Background: Photothermolysis of unwanted hair depends on the presence of melanin in the hair follicle as the chromophore, but is not effective in patients with non-pigmented, melanin-sparse hair shafts and follicles. This split-scalp, double-blind study was to monitor the efficacy of melanin bound in nanosomes to inject exogenous melanin into the hair follicles thus potentiating successful photothermolysis.<br />
Material and methods: Twelve patients, phototypes II-III, with white or very fair hair, were treated with a compound containing melanin encapsulated in nanosomes (Melaser®) together with a fluorescent marker. Two equal 6 cm² areas were marked on each side of the occiput of the subjects. The compound was applied to a randomly selected experimental side on each patient (area A), and a saline solution applied in the same manner to the contralateral control side (area B). Penetration of the melanin into the hair follicle was assessed using optical and fluorescence microscopy. Also, condition of hair structure was checked in vivo after standard laser settings used for epilation.<br />
Results: A slight transient erythema was observed in those areas where the compound was applied with some perifollicular edema. No such effects were noticed in those areas where saline solution was applied. No persistent complications such as scarring, hypo- or hyperpigmentation were observed in any of the experimental or control areas. Under fluorescence microscopy, the hair structures in the areas to which the compound had been applied showed a clear melanin deposit confirmed by the immunofluorescence intensity, which was highest at 2 hours after application. By optical microscopy, external melanin was deposited in hair follicles. Tests with standard settings for epilation were efficacious in damaging melanin-marked white hair.<br />
Conclusion: This study strongly suggests the safety and efficacy of the application of nanosomes encapsulating melanin for the introduction of melanin into hair follicles. Changes noticed in the hair structure compromising its viability indicated potential application of this external melanin marker for white hair photoepilation.<br /><br /> <em>J Drugs Dermatol</em>. 2016;15(5):615-625.