There are a great many enduring myths about hair loss and its causes. From maternal grandfathers to wearing hats, all manner of things are blamed for damaging hair follicles in such a way that the hair itself is shed and not replaced. Although some old wives tales are now rightly regarded with scepticism, some do have a ring of truth to them, and as such they have remained remarkably resistant to the facts. One such myth is the link between repeated hair dying and hair loss.
The chemicals in most commercially available hair dyes – particularly bleaches such as peroxides – are harmful to the body in large enough quantities. However, many people believe that these chemicals, though safe in small quantities, can also irritate the scalp if used regularly, damaging it to the point where it no longer produces a healthy head of hair. This belief is probably based on the fact that repeated bleaching and re-dying, without adequate care in the form of conditioners, can leave the hair looking dry and lifeless. Another possibility is that many people use hair dye over very long periods, so the naturally thinning hair that people often experience as they get older is attributed to the hair dye.
Safe to use
There can be a drawback to hair dyes, as they do reduce the lustre of hair if it is not cared for properly. However, this is not, as many people think, due to the dyes affecting the hair follicles in the scalp where the hair is produced. It is actually an unfortunate side-effect of the leeching process, by which dye is removed from the proteins that compose each hair shaft.
Hair dyes are rigorously tested by cosmetics companies to ensure that they are safe for ordinary people to use regularly. Any product that could not safely be used would not be cleared for public use by the various government agencies responsible for protecting consumers from unsafe products. Therefore, you can rest assured than any dye you might find in a reputable shop or produced by a respected brand will be safe to use, without it harming your skin. However, it is extremely important to follow the instructions that come with your dye product correctly, because the chemicals contained in dyes can damage your hair if improperly used.
The exception to this confirmation of safety is if you happen to be allergic to any of the components of the dye you are using. Certain chemicals – such as PPD, or paraphenylenediamine, a common ingredient in many darker hair dyes – can provoke the body’s immune system, causing an itchy and sore scalp, neck, shoulders, eyelids and ears. Irritated follicles may shed their hair prematurely and lead to patches of baldness, while itching can also cause hairs to break off. As allergies are cumulative (i.e. they get worse with each reaction) it is important that you stop using a product that causes a reaction immediately, and do not use it again.
Repairing the damage
The good news is that hair lost as the result of allergic reactions usually grows back relatively quickly once the source of the irritation has been removed. However, it is well worth booking a consultation with one of our experts, who will help ascertain whether an allergic reaction is the real cause of your hair loss, and if not we will decipher the cause and help you to put a stop to your thinning and regrow any hair that has been lost. You can call us on 0800 077 6666 or contact us online to book a free consultation with a medically qualified hair loss expert.