Skin Deep - Clinical & Cosmetic Dermatology Blog

Skin Deep is a blog for dermatologists and skin care professionals with focus on theoretical, cosmetic and aesthetic dermatology. This blog is associated with ‘Dermatologists Sans Borders’ one of the largest curated groups of skin care professionals on facebook. If you are looking for non-technical information, please visit http://skinhelpdesk.com


Beauty of Dark Hair

chemical structure of melanotan-I
chemical structure of melanotan-I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is part 2 of the theoretical exploration of a biomimetic alpha-MSH agonist that can reverse graying of hair. The product will be called 'The Bang'. Please read Part 1 here.

I was basically trying to find answers to few pertinent questions from their promotional material.

1. How do they make a biomimetic MC1R ligand follicle specific? MC1R is not confined to follicles after all!

2. Do they have clinical evidence to actually prove the claims?

3. How does this not-so-short peptide molecule penetrate the skin and bind to follicular melanocytes?

4. Do they make any 'cosmetic-company-like' claims? It is very common for cosmetic companies to make claims without any connection with their story-line for the proposed mechanism of action.

Here is what I think..

1. I don't know. They don't provide any information in the promotion material. Theoretically it is possible by exploiting the structural differences between alpha-keratins in the hair and the keratins in the keratinocytes.

2. No. They don't, at least not at this stage. All the studies they mention in their brochure are ex-vivo studies. Ex-vivo studies cannot assess the effect of cutaneous penetration and systemic toxicity. Attempt to use surrogate markers like cAMP in the evaluation of a cosmetic, needs to be viewed with suspicion. Besides demonstration of efficacy is not an FDA requirement for a cosmeceutical.

LTQ Mass Spectrometer for Peptides
LTQ Mass Spectrometer for Peptides (Photo credit: EMSL)
3. Penetration is a big challenge for peptides like this. But formulation optimization by adjusting the lipophilicity and charge may do the trick. May be they are using penetration enhancers as well. In any case mechanical penetration enhances like dermarollers may be useful too.

4. Yes, They do! According to the brochure the biomimetic peptide extends the life of hair colorant and gives hair protection, two important consumer needs. A natural color enhancer talking about extending the life of hair colorant is a cause for concern!

Dr Ranju asked a very interesting question in the Dermatologists facebook group? Can this be used before laser hair reduction to improve the outcome? It depends on the answer to question 1. If it is follicle specific, that is a really good idea.

Here is what I shall do next....

I  will explore the structure of 'The Bang' with my informatics friends on my informatics blog here, to find answers to the following questions:

1. How similar is it to Afamelanotide?

2. Does the structure of 'The Bang' favour follicular binding? Can we improve it further? (This should answer Dr Ranju's question)

3. Is the structure optimised for cutaneous penetration?

Here is what You can do.... :)

1. Please comment, if you have practical experience with the bang.

2. Please share this with 'The Bang' guys! :)

3. Join the Pigment Map Project (PMP) [click here]

We shall share this with the Pigmentary Disorders Society for their comments. BTW they are organising the first Pigmentarycon. Details here.

GulfDoctor.net peel rating
My Rating: 3 peels
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About Me

As a Dermatologist and Informatician my research mainly involves application of bioinformatics techniques and tools in dermatological conditions. However my research interests are varied and I have publications in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, sequence analysis, systems biology, ontology development, microarray analysis, immunology, computational biology and clinical dermatology. I am also interested in eHealth, Health Informatics and Health Policy.

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Bell Raj Eapen
Hamilton, ON
Canada