Do blondes really have more fun? We can never ask Marilyn Monroe, or Norma Jean for that matter, but dyeing your hair with standard store-bought hair color may not be the answer either. A study done by the University of Washington and published in the American Journal of Public Health reported that women who dye their hair have a 50 percent greater risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society suggested an association between prolonged use – 20 years or more – of darker dyes and cancer.
Hair color, natural or synthetic, is not regulated by the FDA – just because it says natural, doesn’t mean it is. A close look at the ingredients list is crucial, not just the front of the box.
When you buy a typical hair color kit, it comes in three parts: developer, colorant, conditioner. The developer actively lifts the cuticle of the hair allowing the colorant to deeply penetrate, while the conditioner acts as a quick fix to repair the hair.
According to International Agency for Research on Cancer, barbers and hairdressers – particularly men – were found to be at a higher risk of bladder cancer due to their frequent exposure to hair dyes.
Several of the ingredients in hair dye are considered harmless, but it is the dangerous combination of peroxide in the developer and ammonia in the colorant that should leave you weary. This combination changes the molecular structure of hair and can cause extensive damage over time – not to mention the potent fumes you inhale as the chemicals sit on your head.
Other ingredients to be aware of:
• Coal Tar – common in hair dyes of deep and dark color. According to a study, almost 71 percent of hair colors contain this hazardous ingredient. If you experience skin irritation of the scalp, it may sure be the coal tar as it is known to penetrate the skin.
• DMDM Hydantoin – a common preservative. In Japan, evidence shows that this can cause immune-system-related problems.
• Formaldehyde – the same used to preserve cadavers. Various investigations have already confirmed that this preservative can cause cancer and reproductive problems. Women who are pregnant should never use any product that contains formaldehyde because it can cause problems detrimental to the healthy development of the fetus.
• Phenyl methyl pyrazolone - an oxidizing agent that comes from coal tar. It can cause headache, cough, irritation, colds and even shortness of breath. Based on investigations, fetus exposed to this ingredient can have higher risk of learning difficulties.
If you are one of many people to regularly use boxed hair color at home, don’t worry, you can remedy any damage to your health that has been caused. First, stop using any dyes that you are unsure of their ingredients. Then go through detox – drink lots of water and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And if that gray starts showing up or you just need a change, make sure you know what went into that hair color, and remember – the less chemicals, the better your health will be.