Can women dye their hair during pregnancy?

October 23, 2013 12:00 AM by

When you find out that you're pregnant, you'll start hearing all kinds of things that you should and shouldn't do as a first time mother. You might be told not to touch cats (unnecessary), not to eat fish (just high-mercury types) or to take a prenatal vitamin (this is a good idea). Another thing people might caution you about is dyeing your hair. But do you really have to go without your color for nine months? It may seem like a scary prospect, but here are the facts.

Is it safe?
For the most part, coloring your hair while you're pregnant is okay. Very little of the chemicals found in hair dye is absorbed into your system, and studies haven't found any link between birth defects and hair dye. However, since there isn't much data on the issue, many health care providers recommend using caution just to be on the safe side by waiting until the second trimester to dye your hair, as baby development is most active in the first trimester.

Are some dyes better than others?
There are many brands of dye that have fewer chemicals and more natural ingredients, and some dyes, like henna, are free of chemicals. And certain treatments are less risky than others: All-over hair dye exposes you to more chemicals than procedures like highlights or frosting, which don't touch your scalp. If you're concerned, maybe now's a good time to try highlights instead of your usual one-color dye job.

What are some other safety tips?
When you're dyeing your hair during pregnancy, it's a good idea to make sure you're in a well-ventilated salon or bathroom if you're doing it yourself. If you're doing an at-home dye job, be sure to wear the gloves that come in the box and avoid getting the dye on your skin. Leave it on for the minimum amount required to achieve the results you're looking for, then be sure to rinse the dye out thoroughly.

Is there anything else to keep in mind?
Don't forget that pregnancy hormones can change certain aspects of your hair, like its thickness or texture. As a result, your usual dye might not give you the same results when you're getting ready for baby. Do a strand test before dyeing your hair to make sure that you don't get any crazy results.

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