Melanin is made up of specialized pigment cells called melanocytes. They position themselves at the openings on the skin’s surface through which hair grows (follicles). Each hair grows from a single follicle
the hair follicle has a “melanogentic clock” which slows down or stops melanocyte activity, thus decreasing the pigment our hair receives. This occurs just before the hair is preparing to fall out or shed, so the roots always look pale.
Harvard scientists proposed that a failure of melanocyte stem cells (MSC) to maintain the production of melanocytes could cause the graying of hair. This failure of MSC maintenance may result in the breakdown of signals that produce hair color.
There are other factors that can change the pigmentation of hair, making it lighter or darker. Scientists have divided them by intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors
- Genetic defects
- Body distribution
- Chemical exposure
In 2009, scientists in Europe described how hair follicles produce small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. This chemical builds on the hair shafts, which can lead to a gradual loss of hair color.
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