One fear that we all have is the possibility of losing our hair. This has caused many people to be afraid of dyeing their hair due to the rumors that hair dye can cause hair loss. However, we can alleviate some of our fears by knowing how hair dye works.
What Happens When You Dye Your Hair?
Several things occur when you dye your hair, but can any of them result in hair loss?
Ammonia Breaks Through the Cuticle
For starters, hair dye doesn’t simply color your hair. The dye has to break through a couple of barriers before it can change your hair color. If hair dye is to work correctly, it has to break through the hair’s natural protective layer: the hair cuticle.
To achieve this, the ammonia in hair dye lifts the cuticle so that the dye can enter each strand.
Peroxide Lifts Your Current Color
After the dye breaks through the cuticle, you must remove your original hair color. Peroxide is used to achieve this, being the activator in most hair dyes. These activators are known as volumes and can come in varying percentages.
New Pigments of Colors Get Deposited
At this stage, the cuticle has been broken through, and the original pigment has become colorless. The new pigment in the dye now bonds to the hair cortex. Hair dye is often permanent because it has a larger molecule that rests in the deepest layer of the hair, and you cannot wash it out.
Because ammonia opens up the cuticle, permanent hair color dye can damage your existing hair. Ammonia directly damages the bonds that hold the structure of our hair together, leaving it weaker and compromised.
On the other hand, semi-permanent dye will only partially penetrate the cuticle and then stay on the surface of your hair. However, both of these dyes can dry out your hair, resulting in brittle hair strands.
What About Ammonia-Free Dyes?
To start dyeing your hair, you need ammonia to lift your hair cuticle so that the color can get deposited. However, some ammonia-free dye options are available that use monoethanolamine (MEA) instead.
Most people assume that this is the safer option and the less harmful choice between two. However, some studies have shown that MEA is actually more damaging – it does the same job as ammonia but is a liquid instead of a gas.
As a liquid, it stays in your hair longer and can cause as much as 85 percent more damage, whereas ammonia eventually evaporates and leaves your hair once the dye has been applied.
What Happens If You Leave Hair Dye in For a Long Time?
As you’re letting the dye/bleach sit in your strands, the molecules start developing. However, the longer you leave the dye in your hair, the more damage it will cause.
Additionally, do not dye your hair a second time. Dyeing your hair is similar to painting a piece of paper. If you keep painting new colors on top of a piece of paper, the paper will get weaker and eventually crack. The same concept applies to your hair, as the dye will keep stripping the protective barrier and then filling it with new pigments.
Can Hair Dye Cause Baldness?
Naturally, there’s that apprehension that you’ll start to go bald if you dye your hair. Well, rest assured that hair dye can’t get to the hair that’s already developing below your scalp. However, you may experience some shedding if you constantly color your hair.
Many things cause hair loss, but studies have not shown coloring your hair to be one of them. However, you must remain aware that the harsh chemicals in hair dye can cause damage to your existing hair, leading to brittle and dry hair that breaks off.
While bleaching and coloring cannot impact the hair that has not yet grown out of your scalp, these processes can permanently break the bonds in your current hair, making it weak. You must condition your hair properly to prevent these effects.
Keeping your hair moisturized should prevent you from experiencing constant shedding and breakage after a dye job.
Both bleaching your hair and coloring it are aggressive processes that affect the structure of your hair strands. Following a bleach session with coloring is ill-advised, as it puts a lot of strain on your hair.
Nonetheless, if you wait at least four to eight weeks after you have bleached your hair, condition it adequately, avoid frequent washing, and keep your hair moisturized, you should be fine to color your hair afterward.
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