We are women, and, for the most part, we are vain.

I admit it. I live in a culture that values beauty. I have bought into the marketing message that my value is connected to the image I see in the mirror. That is the reason  I dye my hair.  But the real question that every woman needs to be asking is not, “Do I look younger than my true age?” Instead they need to be asking, “Is my habit of dyeing worth dying for?”

Millions of women and young girls dye their hair on a consistent basis, as much as 12 times a year or even more. It is the fashionable thing to do. Yet every time we pour or paint that color onto our strands, it exposes our systems to dangerous carcinogens.  Dyeing formulas are full of toxic chemicals and poisons.  These chemicals are harmful whey they are inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Just in case you are looking for a way out, girls, your scalp counts as skin. Your scalp is also one point on the body with a high concentration of blood flow. The chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream.

Again, if you want to stand behind the “protection” of the FDA, you can’t.  Even though the FDA has some control over cosmetics ingredients, there are many chemicals in hair dyes  that the FDA does not have the power to regulate.  Even though the manufacturers  eliminated some of the most toxic chemicals from their formulas during the 1970’s, there are plenty left in the semi-permanent and permanent dyes that cause concerns. Some of the most toxic chemicals used are quaternium-15, formaldehyde, phenylenediamine, alkylphenol ethoxylates. coal tar, lead, toluene and resorcinol.

My goal here is not to go into all of the chemicals scientifically and explain why these poisons pose a biological risk.  My intent is to raise a red flag. Multiple studies have been done to determine the exact level of health hazard that hair dyeing chemicals pose to its users. The findings, as a whole, have been inconclusive and variable. That being said,  it is still a fact that para-phenylenediamine was voted as the 2006 Allergen of the Year by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. The term “inconclusive” does NOT mean that there is no link to adverse health effects. It’s just that the varying studies show varying degrees of hazard based on multiple degrees of accumulation of, and exposure to, the toxins.

These studies have concluded that women who use hair coloring are more likely to develop a number of health problems. The list includes, but is not limited to: ovarian and bladder cancer, allergic reactions, anaphylaxis reactions, asthma,  leukemia,  lymphoma, autoimmune disorders, hormone disruption, liver and kidney toxicity.  Even with the inconclusive agreement of study findings, the Director of FDA’s colors and cosmetics program gives a warning in guarded language. John Bailey said that in the final analysis,  consumers will need to consider the lack of demonstrated safety when they choose to use hair dyes.

Natural dyes are available, but none are completely devoid of dangerous chemicals. That’s because the very process of changing hair color,  by definition,  requires a chemical reaction.  Even natural dyes have been known to cause allergic reactions in some people. Natural dyes are also not very popular because they are not as effective as the chemical-laden dyes in penetrating the hair shaft.

So, the final summary here is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of options for a hazard-free way to alter the dreaded gray to a youthful hue. Indeed, if you asked a hair stylist about a safe method to color your hair, you are likely to be told to abstain from hair dyeing altogether.

Personally, as I weigh the risks, and write this article, I’ve pondered my future course of action carefully. This health-conscious author has decided to wear gloves and try a sample of the dye to a small patch of scalp first. Yep, you got it…vanity wins.

Author Bio

DiAnna is a freelance writer living in the shadow of majestic mountains along the Wasatch Front in the great state of Utah. She is a mother of six children. When she is not sitting at a baseball field watching her son catch a white ball behind home plate, she is either in front of her computer or outside on a run.

DiAnna writes for the LDWriters Network. Currently sponsoring her writing career are some of the top fashion trends in the salon industry. One of these trends is the new OPI Gelcolor. OPI Gelcolor lasts weeks without getting ruined. It is quickly becoming a must have nail salon service.