Speaking here at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Kenzo Koike, Ph.D., pointed out that traditional hair bleaches rely on hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is highly effective in oxidizing, or breaking down, melanin, the black pigment that gives hair a dark color.
However, peroxide bleaches have several disadvantages. "Bleach usually has to be repeated, for example, once every three months, in order to keep the satisfactory level of color because hair grows 1 cm. each month," explained Koike, who is with the Kao Corporation's Beauty Research Center in Tokyo. "In changing from a dark brown to a light blonde color, consumers may have to bleach several times. Repeated bleaching may compound another disadvantage of hydrogen peroxide — hair damage."
He added that hydrogen peroxide is a harsh material. Repeated use can leave hair brittle and lifeless, with almost no attractive sheen. It also can irritate the scalp and other parts of the body.
Those unwanted effects have set scientists on a quest for milder bleaching agents, added Koike, who will discuss ways to improve color removal, including making it more effective and convenient. Koike said that his new "green" hair treatment may be the long-awaited solution.
In the ACS report, he described isolation of an enzyme from a strain of Basidiomycete ceriporiopsis, a type of "white-rot" fungus that has also shown potential to degrade and clean up pollutants in soil. The enzyme naturally degrades melanin. It has the added benefit of combating the effects of free radicals, highly reactive agents produced by hydrogen peroxide that are responsible for its damaging effects in making hair brittle, dull, and difficult-to-manage.
"I think this is the first enzyme found that degrades melanin," he says, adding that it could be added to traditional hair bleaches to prevent hair damage, leading to hair care products that use less hydrogen peroxide.
Laboratory tests show that the enzyme is effective in bleaching synthetic melanin and melanin in human hair. Koike is working on incorporating it into conventional peroxide hair bleaches. Because the enzyme needs hydrogen peroxide to complete a chemical reaction, a small amount of peroxide would be needed for a product to work. So far, researchers are hampered by having access to only small amounts of the enzyme — a problem they expect to solve and move ahead with further tests, including clinical trials on humans.
Koike's short-term goal is pinning down how the enzyme affects melanin. "Although I expect it can degrade melanin by its oxidation, we don't know the mechanism of the reaction. We should examine it and test it more and more."
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 154,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences