What do gray hair and vitiligo have in common? Researchers previously determined that both gray hair and vitiligo are caused by a build-up of hydrogen peroxide on hair follicles causes our hair to bleach itself, creating gray hair. A recent study found a way to reverse this and possibly allow millions of people to say good-bye to chemically changing the color of their hair to cover the gray. What’s more, the treatment works to improve or reverse vitiligo as well.
Vitiligo is a skin condition which causes patches of skin to lose its color. Vitiligo is most often seen on the skin but can occur anywhere on the body where there is pigment - including your skin, hair, mouth and eyes. It causes patches of lighter skin. Some people may have only a few, small patches while others may have more extensive patches.
While it is not dangerous or contagious, it can cause problems with self-image and self-esteem. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "Some people develop low self-esteem, no longer want to hang out with friends or develop serious depression."  It is considered a life-long condition so those who have developed light patches of skin have not, until now, had any hope of the condition improving over time.
Like vitiligo, gray hair is a cosmetic concern and doesn’t have any bearing on our health. But millions of dollars are spent on covering up the gray, with the hopes of giving us a more youthful appearance. This research may provide a way to not just cover the gray but permanently go back to your original hair color.
The recent study, completed in Europe and published in The FASEB Journal, looked at over 2,400 people with vitiligo. They discovered that the two types of vitiligo were both caused by oxidative stress. Both were treated with a topical compound, used on both patches of skin and eyelashes. Treatment was successful on both the hair and the skin. According to the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, "For the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed"Developing an effective treatment for this condition has the potential to radically improve many people’s lives." 
"Gray Hair and Vitiligo Reversed at the Root," 2013, May 3, Staff Writer, ScienceDaily.com
 "Vitiligo," 2013, Staff Writer, American Academy of Dermatology
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.