Hair Dyes and Health Effects

People are becoming trendier with dressing sense and their hair color. Now they dye hair according to their desire. Hair dyes are used both men and women to modify natural hair colour.

How hair dye gives colour to hair

Ammonia in hair dye lifts cuticle up, so that molecules in hair dye get into hair. The chemical rises pH of the hair, which causes lifting up of hair.

After the cuticle is broken, any colour which a person desires can be applied to hair. Peroxide in dye which helps to remove the natural colour and make way for new colour. But peroxide is dry in nature, and so it can damage the hair.

Now original hair colour proteins oxidised and colourless, and new hair colour takes place of original one.

Types of hair dyes

Hair dyes are classified as:

Permanent– It consist of colourless dye “intermediates”, a chemical aromatic amine and dye couplers. In presence of hydrogen peroxide the intermediates and couplers react with one another to form molecules. It is said that darker colours are formed by using higher concentrations of intermediates.

Semi-permanent– These are non-oxidative in nature. It also includes coloured compounds that stain hair directly.

It composed ingredients like nitro aromatic amines or aromatic dyes. They are of low molecular weight. They do not bind to hair protein as they do not oxidize. They are water soluble. This can be washed out after usually 6-10 wash cycles. They do not contain ammonia or ethanolamine.

Temporary– It is applied in the form of shampoos, lotions or foam. This helps to colour hair

for shorter duration. It persists until the first wash. They are used as highlight, removes yellowish hues from white hair. It also helps greying hairs.

It consists products with a higher molecular weight. It simply deposits on the cuticle of the hair and can be removed easily.

Health Effects of Hair Dyes

Hair dyes are pure chemicals that can exert several ill effects on overall health. They can affect hair, skin and other internal organs.

Dyes in earlier times contains aromatic amines. It is found that aromatic amines cause cancer in animals. It is also seen that dyes causes bladder cancer in hairdressers and barber. One of the common side effects of hair dye is allergic reaction. Permanent hair dye contains paraphenylenediamine which is a common allergen. This can lead to contact dermatitis.

Patient with eczema and psoriasis should not us hair dyes to colour their hair.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis

  • Dry, scaly, flaky skin
  • Extreme itching
  • Hives
  • Oozing blisters
  • Skin appears darkened or leathery
  • Skin burns
  • Skin redness
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Swelling, especially in the eyes, face, or groin areas

Besides permanent dyes can lead to itching, skin irritation. Dyes can also lead to redness and swelling on scalp. Redness and swelling can also be seen in sensitive areas like face and neck. It is also seen that a person who have no allergy in past can develop it in future.

As permanent hair colour contains ammonia and peroxide, over use of these chemicals can lead to loss of lustre of hair. Hair will break easily. Sometimes hair loss can be seen while washing hair.

If a person doesn’t take any precaution while dying hair it will lead to conjunctivitis. It will also cause inflammation and severe discomfort.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis

  • Redness of eyes.
  • Swelling of the conjunctiva which is thin layer that lines the white part of the eye and inside of the eyelids.
  • Increased tear production.
  • Feeling like a foreign body is present in eyes.
  • An urge to rub the eyes.
  • Itching, irritation and burning in eyes.
  • Discharge from eyes of either pus or mucus.
  • Crusting of eyelids or lashes especially in morning.

Lead acetate is common component used in permanent hair dye. Pregnant women should not use any kind of hair dyes as the chemicals present hair dye may cause cancer in unborn child.

Hair dyes can also lead to asthma as persulfates present dyes can irritate respiratory system. It can lead to coughing, wheezing, lung inflammation. It can lead to throat discomfort and asthma attack.

Effects of ammonia present in hair dye

  • It makes hair dry, brittle, unhealthy looking hair.
  • It causes irritation on-
  • Nose
  • Throat
  • Respiratory System
  • Eyes
  • Skin- It causes burn to skin.

All synthetic hair dyes are pure chemicals and are hazardous to health. They should be used by a person with extreme caution to avoid any short or long term side effects.

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