Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dangers of Hair Dye and How to Avoid Them


There have been a couple of news articles recently about women suffering violent allergic reactions to hair dyes.  In October a 17 year old died after applying hair colouring. Another woman suffered brain damage from hair dye.

I think that there are a lot of us who see these as just a couple of isolated incidents, and probably don't know that this appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. The danger of developing a reaction to at least one of the ingredients in hair dye is all too real.  What we don't normally hear about are those who have a reaction which isn't picked up and reported by the media. And there have been literally hundreds of women who have reacted badly to hair dyes.

It appears that the main culprit amongst the chemicals in hair colourants is para-phenylenediamine (PPD) - and this is common in many UK hair dyes, but is banned in Europe.  Another nasty contained in many hair dyes is Resorcinol.  Strange, that our countries still have these nasties in dyes, wouldn't you think?  As far as Australia goes:
Anyone, including young teens, can buy and apply, potentially hazardous permanent hair dyes. The disturbing facts, almost 50% of permanent hair dyes in Australian supermarkets, pharmacies and hair product stores contain chemicals, so risky, they've been banned overseas. But our Department of Health still isn't moving to stop them. Other common irritants, paraphenylenediamine or PPD and Resorcinol, - we found them in 10 out of 17 hair dyes.    (Hairdressers Registration Board of Western Australia, 2008)
They have further stories, none new, at the following link
http://www.hrb.org.au/content.php?page=76

It is really quite frightening, and reactions to the chemicals aren't new, by any means. 


Did you know that you can develop a sensitivity at any time when using any product?  It can happen with your first use or your 45th use. The reason for this?  It is extraordinarily difficult for our bodies to break down synthetic chemicals, and so they just accumulate in our body tissues, becoming increasingly toxic.  So each time you dye your hair you absorb and store more toxic chemical.

The major culprits for developing an allergy or sensitivity to are the darker colours.  The shade of dye will make a big difference.  An ebony colour might contain 3,000 times more dye than an auburn colour. Choosing lighter colours will dramatically reduce exposure to chemical dyes.

Many people are allergic to PPD - absorbed across the skin, it can cause itchiness, headaches and pustules to develop,' says Daniel Field, a hairdresser specialising in non-toxic plant-based dyes and hair products. 'They have been linked to immune disorders, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, and are suspected carcinogens.' Anything that lightens hair contains peroxide, which strips the hair of its natural pigments, but can also corrode the skin.
 
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-165538/Is-hair-colour-die-for.html#ixzz1ezHI6JXB
 
Hair dye is not the only culprit either. Most popular hairsprays are liquid plastics, and these solidify on the hair to hold it in shape. Many contain phthalates that disrupt hormones. They could be carcinogenic and are best avoided altogether.
While solvents and chemicals in the sprays can't be absorbed into the body from the hair, the fumes, which contain plastics, are easy to inhale, and residues on the skin are easily absorbed. Gels are often plastic-based and are more concentrated than sprays.

 
Heavy Metals Found in Hair DyesHair tonic to colour the grey once contained lead, and many barbers died of lead poisoning.  Not only is lead acetate the active ingredient in “wash away the grey” progressive hair dyes targeted to the male market today but, in 1981, the industry was allowed to add arsenic and mercury! These heavy metals can be absorbed through the scalp.
In 1978 – 22 years after the first study showed that 2,4-TDA hair colour enters the body through skin or scalp abrasions, causing black urine and breakouts – it was restricted from all but several hair dye colours, where it is still allowed.  The same year, it was shown that ingredients in hair dyes caused cancer in animals.  A study of hair dye genotixicity, published in the American Heart Association Journal in December 1979, revealed that women who colour their hair have greater chromosomal damage than women who have never done so.  This suggests that hair dyes may have carcinogenic and mutagenic effect in humans.  Punk colours tested worse than those covering grey.  Warning label attempts were unsuccessful.
Take care when selecting a shampoo.  Many contain potentially harmful ingredients.  (From Health Naturally, Ontario.)
 
A recent report in the International Journal of Cancer discovered a link between long-term hair dye use and an increased incidence of bladder cancer. The findings imply that dyeing your hair holds hidden health risks.
All hair dyes contain some form of ammonia which swells the hair to make it porous so it can absorb colour. Ammonia is a skin irritant, causing anything from mild itching to uncomfortable burning. PPD is used in many dyes as it is most effective at colouring grey hair. 
 
'Many people are allergic to PPD - absorbed across the skin, it can cause itchiness, headaches and pustules to develop,' says Daniel Field, a hairdresser specialising in non-toxic plant-based dyes and hair products. 'They have been linked to immune disorders, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, and are suspected carcinogens.'
Anything that lightens hair contains peroxide, which strips the hair of its natural pigments, but can also corrode the skin. On contact with the scalp, chemicals can trigger anything from allergies, sensitisation and swelling, to itching and rashes. As up to 60 per cent of what is placed on the skin is absorbed into the blood, many of these may enter your body where they put a localised strain on the immune system as it fights off toxins. 
 
They may also build up in the lymph nodes, which help regulate immunity, or deposit in certain tissues such as muscle, or organs such as the liver, straining immunity and at worst, causing cancer. 
 
Anyone dyeing their hair should do a skin-patch test. 'Every year, millions of women use hair- dyes without ill effect,' says trichologist Philip Kingsley. 'But some people will have allergic reactions and a skin-patch test is vital.'
 
You should expose your skin for 48 hours.
Put a small sample of the mixture on your arm, beneath a non-allergenic plaster for two days. If you have a severe reaction, you will experience burning in a few hours, but those with a mild sensitivity may get a rash or itching within two days.
 
Dye your hair only when necessary. Leave the maximum possible times between dyeing and then only leave the dye on for the minimum time and rinse well, drinking a litre of water after having your hair treated, to help flush out any chemicals.
 
There are safer alternatives to ammonia and peroxide. Natural Colours by Daniel Field available from Sainsbury's, are ammonia and peroxide-free and use vegetable-based dyes. They take longer to work but are gentler on the scalp and long-lasting.
 
Tints Of Nature is a range of ammonia-free products available from Planet Organic and health-food shops nationwide. Aveda also has a range of natural hair care products: 0207 224 3157, www.aveda.com

1 comment:

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