Long-Term Effects of Hair Dye

There are long-term effects of hair dye you should be aware of.

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You may get the hair color change you're after now, but it's important to be aware that there are long-term effects of hair dye. Sure, you know it smells bad and that you should wear gloves so you don't end up with dye-stained hands for a couple days, but there's much more to it than that. So before you pick up that next box of dye, take the time to learn, so you're aware and know the risks.

Hair Damage

Over time, the chemicals in hair dye damage your hair, breaking the hair shaft, leaving your hair looking and feeling dry and damaged. This is especially true if you bleach your hair before coloring to lift color off your hair. Bleach is incredibly harsh and even after a single session, you'll notice a major difference -- and not in a good way -- in your locks.

Hair Loss

Hair loss can occur over time, especially if you color your hair quite often. You may notice just a few extra strands here and there falling out, or even see noticeable bald spots around your head. Girls with thin hair are more prone to experiencing hair loss due to dyeing.

Burning and Irritation

Symptoms such as swelling and irritation can occur with continued use of dye. Hair dye contains harsh chemicals -- ammonia is one of the most toxic; this and related agents contained in hair coloring products can cause a burning of the scalp, swelling and irritation. Not all people who dye their hair experience this, but it does make you think twice before picking up that box of hair dye to touch-up your roots.


The use of hair dye has even been linked to cancer. An international study involving researchers from seven European countries and some 4,000 participants, published in the May 6, 2006, issue of the "American Journal of Epidemiology," reported a 19 percent increased risk of lymphomas in dye users compared to those who never used hair dye. Risk was significantly higher among women and men who started using hair coloring products before 1980.


To avoid damage to your lovely locks, opt for a semi-permanent color in place of a permanent shade, or even a natural dye. Avoid coloring your hair too often, and always keep it conditioned in between dyes. Scalp massages and other hair-care treatments also work well; visit a salon to speak to a stylist for personalized advice and inquire about available treatments.

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