By Michael A. Smith, MD
As a matter of fact, the European Commission on Health recently labeled 22 hair dye chemicals as dangerous to humans and banned them for good.
So, if you’re a hair dye enthusiast, you might want to take a closer look at your favorite brand.
Hair Dyes and Bladder CancerThe most dangerous hair dye chemicals are Arylamines. They can be absorbed through your scalp or even inhaled during application of the hair dye. Arylamines have been established as risk factors for bladder cancer by several clinical studies, including one conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.1
Arylamines are used because they allow for hair dyes to resist fading during washing. However, hair dyes really don’t need them and natural-based companies are producing Arylamine-free dyes.
Your DNA Doesn’t Like Hair DyesArtificial colors — like Red 73 and Orange 24 — are the other dangerous chemicals found in hair dyes. And there’s no way around it … these are nasty chemicals. They absorb through your scalp and into your bloodstream where they can attack healthy cells and tissues. Artificial colors directly damage your cell’s DNA and significantly increase your risk for many types of cancer.2
I suggest using vegetable-based dyes. These work by coating the hair shaft with botanical extracts such as annatto, blackberry, boysenberry, saffron, paprika, red sorrel, black walnut and other natural colors.
These substances do not penetrate the hair shaft or your scalp, plus some women claim that they actually give the hair more shine. The coating action of natural pigments can also aid in protecting the hair from environmental toxins, salts, chlorine and assorted pollutants.
And here’s the best news of all: Safety tests have found that these vegetable-based, natural dyes are completely safe and effective for dyeing hair.
Help, I’ve Been Dyeing my Hair for Years!Have you’ve been dyeing your hair for years and now you’re worried about the harm that’s already been done? Well, here’s what I suggest. Increase your dietary intake of cruciferous vegetables — you know, veggies like broccoli and kale. They contain a known cancer fighter called sulforaphane, which protects cellular DNA and promotes healthy cell growth throughout your body.3
I would also consider supplementing your diet with an extract containing a blend of cruciferous vegetables. This way you can maximize the cancer-protective benefits of sulforaphanes.
So if you’ve been “dyeing” to know if hair dyes are dangerous … they are! Switch to Arylamine-free, vegetable-based products and supplement with cancer fighters like cruciferous vegetables.
This approach should help keep you looking good and feeling good for many years to come!
- J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004; 96(19): 1425-1431. doi:10.1093/jnci/djh274
- Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Oct; 118 (10):A428.
- Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2012 May 2. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:22583415
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