Harmful Chemicals Applied in Grey Hair Colorants

For most females dying their hair has become a part of their monthly routine. Some men have resorted to dying their hair using regular hair dyes, too, but many others are looking for less noticeable alternatives, such as progressive hair colorants. Progressive hair colorants work stepwise by changing the hair colour for several days after they have been applied, which makes the change less noticeable and allows the user to control how much grey he/she leaves untreated. One thing that both types of products - conventional hair dyes and progressive hair colorants - have in common is that all of them contain chemicals that can be potentially harmful to their users.

Both, hair dyes and progressive hair colorants work by a chemical reaction involving the components of the colorant and the oxygen in the air. The principal difference between the two is that the chemical reaction in conventional hair dyes lasts only for a few minutes as the substance is being applied to the hair versus working slowly for several days in progressive hair colorants. The chemicals that fuel these chemical reactions are typically poisonous and can trigger allergic reactions.

P-phenylenediamine (PPD), is believed to be the leading cause of hair colour allergic reactions with ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, diaminobenzene and, to a lesser extent, also metallic compounds said to account for their fair share, too. Metallic compounds such as lead acetate or bismuth citrate are found mainly in progressive hair colorants whereas PPD, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and diaminobenzene are typical of conventional hair dyes. One of the recently applied molecules used in progressive hair colorants is 5, 6-dihydroxyindoline that is usually described as the best option amongst the chemical molecules contained in grey hair colouring products but it has also been found to cause allergic reactions.

Herbal hair dyes might appear to be a healthy alternative to traditional hair colouring products. Unfortunately, the natural hair dyes are no stranger to causing allergic reactions either and were recently found to be even more allergenic than most chemical products. Thus, when choosing hair colouring agents you should always consider the potential health risks as most of them contain substances that can cause poisoning if used carelessly and can lead to severe allergic reactions. You should always use a patch test before applying any such product and closely follow the application guidelines in order to minimise exposure to potentially harmful substances.

Filed under: Covering Gray Hair