Dr. Avnish Jolly,24 May:Hair color is often one of the few cosmetics that people justify using, often to cover up gray hair. Some estimates even say that more than one in three women and one in 10 men over 40, throughout India, Europe, North America and Japan use some type of hair color.
A panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France reviewed the evidence and found a consistent risk of bladder cancer in male hairdressers and barbers. A second review of the evidence on personal hair dye use found some studies suggested a possible association with bladder cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia.
Environmental Working Group has ranked 456 hair colors in their Skin Deep cosmetics database, and roughly 400 of them are considered high hazard because they contain toxins linked to:
• Developmentive and reproductive toxicity
• Immunotoxicity and organ toxicity
• Allergies and irritation of the eyes, skin or lungs
Most of the dyes contains following Chemicals:
• Coal tar, a known carcinogen (few investigation found that 71 percent of hair dyes contain coal tar)
• Formaldehyde, a preservative linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and more.
• Para-phenylenediamine and tetrahydro-6-nitroquinoxaline, both of which have been shown to damage genetic material and cause cancer in animals.
• DMDM Hydantoin, another preservative that is a known immune system toxin (and has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan).
• Eugenol, a fragrance ingredient that’s associated with cancer, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and allergies.
These chemicals are not good for health but risk is more among hairdressers because they use them so frequently. But don’t mistake that to mean that coloring hair once every four to six weeks is safe. Scalp has a very rich blood supply that is more than capable of transporting the toxins in hair dyes throughout your entire body. Hairdressers and barbers are at increased risk of developing cancer as a result of their use of hair dyes. These risks could also extend to personal use of the dyes.
One study of nearly 900 people found that women who used permanent hair dye at least once a month were twice as likely as women who did not use permanent hair dye to develop bladder cancer. Meanwhile, those who reported regular use of the hair dye for at least 15 years were more than three times as likely to develop bladder cancer as non-dye users. Study also found that women who use hair dyes for more than 20 years may nearly double their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies suggest one should limit exposure to all chemical products as much as possible, and that includes dying your hair. One should not put anything on body that one wouldn’t eat. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, staying away from hair dye is particularly important because of the impact it could have on your unborn child.
Those are determined to use hair dye no matter what, well at least use these tips to minimize your risk:
• Avoid permanent hair color, as they’re the most toxic. Semi-permanent and temporary colors are less so.
• Look for natural brands of hair color that use henna, herbal dyes and vegetable dyes as primary ingredients. These are likely to be much less toxic than the average hair color.
• Choose one that is odor-free, chemical-free, herbal or caters to people with multiple chemical sensitivity and allergies.