5 Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye

Switching up your look can be a lot of fun. No wonder hair dye is so popular! But have you thought about the health risks? It can be more harmful than you think.

You’ll also spend a pretty penny. Maintenance isn’t cheap, after all. And after learning about these five side effects, you might rethink your next hair appointment.


5 Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye

1. Hair Breakage

Hair Breakage_Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye

All commercial hair dyes are made with ammonia. This ingredient works by opening up the hair fibers, letting the color latch on. The more permanent the hair color, the more ammonia it has.


Unfortunately, this very process will destroy your luscious locks. Every time the fibers open up, your hair becomes weaker and weaker. Other chemicals will also strip hair of its natural proteins.

Eventually, the strands of hair will begin to deteriorate. You’ll be left with brittle, weak hair that easily falls apart. You might even notice more split-ends than usual. This is a major side effect of hair dye, even if you just dye the tips.


2. Dry Hair

Dry Hair_Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye

The ammonia in hair dye will also reduce your hair’s elasticity. It can be hard to maintain a healthy shine. Frizziness might also become an issue, especially if you get one dye job after another. Over time, this can turn into a permanent problem.


Your scalp might even produce less sebum, or stop making it all together. This means that there won’t be enough natural oils to moisturize your strands. A conditioning mask or treatment might be useful, but you’ll need to use it constantly.

3. Hair Growth Prevention

Hair Growth Prevention_Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye


The chemicals in hair dye will also damage your hair follicles. This means that new hair will have a hard time growing, increasing the risk of baldness and hair loss.

Typically, a follicle makes hair by fusing protein cells together. But with enough exposure to chemicals, a hair follicle will die. Once it’s destroyed, it can’t be revived, which is why baldness is so hard to treat.


Hair loss is a tell-tale sign of dead follicles. You might find chunks of hair in your brush or shower. If this sounds familiar, take a break from hair dye or stop using it completely.

4. Increased Cancer Risk

Increased Cancer Risk_Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye


According to the National Cancer Institute, some studies have shown an association between hair dye and non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia. The greater risk was observed in those who used hair dye before 1980. However, there is still some risk post-1980, especially with dark-colored dyes.1

While the results have been mixed, it’s important to be careful. The buzz on hair dye and cancer shouldn’t be ignored.

5. Allergic Reactions

Allergic Reactions_Side Effects Of Using Hair Dye

As with many chemical products, hair dyes can cause allergic reactions. The worst part? You might not even know you’re allergic. Possible symptoms include dandruff, itchiness, and redness or swelling around the eyes. It’s easy to overlook these signs as normal or minor.

If you have sensitive skin, avoid using hair dye. This is also a good idea if you’re prone to allergies from toiletries and beauty products. You never know how the hair dye will affect you.

Often, a chemical called paraphenylenediamine is the culprit. It’s linked to hypersensitivity reactions and is considered to be highly allergenic and toxic.2

Play it safe and avoid commercial hair dyes. You’ll thank yourself later! Instead, use natural options like henna and black walnut hulls. These alternatives can be found at health food stores.