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How dangerous are hair dyes for our health?

2024-01-30 10:28:00, Trending CNA

How dangerous are hair dyes for our health?

Hair coloring is a popular cosmetic practice that has been around for centuries and allows us to express ourselves through different colors and styles. Although this is a common and widespread practice, there have been serious concerns about the potential health risks associated with hair dyeing.

Many studies have investigated the relationship between hair dye use and the risk of cancer or cancer-related death. In particular, most research on hair dyes has focused on their possible association with bladder cancer, particularly among hairdressers who are professionally exposed to permanent colors made before the 1980s, said Dr. David J. Goldberg, researcher and dermatologist, in the New York Times. However, findings remain contradictory.

Decades of research, conflicting results

Hair colors come in three types: oxidative (permanent), direct (semi-permanent or temporary), and natural colors. Most hair dyes used in the US and Europe, both at home and in salons, are permanent. They undergo chemical reactions to create pigments that are deposited on the hair shaft and may pose the greatest risk of cancer.

While some studies have suggested a link, the evidence is inconclusive and does not establish a clear causal link. Regulatory agencies such as the FDA have reviewed the available data and concluded that the cancer risk from hair coloring is minimal. However, allergic reactions to hair dye can occur, with symptoms ranging from mild skin irritation to more severe reactions.

However, the incidence of such reactions is relatively low. Many manufacturers now offer ammonia-free and hypoallergenic alternatives to minimize the risk of adverse skin reactions. Occupational exposure to hair coloring chemicals in salons has also raised concerns about respiratory issues.

People who regularly work with hair dyes may be at slightly higher risk, but consumers who use these products at home are unlikely to experience significant respiratory health problems.

Hair dyes contain a mixture of chemicals designed to penetrate and change hair color. Key ingredients include ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and various synthetic dyes, all of which have raised some concerns about their potential health effects.

More specifically, ammonia is commonly used in hair dyes to open the surface of the hair, allowing the color to penetrate. Although ammonia itself can cause irritation, modern formulations often include less irritating alternatives such as MEA (monoethanolamine). Therefore, hydrogen peroxide is a key ingredient in bleaching hair and lightening discoloration. It can potentially lead to hair damage, but the concentration used in hair dye is generally considered safe when used as directed./ CNA

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