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Is It Safe to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant?

Deciding what hair treatments are safe during pregnancy can be tricky. The jury is still out on the best options for you and your developing baby. However, it’s a generally safe bet to err on the side of caution. This might mean forgoing full dye for highlights for several months, seeking out less toxic options, or strictly following all FDA precautions. To help you stay safe and still look good during pregnancy, we enlisted the expert opinion of Kardashian colorist Andrew Fitzsimons. If you’re wondering if you can dye your hair while pregnant, scroll below to find out!

can you dye your hair while pregnant | Mane Addicts
(via Getty)

Should You Dye Your Hair While Pregant?

Andrew shares that “you may often hear a variety of opinions when it comes to dyes and chemicals during pregnancy.” And he’s right. We’ve heard a number of different opinions. “Some doctors recommend stopping all treatments, some may say to continue after the third trimester. Truth is that there aren’t many studies to prove the effects of chemical treatments on pregnancy,” he notes. “There are pores on your scalp that may have the potential of absorbing chemicals and passing it on to your child, so I would say to skip the treatments altogether,” he advises.

This echoes the sentiments of Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D. who told the Mayo Clinic, that while only a fraction of what you’re putting into your scalp will actually penetrate your skin, if you happen to have a cut, more chemicals may enter the body than desired. “Theoretically, your skin only absorbs a limited amount of hair dye and other hair grooming and styling products. However, if your skin is infected or irritated, or if there is a break in your skin, you may absorb more of the chemicals in hair dye than usual,” she explains. However, she does note that “research on the use of hair dye during pregnancy is limited.”

The Safest Option to Dye Your Hair While Pregnant

Though there is no concrete evidence that dyes can affect the fetus, Dr. Butler notes that if it’s something you’re concerned about, pump the breaks. “Given the lack of available evidence, you might consider postponing any chemical hair treatments until after you deliver,” she explains.

If you still want to dye your locks, keep chemicals concentrated to the hair follicle. “Avoid treatments that are placed directly on the scalp such as single-process color or keratin treatments,” says Andrew. “Highlights and lowlights are the safer options because the dye is placed on the shaft of the hair instead,” he offers.

Hair Treatments to Avoid and to Book

According to Andrew, off-limits treatments are anything that touches the scalp. This includes Brazilian blowouts/keratin treatments, full bleaching, single-process dye (whether perm or semi-perm), relaxers, and perms.

The takeaway is that any treatment that penetrates directly into your skin could potentially be toxic, whether it is inhaled or absorbed. If you’re going to take part in any of these treatments, according to AmericanPregancy.org, you should wait until your second trimester just to be safe. In all cases, make sure the treatment is performed in an area that’s well ventilated.

To take your chances of toxicity down to no way, extensions and weaves are the best (and most fun) way to cheat color. Otherwise, lowlights and highlights get Andrew’s full stamp of approval.

What the FDA Has to Say

If you do decide you simply can’t hold off, Dr. Butler explains that you should follow the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for safety when applying at home hair, which includes the following rules of thumb:

  • Follow package directions carefully
  • Wear gloves when applying hair dye
  • Leave the dye on your hair no longer than directed
  • Rinse your scalp thoroughly after using hair dye
  • Do a patch test
  • Look for non-toxic hair dye

The FDA passed a decision to stop the use of lead acetate as an additive in hair dye. The decision came as a response to scientific data proving that this lead acetate does in fact do harm. “In the nearly 40 years since lead acetate was initially approved as a color additive, our understanding of the hazards of lead exposure has evolved significantly. We now know that the approved use of lead acetate in adult hair dyes no longer meets our safety standards. Lead exposure can have serious adverse effects on human health, including for children who may be particularly vulnerable. Moreover, there are alternative color additives for hair coloring products that consumers can use that do not contain lead as an ingredient,” commented FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. Taking this message into consideration, it’s definitely worthwhile to know what’s going into your dye and opt for a safer formula—pregnant or not.

When it comes to dyeing your hair while pregnant, it’s safe to say it’s pretty much off the table. But what about getting a perm? Discover what the experts have to say HERE!



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