Hair Colour Side Effects



Hair colour is used to cover greying hair. Often dyeing the hair colour in a shade other than the natural hair colour lends a different look to the person. People go through stages of colouring their hair blonde, dark or red, and look different with each change in hair colour.


Highlights and streaks are added on to hair to give the appearance of thicker, sun kissed hair. Often streaks of burgundy on dark hair are added to break the monotony of black or brown shades of hair.


How do Hair Colours Work?


Hair colours are made from ingredients like ammonia, peroxide and phenylenediamine. These chemicals remove or replace the pigments in the hair shaft. These chemicals have side effects which include weakening of follicles, skin irritation and allergy, hair breakage and skin discoloration.


The chemicals in hair colour enter the blood stream through the scalp and are known to cause lead poisoning and cancers.


Some common side effects of prolonged use of hair colour are:


1. Skin Irritation and Allergy- Application of hair colour on the scalp causes burning, irritation and redness if the scalp. Often the allergy manifests as burning sensation and red sores on the scalp.


These symptoms may appear a few hours after application of the hair colour and may cause permanent baldness due to destruction of the hair follicles in the affected parts of the scalp.


To prevent adverse reactions, one should always try out a patch test. If the hair colour application causes adverse reactions up to 48 hours if the application, the product must not be used.



2. Breakage of Hair- Application of chemicals on hair damages the hair shafts. Hair colour if used over a long time, causes weakening of hair roots and shafts. Split ends are the first indication of chemical damage. The hair thins and breaks off completely. The solution is to discontinue use of hair colour. Hair should be cut to a short length and be allowed to grow out.


It is advised that coloured hair be deep conditioned regularly, and washed and conditioned with gentle products specifically designed for colour-treated hair. This will help keep the hair intact and minimize colour fading.


3. Discoloration of skin – The hair colour used on hair coats the scalp and fingers. The hair colour adheres to the surface skin and may not wash off for a period of 3-4 weeks. Scalp fares slightly better as the discoloured patches are not obvious, being hidden below hair cover.




It is better to avoid colouring hair frequently to prevent the above side effects.  Products with natural ingredients should be use to minimize the damage as chemicals have very harsh effects on the hair and skin.


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