- Monday.July 08. 2019
About three out of four women use colours or dyes to treat their hair. Some do it to cover grey or to make a fashion statement. Some just want a change.
Men want to look younger, too. About one in 10 men colour their hair now. The number has gone up over the past 10 years, especially with men 50 to 64.
Kate Dawes, our senior hair loss consultant, answers the question on whether regular dyeing or colouring of hair can lead to hair thinning or significant hair loss.
“Firstly, I wouldn’t state that colouring hair has never caused hair loss. If someone has an allergic reaction to the colour, then they may experience alopecia totalis or universalis,” says Kate.
Alopecia totalis causes complete baldness of the scalp. It is different from the most severe form of alopecia areata, known as alopecia universalis- the form of alopecia that causes complete hair loss over the entire body.
Kate says, “ While I haven’t seen this myself with colour, I have seen it with a keratin hair straightener.”
“Excluding an allergic reaction or chemical burn from overprocessing, colouring hair will not cause permanent hair loss. Hair colour is applied to the roots and shaft of the hair to change the melanin within the cortex of the hair.”
More than 5,000 chemicals are used in hair dye. All that bleaching, buffering, and conditioning involved with the colouring process, not to mention the wide variety of colours and processes out there, involves a lot of chemical action.
“With more exposure to these chemicals in the colour, the elongated keratin proteins become weaker and some will eventually break. This is the cause of the breakage a lot of clients experience when colouring their hair,” says Kate.
Here are some dos and don’ts to follow when dyeing your hair:
Colouring or dyeing is a common hair treatment but the process may leave the hair fragile and dry. If you dye or bleach your hair, watch how often you swim in salt water or chlorine-treated pools. It is also advisable to wear a wide-brimmed hat when you go outside to protect your hair from the sun. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays and chlorinated or sea water can make your dyed hair rough, faded and brittle. It’s called weathering- environmental damage that leads to dry, frazzled-looking hair.
Kate says, “Some clients may experience excessive shedding at the time of the colour treatment. Hairs that are already in the telogen stage of the hair growth cycle are mechanically removed when the colour is applied and combed/massaged through the mid lengths and ends.”
“With proper nutritional support and hair treatment, the hair will grow back,” says Kate.
If you are regularly dyeing your hair without any allergic reaction, any unexplained thinning hair or bald patches is likely caused by something else; the colouring is just coincidental. Whilst most temporary conditions will correct themselves in up to six months’ time in line with the hair’s normal growth cycle, a hair loss specialist will be able to provide you with a professional diagnosis and can also recommend a hair loss treatment plan tailored to your specific situation.
Kate Dawes is our senior hair loss consultant and qualified trichologist. She is registered with the International Association of Trichologists, specialising in male and female hair loss. Kate is the Founding Director and leading practitioner at Foli Sim. With over 30 years’ experience working in the hair industry, Kate’s knowledge and expertise have earned her a reputation as the go-to trichologist for diagnosing and treating hair loss and scalp conditions.