Pseudocatalase was something I'd not heard of, until someone mentioned it in a comment at my review of gray hair supplements. My first thought was what's psudocatalase? After doing some digging, I was intrigued that some research existed with references to it restoring color to a skin in people with a disorder called vitilago. Since skin and hair share some similarities, might it also help hair too? In this review, let's discuss what PseudoCatalase is, look at the research on it and see if it might be of any help to people looking for a natural way to reverse gray hair. Also read the gray hair supplements review and Indian GooseBerry review.
What Is Catalase?
Catalase is at the heart of this discussion. Catalase is an enzyme that breaks down hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). So what's catalase got to do with gray hair? Well, as we get older, we might make less of this enzyme. As catalase levels fall in hair follicles, hydrogen peroxide levels build up. Depending on the amount of hydrogen peroxide present, this can cause hair to turn gray or white.
For this reason, some might sell catalase enzyme supplements to help reduce this fall in the enzyme and reduce/reverse gray hair.
Do Catalase Supplements Work?
I honestly have my doubts about these types of supplements. The main reason is catalase – because it's an enzyme, – is likely broken down during digestion. This means little to no catalase makes it into the blood or to the hair follicles.
Please read the gray hair supplement review for much more on this topic.
What Is PseudoCatalase?
Pseudocatalase (also called PC-KUS) is a cream that is applied to the skin which research suggests can help restore skin pigment in people who have vitiligo. Vitiligo is a rare disorder that causes patches of skin to lose their pigment and appear lighter. Those with vitilago have been found to have very high levels of hydrogen peroxide and low levels of the catalase enzyme.
The idea here is the PC-KUS cream reduces levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the skin. The website for pseudocatalase also mentions it might also improve defense against elevated H2O2 by supplementing catalase that's no longer made naturally.
Pseudocatalase comes in two different types:
- mineral infused body cream
- mineral infused body gel
Both products contain the same active ingredients. More about that below.
As the word psudo suggests, pseudo-catalase contains no catalaze enzyme. Rather it contains a patented set of ingredients that are thought to mimic the effects of catalase in reducing hydrogen peroxide.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of the ingredients in psudocatalase cream and gel.
|Mineral infused body cream||Mineral infused body gel|
|White petroleum||Sodium bicarbonate|
|Cetearyl alcohol and ceteareth-20||Manganese chloride|
|Sodium bicarbonate||Calcium chloride|
|Sorbitol solution||Edetate disodium|
|Propylene glycol||Propylene glycol|
|Glycerel monosterate||Aloe barbadensis leaf powder|
|Polyethylene glycol monosterate||Methylparaben|
The ingredients are in order as they appear on the product's website.
In a study published in 2002, Researchers in the UK, headed by Dr. Karin Schallreuter, tested pseudocatalase vs. placebo in 59 men and women with vitiligo for 21 days. The cream was applied to the face and hands. Some of the participants also bathed twice a day in the Dead Sea and some also were exposed to sunlight for up to 1 hour per day.
Bathing in the Dead Sea was considered important because the high mineral content of the water was thought to augment the benefits of the cream and because previous research linked it to improvements in other skin disorders. The UVB rays of sunlight activates melanin production in the skin, so this is why sun exposure was used as well.
After the experiment, those using the cream as well as bathing in the Dead Sea and getting sun exposure had significantly more re-pigmentation on their face (fewer white patches – that's good) than those who applied the placebo cream. The treatment seemed more beneficial on the face compared to the hands.
While it should be noted that none of the study participants experienced to total reversal of skin color by the end of the study, the effects were dramatic in some cases. Here is a link to the pdf of the study where you can see the pictures for yourself.
In 2008, Dr. Schallreuter's research group gave pseudocatalase cream (PC-KUS cream) plus sunlight therapy to 71 young kids with vitiligo. The study lasted 1 year. This study also reported remarkable results with no new vitiligo white patches showing up in 70 of the 71 kids. In 66 of the 71 kids in the study, a 75% repigmentation of face and neck skin color was observed. The effects on hands and feet were less remarkable with only 5 of the 71 kids showing benefits.
Prior to this, in 1995, Dr. Schallreuter conducted a small pilot which combined pseudocatalse cream with sunlight therapy in 33 people with vitiligo. The return of skin color started to be observed within 2-4 months and 90% of the study participants had “complete re-pigmentation” of the face and back of the hands. None of the people developed new white patches during the study and there was no reappearance of vitiligo even after 2 years later.
Studies Showing Pseudocatalase Doesn't Work
While studies from Dr. Karin Schallreuter show promise for this therapy, research from other investigators offer different findings.
Researchers in 2002 found no benefits of psudocatalase cream and light therapy in a 24 week investigation involving 26 people. While researchers did say it was safe and well tolerated, they also reported some people showed a worsening of skin conditions. I'm unable to find details on this study and the abstract I linked to does not reveal much of how the investigation was conducted.
The psudeocatalase.com website does mention this investigation – and the next study below – and states neither used the official PC-KUS pseudocatalase cream.
In 2009 another research group tested pseudocatalase + sunlight therapy or placebo in 32 people with vitiligo. The study lasted 12 weeks. While these researchers did not find psudocatalse + sunlight worked better than a placebo, they did observe significant improvements in all groups. In other words, they are saying pseudocatalase cream didn't work – but it still showed a significant improvement in vitiligo. That doesn't make sense. The placebo worked just as well? This may hint to a problem with the the research study.
Researchers in Iran tested a combination of pseudocatalase and superoxidedisumtase (SOD) in 23 people with vitiligo and found it did not work. Vitiligo does have a free radical aspect, so adding a free radical scavenger like SOD does make some sense. But, since the research showing benefit did not use SOD, and since this study did not involve sunlight therapy, I'm not sure how relevant this study is to the current discussion.
Can Pseudocatalase Restore Hair Color?
Ok, the research above is complicated. What's the scoop on this stuff reversing gray or white hair? Well, the first thing we need to keep in mind is that none of the studies specifically looked at reversing gray hair. Rather, the researchers were investigating pseudocatalase as a way of restoring skin pigmentation in people with vitilago.
So, if you don't have vitiligo, I don't know if it will work or not.
Even the pseudocatalase website says as much, when you read “There is no scientific evidence at this time that pseudocatalase will prevent hair from going grey in areas unaffected by vitiligo.”
One study from 2013 did report restoration of eyelash color. That's interesting. Research on scalp hair needs more research. That does not mean pseudocatalse cream (or gel) would not work. It's just that without more research, it's difficult to say.
If pseudocatalase is going to reverse gray hair, I believe it needs to be applied to the hair and scalp and I think it needs to stay there for a period of time. How long, I can't say. I believe this may be why there is a pseudocatalse gel in addition to the cream. Could this be their “hair gel?” When in doubt, it might be a good idea to call the company that makes pseudocatalase and get their impute. More about the company below.
For those with vitilago, I'd also add that if PC-KUS therapy is going to work, sunlight will probably also be needed. Many of the studies used what is called Narrow Band Ultraviolet B phototherapy (NBUVB). Basically, the UV-B rays of the sun convert an enzyme in the skin (tyrosinase) into melanin, which is what gives hair its color.
In other words, while you use PC-KUS treatments, don't wear a hat when you go outside. Let the sun hit your hair and interact with the compounds in psudocatalse. Sunlamps are also an option but some can be expensive.
These are my opinions based on the research I've seen. I'll update this as more research on hair color becomes available.
If anyone has used PseudoCatalase (PC-KUS) leave a comment below so others can benefit from your experiences.
Does Pseudocatalase Expire?
The product does have an expiration date. According to PseudoCatalase.com, the creams and gels are made when ordered and expire 7-8 weeks after it is shipped. In other words, use cream /gel within 2 months of getting it or its effectiveness may decrease.
But I Can't Bathe In The Dead Sea
If you read the research above, you noticed in one of the studies, people were also bathing in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea contains minerals such as manganese, sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride. This is why these minerals are also present in pseudocatalase ingredients (see above for the ingredients).
So if their thinking is correct, you don't have to live near the Dead Sea. By adding these minerals to the product, idea is they bring the Dead Sea to you.
Why is Sunlight Important?
Sunlight appears to be important to the benefits of psudocatalse because the UVB rays from the sun work in tandem with the ingredients in the skin to produce a better overall effect. Sunlight would be expected to be better than a tanning booth because some tanning beds might filter out UVB rays.
For those sensitive to the sun, slowly increasing sun exposure is recommended. In other words, don't start out by laying in the sun for 1 hour. You'll get a bad sunburn that way. Instead, begin with only 5-10 minutes. Also divide sun exposure into different segments. Don't do it all at once. Experiment with what is right for you.
Psudocatalase And Tanning
Can pseudocatalase help people -who don't have vitiligo – tan better? Oddly enough, One of the patents on this product says yes. In their own words “suntanning can be enhanced by topical application of a pseudocatalase.” That said, I've not seen any tanning research. Remember too much sun can contribute to skin cancer.
Who Makes Pseudocatalase?
From the contact page of product website (PseudoCatalase.com), we learn the company is called Med Specialties Pharmacy. It is located at 4862 Olinda Street Yorba Linda, Ca 92886. A quick online search reveals a compounding pharmacy bearing this name. That's good. This is a real company with a physical location.
I like that the company physically exists and is a pharmacy.
A compounding pharmacy is one that makes specialized/personalized medications for the public and medical professionals. Med Specialties is a PCAB accredited compounding pharmacy. This means they uphold certain standards and go through regular inspection.
The official website for the pharmacy is MedSpecialtiesRx.com. The chief pharmacist -and I believe the owner – is Mark Gonzalez. He holds a doctor of pharmacy degree.
From the Better Business Bureau, we learn Med Specialties Pharmacy has been around since 1999. The BBB gave Med Specialties a rating of “A” at the time this review was crated. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
Contact Med Specialties Pharmacy
The contact number is 877-373-2272.
How Much Is PseudoCatalase?
When this review was created, pseudocatalase had the following prices:
- Pseudocatalase cream (3.88 oz / 100 g): $84
- Pseudocatalase cream (2 oz / 60 g): $64
- Pseudocatalase gel (8 oz /236.5 ml): $89
What Is TestMyHormones.com?
When ordering pseudocatalase from the its website, you are redirected to another site called TestMyHormones.com. Basically, you are still dealing with the same company; this is just another website they own. As the name suggests, this site also offers a variety of hormone test kits you can do at home.
Pseudocatalase Side Effects
No significant side effects were reported in the research summarized above. Some people reported increased sweating, which might be expected if getting sun exposure in the summer months. Darkening of skin was also reported, but since that's what PC-KUS is supposed to do, that's more of a benefit rather than a side effect.
To be safe, it might be best to not use pseudocatalase while pregnant or breastfeeding. Nobody in the studies I saw were nursing or pregnant, so this is just a precaution. Stop the product at least 2 weeks before having surgery. When in doubt, speak to your OBGYN or vitiligo specialist.
Does Pseudocatalase Work?
The research is very interesting so for those with vitiligo reading this, it may be worth a try. It will probably take a few months before you notice a difference. But, for those who don't have vitiligo who are wondering pseudocatalase (PC-KUS) might reverse their white or gray hair, I don't know. If you've tried it, leave a comment below. I'd love to hear what happened.