Harmful Effects Of Artificial Hair Dyes

treatment for hairHair Dyeing may have become a raging fashion statement now, but the art of dying hair is not that young. It dates back to the ancient ages of human history and civilization, when dyes were extracted from plants like henna, indigo, senna, turmeric, amla and many more to bring out the desired alteration in the original hair colour of a person.

A book from 1661, Eighteen Books of the Secrets of Art & Nature, adequately explains the various ways to dye one’s hair black, gold, green, red, yellow, and white. Factually, it is only in the year 1860, when discovery of the reactivity of PPD with air was made that synthetic colours began to be manufactured. Gradually, the hair dyeing industry grew so big that it has touched a multibillion dollar mark today.

Which Is Your Style Of Dyeing Hair?

More than 50% of the world’s women dye their hair regularly, either for gray hair coverage, or to remain fashionable. Earlier, a single base colour was a desirable option, but nowadays, highlighting and lowlighting are also in vogue.

As we all know, that a  desire to create blonde streaks that would give a highlighted look is known as hair highlighting, contrarily, dyeing a few strands of hair in a colour that is darker than the original hair colour, or the single base hair colour, is known as lowlighting. In such cases, while at times foiling is used to separate the hair strands that are to be differentially coloured, sometimes dip-dyeing is also adopted, when no care is taken to keep the colour contained. Which style do you prefer?

Types Of Hair Dyes

Hair Dyes, themselves come in a wide variety of not simply colours and qualities, but also natures . Generally, there are four broad types of hair dyes, Permanent, Demi-permanent, Semi Permanent, and Temporary hair colour.

Permanent Hair Dyes

It is the Permanent or Oxidation hair dyes that involve a three way mechanism of oxidation,  Reaction with a coupler, and Oxidation of the resulting compound to give the final dye. The oxidizing agent is usually hydrogen peroxide, and the alkaline environment is created owing to the presence of Ammonia.

hair dyes harmful effects

While the hair is lightened with the help of hydrogen peroxide, the ammonia opens the hair shaft and helps the dye to bond with the hair. There are a various shades that may be achieved owing to the various combinations of primary intermediates and couplers.

Demi-Permanent Hair Dyes

Permanent hair colours that lack ammonia as the alkaline compound and instead have alkaline agents like, ethanolamine and sodium carbonate are known as demi-permanent  hair dyes. Such alkaline agents are not as effective as ammonia in opening the hair shaft, and so the dye does not bond so well with the hair as in case of permanent hair dyes.

The demi-permanent dyes may not be as long lasting as the permanent ones are, but they are a better option for gray hair coverage, since they impart a more natural look to the dyed hair. Moreover, as they lack ammonia, they are also a healthier option for any woman, as we all know that exposure to ammonia for long periods may cause skin cancer, breathing problems, asthma, eye problems, and invite a whole lot of other health issues.

Semi-Permanent Hair Dyes

Semi-permanent hair colours are even less effective than the Demi-permanent dyes as, they penetrate the hair shaft only partially. Therefore, the final results depend upon the original colour and the porosity of each individual strand of hair. Owing to this reason, semi-permanent hair dyes produce subtle variations in the overall shade of the hair.

As previously bleached or gray hairs would naturally not appear to be of the same shade as the rest of the hair when dyed with semi-permanent hair colour. However, it should be noted that, containing very less amount of ammonia and developer, these hair dyes are safer for damaged hair.

Temporary Hair Dyes

Temporary hair colours do not penetrate the hair at all, and comes off easily with single shampooing. Such hair colours are generally opted for keeping in mind any special or particular occasions like, parties, Halloween nights, and so on.

These hair dyes contain larger pigment molecules and can be found in many forms like, rinses, gels, sprays, shampoos and more. Generally, these hair dyes produce a colour darker and brighter than the permanent, semi-permanent, or demi-permanent hair colours.

Sometimes, hair dyes may even be meant to produce unnatural colours like, green, fuchsia, and pink. Such hair dyes contain no developer, and it is recommended that if used on people with darker hair colour, then the hair should be bleached beforehand to lighten the original colour in order to produce a better result.

Chemicals In The Hair Dyes And Their Harmful Effects

Since hair dyeing involves treating the hair in various chemicals that are used to remove the natural pigment and replace it with the colour of the dye, it naturally entails a huge risk of damaging, discoloring and permanent breakage of hair.

Also Read

Dyeing the hair with natural colors
Tips on Hair Dyeing
Hair Color Types
Ultimate Guide For Hair Colour Safety

Let’S Take A Look At Some

All the variations of hair colours, other than temporary, are said to contain a highly toxic chemical compound called PPD (p-phenylenediamine), which reacts with the air to produce the darker or intended colour of the dyes.

The presence of PPD may lead to skin discoloration or other dermatological allergic reactions in some individuals.  Surprisingly, even hair dyes boxed as Natural may contain PPD, although in low levels.

Ammonia -Another toxic chemical present in all the permanent hair dyes may cause severe lung infections, breathing problems, and asthma. It is also an irritant to the skin and eyes. Although much less toxic than PPD, ammonia is rated 3 out of 10 in the toxicity chart by the Cosmetics Safety Database.

Resorcinol – Rated 8 out of 10 in the toxicity chart, Resorcinol is a highly toxic chemical that can cause pregnant mothers to lose their babies, if accidental oral contact occurs. Moreover, it is also an irritant to the skin and eyes, along with being harmful to the environment.

Persulfates – Sodium, potassium and ammonium sulfates are known to be present in dyes in concentrations of up to 60%, when only 17.5 % is enough to cause skin irritations in human beings!

hair dye effect

Hydrogen Peroxide – Another toxic chemical used in hair bleaches has been banned in cosmetic usage in Japan and Canada, owing to its corrosive effects. Scientific research also shows Hydrogen Peroxide may cause damage to DNA which can possibly lead to cancerous growths!

Lead Acetate – This toxic substance found in hair dyes may cause damage to the brain and nervous system.

4ABP – Lastly, 4ABP- a chemical found in hair dyes, is a substance is reportedly known for its cancerous effects.

Hence, it may be safely inferred that, with the passing age and the ever-increasing popularity of hair dyes, we are perhaps obligingly risking our lives simply to remain fashionable or in order to keep our aging signs from others.

But, little do we know that nature has provided us with a lovely assortment of shades derived from natural dyes that may serve the purpose far more safely, although for a shorter period of time. So, let’s take some time out ourselves and look up the natural dyes that offer the same hair colours and opt for a longer and healthier life, rather than inviting death prematurely. What do you say?

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