It will come as no surprise that millions of women – and men – dye their hair on a regular basis. Some do so because they are simply unhappy with their own colour, others do it because they want to get rid of the grey. Whatever the reason, however, all of these people expose themselves to some serious and significant risks.
The biggest problem people who dye their hair can come across is an allergic reaction. The majority of people who suffer such a reaction do not seek medical attention, which makes it hard to determine just how many people it actually affects.
An allergic reaction can be as little as a bit of an irritation around the ear, but it can be as bad as involving the entire head. In fact, it is not unheard of for people to go into full anaphylactic shock, which has the potential to be fatal.
Skin reactions are also very serious. The problem with hair dye is that people can dye their hair for years without any reaction, and suddenly have an allergy. This is why you should do a strand or patch test every time before you dye your hair. Hair stylists are at a particularly high risk of suddenly developing an allergy to permanent and temporary hair dye because of continuous exposure to the chemicals.
How Likely Is it to Suffer an Allergic Reaction?
SO what are the changes that people suffer a really bad allergic reaction? We know that around 0.5% of the hair dye that is put on the hair actually penetrates the skin of the head. What the long term effects of this are, isn’t known.
Skin reactions are incredibly common and they can actually be fatal. Any woman could suffer this reaction at any point.
Hair damage is also a very real possibility. This is why those who dye their hair should use really good quality conditioners. If not, the hair will become highly damaged and brittle. If you experience hair loss, you should definitely avoid dying your hair as much as possible.
Naturally, some people will suffer from a severe allergic reaction. This is rare, but not impossible.
There is also some suggestion that hair dye can cause cancer. It is unlikely and the research hasn’t been completed on this yet. However, there is a higher risk of developing non-Hogkin’s lymphoma in those who regularly dye their hair and who started using these products before 1980.
Minimizing the Risks
There are a number of ways to minimize the potential risks to your health and hair. Interestingly, the darker the color, the higher the risk of problems because of the chemicals. You may want to go lighter if at all possible, even if you have naturally dark hair. Remember that it is easier to hide grey in blonde than in black hair!
You should also make sure you only dye your hair when you really have to, and try to only dye the hairs that haven’t been treated before. Don’t rub the dye onto your head and into your scalp either. And make sure that you ventilate the room in which you are dying your hair.
Consider using a temporary hair dye, which washes in and out. These are far less harsh on both your personal health and the health of your hair, but are fantastic in terms of giving your hair a little shine.
If at all possible, avoid dying your hair altogether or at least use a 100% natural product like real henna. Hair dyeing may seem like a lot of fun, and you may enjoy going from red, to blonde, to purple and to black, but it simply isn’t good for you at all.
Natural Hair Dye
If you don’t like henna, particularly because the only color you will really get out of it is a vibrant red or orange, you could try another form of natural hair dye. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that something listed as “natural” actually is. Even an organic hair dye can be full of chemicals. Generally, you need to look for the following ingredients in natural products in order to make sure there really are no chemicals in it:
• For red or orange, use henna
• For blonde, use saffron
• For black, use indigo
Indigo will in fact color your hair a very dark shade of blue, but it will look almost black if you leave it on long enough. If you want to achieve a brown color, you could try mixing saffron with henna, but the results can be somewhat unpredictable. Why not simply embrace your color – and your greys – and actually be natural?