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Are Hair Dyes Safe?

hair color image

Before you get those roots touched up, consider the possible risks.

Some women get very touchy at their first sighting of a white or gray hair and make an immediate appointment with the colorist at their local salon. Others prefer to let nature take its course and take it all in the stride of aging naturally, hair, wrinkles, age spots and all. Some just blame it on their kids and move on!

What makes hair turn gray?

Melanin, which is responsible for the color of our hair, is secreted in each individual hair follicle (the part of the hair below the scalp). When the pigment cells at the base of each hair follicle stop producing melanin, the individual hair turns white. That is why this process occurs strand by strand, instead of all at once.

The decision to dye your hair, or not to dye your hair, may be influenced by studies that show that hair dyes have been linked to specific types of cancer. Medical research has determined that hair dyes do not pose any significant risk for bladder or breast cancer, but may be associated with leukemia, multiple myloma, and even non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma!

An article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology on May 26, 2006 reported that the most recent research, conducted in Barcelona, Spain, included information gathered from six European countries. The risk of contracting non–Hodgkin’s lymphoma increased to 19% in those who dyed their hair occasionally; with those who dyed their hair on a more regular basis (once a month), the risk increased to 26%.

Alternatives to traditional hair dye for those who want to get rid of the gray?

Natural color rinses, often made from herbs, can be used to color your hair. They don’t contain synthetic chemicals, preservatives or harsh oxidizing chemicals, such as ammonia, and are made from pure vegetable oil. These products can condition your hair and give it color and shine.

Or better yet, go natural. Hair color, along with our height, shoe size and eye color are gifts we inherited from our parents. Rather than change your hair color, consider changing the way you think about your hair color. Even the scriptures observe that, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”

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