June 28, 2013

Women love to dye their hair, but what happens when they become pregnant? This controversial topic has left pregnant women puzzled and filled with questions. We wanted to explore this topic and do some research of our own to give you some insight on the facts and risks of dyeing your hair while you are pregnant.


According to Roger W. Harms, M.D., obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief of Mayo Clinic, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), small amounts of hair dye CAN penetrate your skin, but it is too small to cause any harm to the developing baby. Even though there have been numerous studies over the past few years and evidence suggests it is safe, doctors advocate that women wait until after their first trimester to dye their hair because the first trimester is when the baby’s major organs are forming. Justmommies says, so far, there has been no evidence proving birth defects from hair dyes, but we are still not 110% sure of its safety.


American Pregnancy Association says that one concern they have is not the absorption of the dye through the skin, but the strong chemical fumes that mothers will be inhaling while dyeing their hair. They recommend avoiding hair dyes with any ammonia because it is a dangerous chemical fume. Also, NHS Choices reminds us that pregnancy can affect your normal hair condition. For instance, your hair could have a different reaction to coloring than before you were pregnant and/or your hair could have become more or less absorbent, frizzy, or unpredictable.


If you do decide to dye your hair while pregnant, here are some guidelines and precautions to consider from the FDA and the American Pregnancy Association:


  1. Follow package directions explicitly and carefully.
  2. Always wear gloves when applying chemicals.
  3. Leave the dye on your hair no longer than directed.
  4. Rinse your scalp and hair thoroughly with water after the treatment.
  5. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area.
  6. Test the hair dye for allergic reactions before applying it to your entire scalp and hair.


Some safety tips and alternative solutions Justmommies suggests is to pick a hair dye that will stay on your scalp for the least amount of time as possible, try highlighting or frosting your hair instead because the chemicals are not applied directly to your scalp which means less hair dye will be absorbed through your scalp/skin, and use natural hair dyes such as henna. Because henna is a vegetable dye, it is considered to be safer to use during pregnancy.


The bottom line is, we have limited data and there have not been enough studies regarding pregnant women and hair dyes to be completely convinced on its safety. So far, there have been no signs of dangers related to hair dyes and baby development, but just because there have been no errors, does not mean they can’t show up in future studies.


If you are still concerned and uncertain about the use of hair dye during pregnancy, please discuss this with your health care provider for a medical opinion. At the end of the day, dyeing your hair while you are pregnant is a personal choice; just make sure you know the facts and risks!