coloring hair with dye

Hair Dyes: Potential Health Risk

Hair Dyes: Potential Health Risk

Are The Chemicals In Hair Dyes Safe?

Hair dyes have become an increasingly popular way to add color and style to hair, but the chemicals contained in them can pose a significant risk to your health. To understand the risks involved with using hair dyes, it’s important to first understand what goes into them.

This article will provide an overview of the primary ingredients used in hair dye products and how they can harm your health if used too frequently or without proper safety precautions.


Primary Ingredients In Hair Dye

The primary ingredients used in most hair dye products are ammonia, paraphenylene diamine (PPD), and resorcinol.

Ammonia is a corrosive alkaline chemical compound that helps open up the cuticle of the hair to allow the dye molecules to penetrate and color your hair.

Paraphenylene diamine (PPD) is an organic compound that helps provide long-lasting color and resistance to fading, but it can also cause skin allergies and possibly cancer.

Resorcinol is a synthetic phenolic compound used as a bleaching agent in hair dyes, but its use has been linked to irritation of the scalp, eyes, nose, and throat.


Other Ingredients In Hair Dye

In addition to these primary ingredients, many other chemicals are contained in hair dye products such as fragrances, preservatives, and heavy metal compounds.

Fragrances are added to mask the unpleasant odor of ammonia or PPD from hair dye products but may also cause allergic skin reactions.

Preservatives are also used to extend the shelf life of hair dye products and can contain irritants such as formaldehyde, which is linked to cancer and other health complications.

Additionally, heavy metals such as lead, mercury, nickel, and arsenic can be found in hair dyes but are usually present in trace amounts.


How To Reduce The Risk Associated With Hair Dyes

Using hair dye on a regular basis can cause short-term side effects such as itching, burning sensations on the scalp or skin, allergic reactions, eye irritation, or breathing difficulties. Over time, using hair dye has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and bladder cancer.

To reduce your exposure to the harmful ingredients in hair dyes, it is recommended to use a hair dye that is free of ammonia and PPD, avoid repeated applications and long-term use of hair dyes, always wear gloves when applying hair dye, and keep hair dye away from your eyes and face.


In conclusion, there are many potential health risks associated with using hair dyes. It’s important to understand the ingredients in your hair dye product before using it so that you can reduce your exposure to any potentially harmful chemicals.

Ultimately, by following safety precautions and limiting the frequency of hair dye usage, you can help protect yourself from any potential long-term health effects associated with its use.





  1. American Cancer Society (2020). Hair Dyes Linked To Cancer. Retrieved From:
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information (2018). Hair Dye Chemicals and Cancer Risk. Retrieved From:
  3. Food and Drug Administration (2020). Chemical Hair Dyes: What You Need To Know Before Coloring Your Hair at Home or In the Salon. Retrieved From:
  4. UpToDate(2021). Safety of hair dyes. Retrieved From:
  5. American Academy of Dermatology Association (2020). Hair Dye Safety: How to Avoid Risks Associated With Hair Color Products. Retrieved From:
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