Does Coloring Your Hair Lead to Premature Hair Loss in Women?
Hair dying is a common practice for people of all ages, especially women. Whether it be for a change in your look or to cover up some premature gray, coloring your hair provides a convenient solution. The trouble is, many women go through this process without taking into account the effect that the dye is having on their hair and the follicles.
Frequent Hair Coloring Can Cause Damage to the Hair and Even Lead to Premature Hair Loss in Women
Whether using an at home product or performed by a professional in a salon, the process of changing your hair color involves a multitude of chemicals. The dyes contained in these products are manufactured with various chemicals and stringent ingredients that enable the color to stick to your hair. At the same time, they are wreaking damage on the strands and even at the root. The follicles become weak from the exposure, often causing hair loss and then difficulty in regrowing healthy strands.
The two most damaging ingredients found in hair dye products are ammonia and peroxide. Both of these are abrasive to the delicate hair, and can lead to hair loss if used with frequency. If possible, it is recommended that you use natural products to dye your hair such as henna, chamomile, sage, and black walnut hulls. You can even find natural dye recipes on line that are far less destructive to your hair than store bought products. Although these alternatives may not last as long, you will find less hair is lost as a result of using them.
Reducing Hair Loss From Coloring Treatments
The good news is that once you stop coloring your hair, the roots can begin growing again. If you absolutely must color your hair then taking the following precautions could help in reducing the hair loss that typically results:
- Seek the help of a professional. Home products can be more dangerous than what you find at a salon, not only for the ingredients but for the inexperience you have in applying hair dye. A licensed beautician will apply the ingredients properly to reduce the risk of hair loss.
- If you are coloring your own hair at home, make sure that the manufacturer instructions are being followed. This is important when it comes to products that contain caustic ingredients. Recommendations for how much product should be used and for how long are given in order to prevent the hair from becoming over damaged by the process of coloring it.
- Consider highlights over full hair treatments. You can change the look of your hair dramatically by applying highlights only, limiting the exposure of your hair to chemicals. This allows for the majority of your strands to remain healthy and strong.
- Don’t dramatically change your hair color. Women often feel the need for frequent hair coloring or touch ups as the natural roots begin to grow out. By choosing a hair dye that is close to your natural color, that effect is reduced, allowing you to wait longer in between hair coloring treatments.
- Coloring your hair can be very drying, particularly on the ends. Make sure you use a moisture balancing shampoo and conditioner, as well as a deep moisturizing hair mask once or twice per week, depending on the dryness.
- If you are dyeing your hair to cover up greys, try a grey hair concealer. This comes in the form of a powder, spray liquid or a mascara wand. Simply touch up the small areas that are grey using these temporary washable solutions instead of dying your whole head.
- Try looking for ammonia-free dyes or salons.
Ammonia Free Hair Color
As the name suggests, ammonia-free hair dyes do not contain ammonia. Instead, they use other alkaline non-ammonia formulas which help swell the cuticle and perform the other roles that ammonia plays. Most of the ammonia free hair dyes have Monoethanolamine (MEA) which is formed by a reaction between ammonia and ethylene oxide. Because MEA molecules are 3.5 times bigger than ammonia, they often do not work as effectively as ammonia. If you have coarse hair, covering up your greys with ammonia free hair dye may not be effective.
Some examples of ammonia free hair dyes are Aveda, Garnier, and L’Oreal Professionnel. Some formulas, like Madison Reed, even fuse their dyes with nutrients such as argan oil and ginseng root extract. Other popular “natural” hair dyes are Herbatint, Light Mountain, Surya Henna, Naturcolor, Rainbow Henna and Color Me Naturally by Aubrey.
Fortunately in most cases, hair loss caused by frequent coloring can be reversed by halting these processes and changing your diet to one that is conducive to growing healthy hair. It will take some time to restore your hair to its natural luster, but keratin hair fibers can be used in the interim to help make your mane appear full. Once fully restored, stay away from dyes by learning to love your natural color, gray strands and all.