If you color your hair or are thinking of covering that recalcitrant gray, have you been experiencing a small niggling feeling about its effects on your health? If so, you may want to learn more about the healthier dye options available.
A study by the International Journal of Cancer found that women who used permanent hair dye at least once a month experienced a 21% higher risk of bladder cancer compared to non-users; there is a 33% increase for those have been coloring their hair for 15 or more years.
Suspected toxins like PPD, also known as Para-Phenylenediamine, an aniline (colorless poisonous liquid) dye and its close chemical cousin, PTD or Paratoluenediamine, are two chemical ingredients in hair dyes that enable color to remain in the hair follicles. PPD is a known neurotoxin (a substance that damages, destroys, or impairs the functioning of nerve tissue) derived from petroleum products; it is used in anti-freeze and lots of other non-cosmetic items. PTD is believed to be a less toxic alternative, but has not been studied for any statistically significant length of time. Hair dye ingredients like ammonia, peroxide, sulfates and parabens have also been known as health hazards for years.
The good news is that many hair dye products on the market today have reduced the amounts of these suspected offenders in their formulations. Sadly, though, PPD & PTD have been shown to have a cumulative effect in the body. And the bad news for those with darker or gray hair is that higher concentrations of these substances are necessary to cover them over.
Consumers are often confused by companies who make it difficult to see the complete ingredient list on the label. The Food and Drug Administration allows products containing less than 6% of an ingredient not to list them; PPD or PTD being two of the more insidious ones. Even the label “organic” on a box of hair color means only that the product contains (some) organic ingredients. The statement, “95% natural” on a box means that 5% can still be toxic!
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