Dr. Campbell: Hair dyes may be linked to increased breast cancer risk
The New Hair Dye Risk
If you’ve ever experienced a rash on your scalp, neck, and chest after dying your hair, don’t be surprised: allergens in hair dyes are more common than you think, according to research presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American Contact Dermatitis Society.
Researchers looked at over 100 hair dyes and found that phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause allergic contact dermatitis, was present in 89% of products.
“There’s no real reason your body should identify PPD as a pathogen, but sometimes, it does. So it activates an immune response that results in a rash,” says Dathan Hamann, a researcher at the University of Arizona who presented the study.
But it’s not just PPD that could be making you itch: researchers found that hair dyes have an average of six dye compounds that can cause a reaction. (And this is only considering color-creating compounds, not other potentially irritating ingredients.) “There are probably more,” says Hamann.
So if you have a go-to hair dye and haven’t had a problem, stick with it. But if you’ve had a reaction in the past and you’re looking to try something new, Hamann suggests a patch test.
“It’s not just putting a spot of dye on your skin per the product’s instructions,” he explains. “It’s when your dermatologist applies different compounds to the skin to identify the root of the problem.” Note: Contact dermatitis is a specialized field, so this may be a time to cheat on your derm.
Video: Hair Dye Risks
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