Poisonous Chemicals in Grey Hair Colorants

Grey hair

For many women dying their hair has become a part of their monthly routine. Some men have begun 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 gradually by changing the hair colour for several days after they have been applied, which makes the transformation less noticeable and allows the user to control how much grey hair he/she leaves untreated. One thing that both types of treatments – conventional hair dyes and progressive hair colorants – have in common is that all of them contain chemicals that can present a potential health risk to their users.

Both, hair dyes and progressive hair colorants work by a chemical reaction involving the components of the colorant and also, when applicable, melanin and/or the oxygen in the air. The essential difference between the two is that the chemical reaction in regular hair dyes lasts only for a few minutes while 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 often poisonous and can trigger allergic reactions.

PPD, which is an acronym for p-phenylenediamine, is thought 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 and bismuth citrate are found mostly in progressive hair colorants whereas PPD, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and diaminobenzene are typical of regular hair dyes. One of the newer molecules used in progressive hair colorants is 5, 6-dihydroxyindoline that is frequently 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.

Natural hair dyes might seem 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 treatments. Therefore, when choosing hair colouring products you should always consider the potential health risks as most of them contain substances that can cause poisoning if used inappropriately or can lead to severe allergic reactions. You should always conduct a patch test before applying any such product and closely follow the application guidelines in order to minimise exposure to potentially harmful substances.