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Side effects of Hair Dyeing

April 27, 2012  by: Sarika  Points: 12   Category: Health  Earning $0.50   Views: 632

In this article are listed some of the proven side effects of hair dyeing.


Hair dyeing and its effect on Health

Quest for „Fountain of Youth“ is one of the biggest quests of all times. Till date, one of the biggest fantasies is to achieve eternal youth, have strength in the body, wrinkle free skin and one of the most important: Dark shining thick hairs. Grey hairs are characteristic feature of old age and people are using natural and synthetic dyes from centuries to appear younger. What was once a practice to hide one’s age has now evolved in time and became fashion. The practice of hair coloring has increased and now is very popular among youth. Hair dyes are available in a number of different colors due to increase in demand, expansion of the consumer circle and changes in recent trends. According to a survey over 50 million US women dye their hairs regularly. More are eager to color their hairs once they turn grey or just for fashion and appear different. Hair dye products contain over 5000 different chemicals out of which many are reported to be harmful. Although hair coloring is very popular among all age groups there are several risks associated with this practice.

Skin allergies:

Hair dyes contain a number of chemicals which can cause allergic reactions. The most notorious of these chemicals is P-Phenylenediamine (PPD) which is present in 2 out of 3chemical dyes. Allergic reactions can be as mild as a skin rash or as severe as an anaphylactic shock leading to death. PPD is classified as a toxin which affects skin, nervous system, immune system, respiratory system, liver and kidneys. It is always advisable to do a patch test to check for allergic reactions before the use of the dye. Sometimes the symptoms of an allergic reaction are not immediate and appear after few days or even later. Symptoms can appear any time even when the dye was used for a long time without any noticeable adverse effects. There are cases reported of severe allergic reactions where an aspiring model turned into looking like “elephant man” with head twice of its original size, while in another case a teenager died within 20mintues of coloring her hair.

Thinning, breakage and loss of hairs:

Human hairs grow at a very slow rate (about half an inch in a month). Repeated use of hair dyes and other chemical treatments can lead to thin and dry hairs. Over processing of hairs can make them brittle and lose their shine. Brittle hairs break faster and increase the loss of hairs. There is no treatment available today which can claim to successfully stop the hair fall or grow new hairs. The best is reduce the use of chemicals on your hair and try to use more natural products instead of artificial ones.
Increase in grey hairs: Use of hair dyes adversely affects the hair health. They not only increase the thinning and falling of hairs but also increase the number of grey hairs. This effect of fast aging has been observed for the hairs which are repeatedly processed. Ultimately these chemically treated hairs lose their natural color and appear grey and soon fall.


Hair dyes contain a number of chemicals which are classified carcinogens. However the evidence that hair dyes can cause cancer is limited and debatable but recent studies have shown an increased risk of the development of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia in people who regularly use hair dyes. The chemical PPD damages DNA which can lead to the development of cancer. In another study it has been shown those hair stylists who are working with dyes for more than 5 years have higher risk of developing breast cancer and bladder cancer.

Asthma and lung diseases:

Inhalation of hair dyes has been associated with the development of Asthma and other pulmonary diseases. Research has shown that persulfates and PPD present in hair dyes are toxic and when inhaled can lead to asthma and other lung disorders. Hydrogen peroxide which is used to bleach the hairs is another toxic chemical which can lead to pulmonary, digestive and nervous disorders. Hydrogen peroxide can damage DNA and thus also can lead to cancer.

Effect on eyes:

Hair dyes contain chemicals which can lead to skin irritations. Resorcinol, ammonia, PPD and hydrogen peroxide are some of the eye irritants present in the hair dyes formulations. There are reported cases of blindness after the use of hair dyes and perhaps that is why every packet of hair dye comes with a warning that it might cause blindness along with other discomforts and diseases.

Effects during Pregnancy/breastfeeding:

The effects of hair dyes during pregnancy and breast feeding are controversial and debatable. However many studies have shown that resorcinol can cause hypothyroidism and can lead to the development of autism in children while still in womb. There are reports of induced abortions in woman who have taken resorcinol orally. However the amount of resorcinol in hair dyes is not sufficient to cause such effects and also only very less amount of the chemicals are absorbed through the skin. So it is still debatable if there are any side effects of the use of hair dyes during pregnancy and lactation.


Chemicals present in hair dyes have proven records of harmful effects on human health. There are many cases reported which have experienced from mild to severe discomforts due to hair dye use. Beauty has its cost but it is upto us to decide at what cost we want to buy beauty. If you still want to color your hairs then go for mild ones and condition your hairs deeply. Do not forget that there are also natural alternatives available in the market for hair coloring like henna. The best is not to avoid and ignore the reality and embrace your grey hairs which are also beautiful. Beautifully maintained hairs with a proper and stylish look will add a special touch to your personality than any existing hair color can.


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