Wanting to cover those grey strands or simply want to change your hair color for a different look? Think again. Studies about hair color treatments reveal that 5% of frequent hair dye users are bound to have sensitive scalp or develop allergies in the long run. However, those who already have sensitive skin will see and feel negative effects as soon as harsh chemicals in hair color touch their scalp. These effects are redness, burning sensation, dryness and itch, and usually caused by the following ingredients:
1. Harsh Chemicals in Hair Dye
A non-profit environmental organization based in the US called EWG or Environmental Working Group whose mission is "to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment” gathered some alarming information on hair coloring preparations. Based on their research for the Skin Deep Database, 400 in 456 tested hair dyes have harmful ingredients that can cause skin or scalp irritation and hair damage, and are poisonous to humans in general. Three of the said ingredients are described below as well as their negative effects to health.
2. Coal Tar
Almost 70 percent of hair coloring treatments have this substance in it. Coal tar is in charge of giving a dark tint to hair colors. It is counted as one of the most irritating ingredients. It can be easily taken in through the scalp and a little skin contact with coal tar means a bad breakout. So, individuals with sensitive scalp, beware.
Also known as formalin, this compound is commonly used to preserve cadavers and is found in hair dyes too. Exposure to this substance may result to a burning and itchy feeling on the scalp and other health risks. Studies have proven that formaldehyde can result to cancer and problems in the reproductive system. Side effects such as these make hair dyeing dangerous for pregnant women.
PPD for short, when mixed together with hydrogen peroxide creates an irritating effect on the scalp. A common chemical allergen, it is a coloring ingredient found in permanent hair dyes. Paraphenylenediamine can easily be soaked up by the pores in the head and result to badly irritated skin.
There are other ingredients found in hair dyes that can pose health risks. These ingredients are parabens, ammonia, lead and mercury. Commercial brands of hair coloring treatments and even salon-used ones may contain these harmful chemicals. These may not only trigger an allergic reaction, but one can also end up with a scalp that is sensitive, hair damage or hair loss, lung and eye irritation, cancer, organ failure and birth abnormalities especially when used by a pregnant woman.
The best way to avoid these side effects is to not color your hair. Of course, for some, this is not possible. Especially for the type of woman who prides in having the latest hairstyles and of course, a new hair color and highlights to make her look younger. For this reason, a safe alternative for commercial hair dyes and some tips in mild coloring for sensitive scalps are shared below.
1. Henna For Your Hair
Henna tattoo looks good on the skin as an alternative to real painful tattoos. But, for the hair? Yes! Henna is first and foremost used during early times as a hair dye. A natural dark tint that does not contain any of the above harmful chemicals, it is now available in ready to use liquid form or you may also purchase it in powder form to effectively cover those protruding grey hairs.
2. For Sensitive Skin, Nothing Beats A Professional!
If you have sensitive skin and scalp, it is best that you seek the services of a hair expert for hair coloring treatment. A professional hairdresser will know what type of product or the exact brand to recommend that will suit your skin type. Allergy to hair dyes is a common problem encountered by women and salons are prepared for this with specially formulated products. Most of them are also trained to apply color correctly by not letting the substance touch the scalp.
3. Know What Your Coloring Kit of Choice Contains
Resorting to DIY at-home coloring kits? Be sure to read the ingredients listed at the back of the box to avoid the harmful ones mentioned above. There are popular brands that are created without ammonia, and there are those that do not have PPD in it like Herbavita and Naturtint. To be on the safe side, test the product first on your skin before using the whole box.