Hair Dye and Hair Loss

Dying HairAnyone who has dyed their hair knows that it changes the feel of your hair, and frequent dyeing can make it brittle. But can dyeing your hair really cause hair loss? Sometimes, yes. Let’s dive into why and how hair dye can contribute to hair loss.

Does Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss?

Knowing the process of hair dyeing and bleaching is key to understanding its relationship to hair loss. Three chemicals are commonly used in hair dyes:

  • Ammonia
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Paraphenylenediamine (PPDA or PPD) and other sensitizers
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    Individually, these chemicals can dry out hair, making it brittle. Ammonia lifts the hair cuticle, which is a protective layer, sometimes referred to as “plates,” that covers the hair shaft. Ammonia also penetrates the hair shaft, causing it to swell. Both reactions damage hair.

    Hydrogen peroxide both removes the hair’s natural color and dries it. While hydrogen peroxide is intended to affect the melanin that creates natural hair color it can also attack keratin, which is the primary protein in hair strands. Both ammonia and hydrogen peroxide can also strip the protective lipid coating on hair, making the shaft weaker, thinner, and more prone to damage.

    PPD makes the dye permanent, allowing the hair to be shampooed without losing color. The darker the hair dye, the more PPD it contains. Permanent dye removes natural hair color so the dye can replace it. Demi-permanent dyes only partially penetrate the hair strand so that most of the dye stays on the surface. Semi-permanent dyes only affect the surface of the hair and don’t penetrate the hair cuticle at all.

    Ammonia-free dyes are assumed to be safer and less damaging to hair but that’s not necessarily the case. Monoethanolamine (MEA) opens the hair cuticle like ammonia does. However, because it’s a liquid it remains in the hair and can cause just as much damage as gaseous ammonia, or even more.

    How Bleaching Can Damage Your Hair

    Bleaching hair opens the cuticle to remove color and then a second process adds the new color. Dyeing hair typically involves a one-step process to do the same. The more you open, close, and reopen the hair cuticle over time, the more damaged it can become. Repeated dyeing and/or bleaching makes hair weaker and more porous, leading to breakage.

    Hair Loss After Coloring

    Breakage and thinning hair strands are the most common form of damage and hair loss related to dyeing with many experts saying it doesn’t affect the hair follicle itself, which regulates hair growth. However, a paper at the National Institute of Health claims that hydrogen peroxide can suppress hair growth by down-regulating β–catenin.

    The dyeing process can also lead to hairs that are normally shed during the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle to come out all at once instead of their usual gradual process. This form of hair loss from dyeing your hair isn’t a problem so long as the normal anagen growth phase follows as usual. So this form of hair loss from hair dye will grow back.

    Experiencing Hair Loss? Contact The Experts at RHRLI

    If you’re experiencing hair loss, call RHRLI for a free consultation. Hair transplant surgeon Dr. Baiju Gohil has a state-of-the-art facility using the cutting-edge ARTAS® Robotic System. Contact RHRLI for a personal consultation with Dr. Gohil himself to assess whether robotic hair restoration is appropriate for you. Learn more by contacting us today.

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