Hide this
 

Can Hair Dyes Give You Cancer?

May 24, 2008 | 110,785 views
Share This Article Share

hair dye, hair colorHairdressers and barbers are at increased risk of developing cancer as a result of their use of hair dyes. These risks could also extend to personal use of the dyes.

A panel of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France reviewed the evidence and found a consistent risk of bladder cancer in male hairdressers and barbers. A second review of the evidence on personal hair dye use found some studies suggested a possible association with bladder cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia.

However, the panel found that the evidence was inadequate to classify the carcinogenicity of personal hair dye use.

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I've organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn't a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:

BONUS #1:

A sneak peek of my new book! You won’t need to wait for the book to arrive to get started. Begin reading my new book right away with your free sneak preview!

BONUS #2:

My most popular video interviews, all in one place. I’ve compiled 18 of my BEST expert interviews for you to watch and listen to at your leisure, and in the comfort of your own home or office.

BONUS #3:

Receive 15% off your next Mercola.com order. Depending on your order, your savings from this one bonus alone could more than cover the cost of your book!

All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

That's right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you'll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you'll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children's health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride's environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Hair color is often one of the few cosmetics that even “natural-minded” people justify using, often to cover up gray hair. Some estimates even say that more than one in three women, and one in 10 men over 40, throughout Europe, North America and Japan use some type of hair color.

Clearly the risks of these chemicals are magnified among hairdressers because they use them so frequently. But don’t mistake that to mean that coloring your hair once every four to six weeks is safe.

Your scalp has a very rich blood supply that is more than capable of transporting the toxins in hair dyes throughout your entire body.

What Types of Toxins are Found in Hair Dye?

Plenty.

Keep in mind that hair dyes are classified as a personal care product, and the government doesn't require any mandatory testing for these products before they hit store shelves. So literally anything goes.

The Environmental Working Group has ranked 456 hair colors in their Skin Deep cosmetics database, and roughly 400 of them are considered high hazard because they contain toxins linked to:
  • Cancer
  • Developmentive and reproductive toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Immunotoxicity and organ toxicity
  • Allergies and irritation of the eyes, skin or lungs
More specifically, in your box of “chestnut brown” or “ash blonde” -- or in the dyes used at your salon -- you may find:
  • Para-phenylenediamine and tetrahydro-6-nitroquinoxaline, both of which have been shown to damage genetic material and cause cancer in animals.
  • Formaldehyde, a preservative linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and more.
  • DMDM Hydantoin, another preservative that is a known immune system toxin (and has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan).
  • Eugenol, a fragrance ingredient that’s associated with cancer, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and allergies.
Of course, this is just to name a few. If you have a box of hair color under your bathroom sink, I encourage you to look up some of the ingredients for yourself using the Skin Deep cosmetics database. The results can be very eye-opening.

Health Concerns From Dying Your Hair

The above study stopped short of saying that coloring your hair can cause cancer, but before you take that as a green light, you should know that other studies have found a clear-cut link.

For instance, one study of nearly 900 people found that women who used permanent hair dye at least once a month were twice as likely as women who did not use permanent hair dye to develop bladder cancer.

Meanwhile, those who reported regular use of the hair dye for at least 15 years were more than three times as likely to develop bladder cancer as non-dye users.

A separate study also found that women who use hair dyes for more than 20 years may nearly double their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Are Any Hair Dyes Safe?

Ideally, you should limit your exposure to all chemical products as much as possible, and that includes dying your hair. You really should not put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, staying away from hair dye is particularly important because of the impact it could have on your unborn child.

That said, I realize that pursuing a youthful appearance is very much indoctrinated into our culture. You may want to try using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to let go of some of these unrealistic ideals.

But for those of you who are determined to use hair dye no matter what, well at least use these tips to minimize your risk:

1. Steer clear of the darkest shades. Although all of the shades use essentially the same chemicals, there's quite a lot more of them in dark brown and black shades than there are in blonde, red or lighter shades.

2. Avoid permanent hair color, as they’re the most toxic. Semi-permanent and temporary colors are less so.

3. Look for natural brands of hair color that use henna, herbal dyes and vegetable dyes as primary ingredients. These are likely to be much less toxic than the average hair color.

4. If you go to a salon, choose one that is chemical-free, odor-free, herbal or caters to people with multiple chemical sensitivity and allergies. These salons tend to use less toxic products.

As an aside, if you are a woman under 40 and have prematurely gray hair, it is usually a result of hypothyroidism. If you fall into this category, it would be wise to learn about these natural methods to help restore your thyroid.

[+] Sources and References

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico