During pregnancy every woman worries about the safety of the developing fetus. While what you eat or drink during pregnancy directly affects the growth and development of the fetus even the cosmetics you use can affect the health of the fetus. One of the common concerns of pregnant women is whether coloring the hair during pregnancy is safe for the fetus.
Unfortunately there is limited research on the subject. As clinical trials are not acceptable during pregnancy, scientists rely on animal studies to determine the effect of hair color on fetal health.
How Hair Color Effects Fetal Health
According to a University of North Carolina study, use of hair color during pregnancy increases risk of neuroblastoma in offspring. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that usually occurs in children below 5 years of age. Another study conducted in Sweden revealed that hairdressers, because of the higher rate of exposure to the chemicals in hair dye, had a higher risk of giving birth to infants who were small for gestational age. However, none of these studies are conclusive. Animal studies suggest that hair dye use during pregnancy is probably safe for the fetus. The chemicals in the hair color cannot enter your bloodstream through the hair shafts. However, hair color that accidentally falls on the scalp and skin can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Nevertheless, extremely small amount of chemicals enter the body in this way, which your body can easily eliminate.
When to Color Hair
Most of the development of the fetus takes place during the first trimester. The fetus is also most vulnerable during this time. Pregnant women should avoid all types of toxic substances during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also advisable not to color your hair during the first trimester. However, coloring the hair from the second trimester is considered safe.
Check Ingredients in Hair Color
Hair dyes contain a number of chemicals, some of which, according to studies, are harmful for the health. Some of the toxic chemicals found in semi-permanent and permanent hair colors are para-phenylenediamine, which is considered a carcinogen, lead acetate, which is associated with neurological problems and anemia and resorcinol, which is harmful for the endocrine system. The European Union Commission has identified a number of hazardous chemicals in hair dyes and has banned about 22 ingredients. Always use hair color of a reputed brand that does not contain harmful ingredients.
While coloring your hair, strictly follow the direction on the package. Work in a room that is well-ventilated. Wear gloves and protect your skin from the hair color. Leave the dye on your hair for the minimum time. Thoroughly rinse your scalp after applying the color.
Natural Hair Color
Alternatively, instead of using a chemical laden hair color, you can use henna or plant based hair dye to color your hair. The natural dyes are considered safe for use even during the first trimester of pregnancy.