Can Hair Dyes Give You Cancer?

According to study results, hairdressers and barbers are at increased risk of developing cancer due to their frequent contact with hair dyes. This can also apply to individuals who regularly dye their hair.

Hair Dye Causes Cancer

A panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France found that male hairdressers and barbers were at higher risk of developing bladder cancer. According to the second review of the evidence on the effects of hair dyes on individuals, there is a strong link between hair dyes and development of bladder cancer, lymphoma and leukemia.

The truth is, your scalp has a rich blood supply that can transport the toxins contained in hair dyes throughout the entire body.

What Types of Toxins are Found in Hair Dye?

The Environmental Working Group has enlisted 456 hair colors in the Skin Deep cosmetic database, and over 400 of them are extremely harmful because they contain toxic chemicals which can lead to:

  • Cancer
  • Developmentive and reproductive toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Immunotoxicity and organ toxicity
  • Allergies and irritation of the eyes, skin or lungs

 “Chestnut brown” or “ash blonde” hair dyes contain:

  • Para-phenylenediamine and tetrahydro-6-nitroquinoxaline, both of which have been shown to damage genetic material and cause cancer in animals.
  • Coal tar, a known carcinogen (one investigation found that 71 percent of hair dyes contain coal tar)
  • Formaldehyde, a preservative linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and more.
  • DMDM Hydantoin, another preservative that is a known immune system toxin (and has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan).
  • Eugenol, a fragrance ingredient that’s associated with cancer, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and allergies.

This is just a part of the chemcials which can be found in these boxes of hair color. Moreover, if you have a box of hair dye in your bathroom right now, you should check for some of the ingredients using the Skin Deep database. This can really open your eyes.

Health Concerns From Dying Your Hair

According to a study conducted on 900 individuals, women who colored their hair at least once a month had a double risk of developing bladder cancer when compared to those who did not use permanent hair dye.

Furthermore, women who regularly used permanent hair color for at least 15 years had three times increased risk of developing bladder cancer in comparison to those who didn`t use hair colors.

Another study has showed that women who regularly dyed their hair color for more than 20 year had almost double risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Are Any Hair Dyes Safe?

Generally, it is recommended that you avoid as much as possible any exposure to chemical products, including hair dyes. You shouldn`t put on your body anything that you wouldn’t eat. This particularly applies to pregnant and breastfeeding women because of the negative effects it may have on the unborn baby.

Here are some tips to minimize the risks:

  1. Avoid the darkest shades. Dark brown and black shades contain far more chemicals than the blonde, red or lighter shades.
  2. The most toxic hair colors are the permanent ones, so avoid them. Opt for semi-permanent and temporary colors instead.
  3. Choose natural hair dyes which are based on henna, herbal dyes and vegetable dyes. They are less toxic than the conventional hair colors.
  4. If you dye your hair in a salon, find one that is free of odors and toxins, and where herbal hair dyes are used.

In addition, women who are under 40 and have prematurely gray hair should visit their doctor since this can be a result of hypothyroidism.

Natural Hair Color Recipes

Herbs for Light Hair

  • Pure, strong Chamomile Tea (brewed with 1/2 cup herbs per 2 cups water) and sprayed or poured on hair and left on for several hours. Sitting in the sun during this time will enhance the lightening effect.
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice, sprayed and brushed through hair and left on for several hours (in the sun) will also produce natural highlights.
  • A chamomile tea rinse at the end of each shower (leave in hair!) will produce smooth, silky hair and naturally lighter hair over time.

Light Hair Color Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups of strong chamomile tea
  • 1/2 cup strong calendula tea (optional and will produce more golden tones)

Light Hair Color Instructions:

Take one spray bottle or a small bottle and mix the ingredients in it. Shake well before use. Apply it on your hair and brush through. Allow it to act for 1-2 hours. You can repeat the procedure a few times in a week in order to get the desired results. For maximum results, you can do some kettlebell workout in the sun.

Also, you can use it as a rinse as the end of a shower and then rinse it with water. This will not have dramatic effects, but it is worth trying.

Herbs for Red Hair

These herbs will give you an auburn tint in darker hair, and red/dark strawberry tint in lighter hair. The red hues tend to accumulate in the hair so with regular use you will get a vibrant red. For best results, you should make this part of your hair care routine in order to get continual red hair.

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Can Hair Dyes Give You Cancer? According to study results, hairdressers and barbers are at increased risk of developing cancer due to their frequent contact with hair dyes. This can also apply to individuals who regularly dye their hair. A panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in...