Hair Dye Risks: Insights and Safety Tips

Understanding the Risks and Safety Measures of Hair Dyeing

Hair dyeing agents fall under the category of Class 3 carcinogens, sharing a similar risk level as caffeine. Both animal and population studies haven’t provided conclusive evidence of carcinogenicity, hence there’s no need for excessive concern.

Recently, a renowned international academic journal, the “International Journal of Cancer,” published an online paper discussing the correlation between hair dye use and the risk of breast cancer. This study included 46,709 women aged 35 to 74 and tracked them for an average of 8 years. The findings revealed that women using permanent hair dye had a 9% increased risk of breast cancer compared to those who hadn’t used hair dye in the year prior to the study. Moreover, the risk was higher for women dyeing their hair every 8 weeks or less.

However, does this mean hair dyeing should be completely avoided? Not necessarily. Although the study suggests that using hair dye may elevate the risk of breast cancer, it comes with certain limitations. Additionally, the risk increase provided by the study is relative; when translated into absolute risk, it remains well below 1%.

No Need for Excessive Concern about Hair Dyeing

For fashion-forward individuals who wish to enhance their appearance but are wary of carcinogenic risks, there are some sound recommendations. Firstly, let’s delve into the principles of hair dyeing and the composition of dyes.

Hair comprises the cuticle, cortex, and medulla layers. Dyeing typically alters the color of the cortex layer, where pigments adhere.

Commercial hair dyes are generally categorized into oxidative and non-oxidative types. Oxidative dyes, more commonly used, penetrate the cuticle layer, react with the cortex, and produce a new color. They are long-lasting and referred to as permanent dyes. On the other hand, non-oxidative dyes only affect the cuticle layer, altering hair color without damaging its structure. However, they fade quickly, known as temporary dyes.

Temporary dyes, often plant-based or mineral-based, fade after a few washes. Permanent dyes, mostly synthetic, may contain chemicals like para-phenylenediamine (PPD) or aminophenols, which can trigger allergies or increase cancer risks.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer categorizes carcinogens into four groups based on evidence strength. Hair dye belongs to Group 3, sharing the same level as caffeine, with insufficient evidence from animal and population studies to warrant excessive concern.

Recommendations for Product Selection

Now that we understand some basics of hair dyeing, what are the recommendations for selecting hair dye products?

Hair dye falls under cosmetics, and their quality varies, with counterfeit products being a possibility. Firstly, purchase hair dye from legitimate, authorized channels. When buying imported products, check for Chinese product names and domestic manufacturers to avoid counterfeit products and adverse events. Additionally, product information can be verified on the drug regulatory authority’s website.

It’s important to note that neither domestic nor foreign manufacturers have declared non-oxidative hair dye products in China. Hence, claims of “natural products” in the market are unsubstantiated, with most being synthetic chemical dyes.

Six Tips for Hair Protection

  • To minimize damage from hair dye, what preparations and precautions can be taken?
  • Firstly, regardless of the dye type, read the product instructions thoroughly before use and conduct a skin sensitivity test. Skin reactions to dye vary among individuals, and some may experience allergies.
  • If itching, burning, swelling, or other discomfort occurs during the test, it indicates an allergy to the dye, and its use should be avoided.
  • Moreover, if any part of the skin, such as the scalp or face, has cuts or abrasions, it’s advisable to postpone dyeing.
  • Secondly, minimize direct contact between hair dye and the scalp or skin. Wear gloves or ear covers before dyeing. Additionally, apply body lotion to the neck, behind the ears, and forehead as a protective barrier against accidental dye contact.
  • If dye comes into contact with the eyes or causes burning or swelling on the skin, rinse immediately with water. If discomfort persists, seek medical attention promptly.
  • In fact, the scalp secretes a certain amount of oil every day. By not washing the hair the day before dyeing, the natural oil layer on the scalp can act as a protective film, reducing the risk of dye damage to the scalp.
  • Thirdly, limit the application time of hair dye to within 20 minutes, with a maximum duration of 40 minutes. Prolonged exposure can increase damage to both the hair and its quality.
  • Fourthly, hair should typically be washed 2 to 3 days after dyeing. When washing, it’s recommended to use conditioner after the dye color fades in water to minimize dye residue.
By Published On: December 29th, 2014Categories: Blog0 Comments on Hair Dye Risks: Insights and Safety Tips

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