by Dr. Will Cole
About 75% of adult women dye their hair, not just to cover grays but to change up their color, add highlights or lowlights, or even go bold with blue, pink, or purple. But what are you putting into your body when you put dye on your hair? You might take many steps to improve your overall health, but are you overlooking this major source of potential toxins?
The average daily dose of toxins from all sources has increased tenfold in recent years, and this can result in a significant increase in inflammation, as well as hormonal, and autoimmune health problems.
Hair dye ingredients
The first step in limiting your exposure to harmful chemicals is learning what’s in the products you use regularly. There is nothing like the word “carcinogen” to motivate you to find alternatives. Here’s what could be in your hair dye:
This common preservative is used in hair dyes and has been linked to cancer and fetal damage in utero.
Also reffered to as PPD, this common hair dye chemical is one of the worst, linked to lung and kidney problems and bladder cancer. A 2001 study showed that those who dyed their hair once a month had an increased risk for bladder cancer, which was higher with long-term use and more prevalent in darker dyes.
3. DMDM Hydantoin
This preservative is a known immunotoxin and has been restricted for use in Japanese cosmetics, but not in the U.S.
This chemical can be combined with hydrogen peroxide to create hair bleach. When inhaled, it can cause respiratory problems and asthma.
5. Coal tar
This known cancer-causer is in the majority of hair dyes.
This ingredient is common in some types of hair dyes. Studies have shown it can alter hormone function, ramping up sex hormone levels, which can cause a cascade of health issues.
This toxic fragrance has been linked to cancer, allergies, and immune and neurological system toxicity.
Anyone practicing good health habits and eating a healthful diet but still struggling with health problems should take a closer look at their toxin exposure, and hair dye is a good place to start, whether you are going lighter, darker, or brighter. But do you really have to go gray before you are ready, or abandon your dreams of pink or blue hair?
Finding a natural alternative – or not.
The good news is that you don’t have to stop dying your hair to lighten your toxic load. Look for an organic salon that uses all-natural, non-toxic products. Another option is to dye your hair at home. The Environmental Working Group lists the least-toxic dyes on the market today. Or, if you just can’t give up your hairdresser or toxic product line because it makes you look fantastic, I suggest incorporating extra detoxification support into your wellness regime, to support your body’s natural detox efforts. Check out my simple tips for removing other common sources of toxins from your life, and then take it one step further by making your everyday life a cleanse.
The other option, of course, is to stop dying your hair altogether. For some people, the decreased toxin load is worth a shift in personal style and priorities. If you want to know how your body is handling your current toxic load, lab tests can tell you, which toxins might be a problem for you. We’ll never live a life free of toxins, because our bodies were designed to handle a certain amount of exposure. But you can prioritize your exposures, to stay as healthy as possible.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.