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Can Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss?


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    Are you suffering from hair loss, and wondering if dying your hair is contributing to it? Some dyes are harmful due to the chemicals contained within them, and the process of applying the dye can also cause hairs to dislodge. 

    Can hair dye cause hair loss?

    Dying your hair causes damage to the hair shaft which is seen as hair breakage. The hair damage caused by dye is not hair loss as such – it is hair breakage. The chemicals in hair dyes are not able to penetrate the scalp and affect the hair follicles and so they do not cause hair loss. 

    Hair breakage from dyes can be caused by exposure to chemicals and the rubbing that is required to work the dye into your hair. The weakening that is caused by the chemicals and the rubbing can weaken and dislodge hairs, especially hair follicles that are ready to shed. 

    What ingredients in hair dye cause hair loss?

    So why does hair dye contribute to hair breakage? The offending chemicals within many hair dyes are hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. Typically, hair dyes used to lighten the hair contain more peroxides, which replace melanin in the hair. This can physically weaken your hair shafts and cause breakage at the distal end of the shaft (the tip end). The hairs most likely to break are those which are oldest.

    Ammonia is found in hair dyes which darken the hair. If you use an ammonia dye repeatedly, it can damage the hair cuticle, which allows moisture to escape and can result in hair which is dry, brittle, and more likely to break. 

    What hair dye does not cause hair loss?

    While ammonia and peroxide dyes were once the only options for hair darkening or lightening, there is now an increasing variety of hair dyes that are free from these chemicals and gentler on the hair.

    With this in mind, keep your eye out for the following types of hair dye:

    • Semi-permanent hair colour: this type of hair dye is usually kinder to your hair because it doesn’t contain the strong chemicals that are needed to maintain colour. 
    • Less than 20% peroxide: if you are going to dye your dark hair blonde, it might be hard to avoid peroxide entirely. In these cases, try to opt for a hair dye that contains 20% or less peroxide.
    • Oil-based hair dye: there are now plenty of oil-based hair dyes that are free from ammonia, so if you are going for a darker colour, bear these in mind.
    • Vegetable-based hair dye: vegetable-based or vegan hair dyes are another excellent chemical-based alternative. Made from natural plant-based ingredients, they are usually semi-permanent options.
    • Henna hair dye: another less permanent choice is henna, which is superb at enhancing darker tones. Rather than contributing to hair breakage, henna can actually condition and strengthen the hair. 

    Preventing hair loss

    Let’s consider some tips on how to prevent hair loss and hair breakage, especially if you want to dye your hair:

    • Don’t bleach your hair: you might have considered bleaching your hair for a dramatic colour change. If you are keen to prevent hair breakage – don’t do it. Bleach is harmful to your hair and should be avoided if possible.
    • Leave it to the professionals: there are many DIY hair dye options, but by entrusting a salon to dye your hair, you give yourself the benefits of professional treatment, a wider variety of choices and better quality colouring agents.
    • Beware of the contrast: using a hair dye that is drastically different in colour to your scalp can look bad and highlight thinning areas. Select a hue with a contrast that is as close to the colour of your scalp as possible.
    • Check the label: as we’ve highlighted throughout this piece, avoid hair dyes that are packed with peroxides and ammonia, and if you must use dye that does contain them, ensure it is a low percentage.

    Treatment for hair loss due to hair dye

    Unfortunately, many factors can contribute to hair loss, not just hair dye. Some of these factors may be out of your control, such as genetic and medical conditions. But luckily, there are a range of treatments available, especially if hair dye has contributed to your hair loss, such as non-invasive treatments like minoxidil or finasteride, and permanent but effective surgical treatments. 

    At The Treatment Rooms London, we offer an FUE hair transplant, which takes individual hair follicles from the back of the scalp and gently places them into prepared holes at the recipient site, and the FUT hair transplant, which takes a larger hair graft from the back of the scalp and implants them at the recipient site. For more information on these hair loss treatments, call us today on 020 8706 0076 or contact us through our website.

    Authored by

    Hair Transplant Surgeon Dr Roshan Vara

    Dr Roshan Vara

    Full Medical Member of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

    GMC Registered - 7458409

    Reviewed by

    Hair Transplant Surgeon Dr Dilan Fernando

    Dr Dilan Fernando

    Royal College of Surgeons

    Executive Committee Member & Treasurer of the British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery

    GMC Registered - 7458157

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