overcome the current regulation confusion.

For more information on speakers, the programme and to book your delegate place, please visit the conference website www.cd-beautyfromwithin.com​ or email pbasreraprf@jeoz.pbz

Related topics: Formulation & Science, Hair Care

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