Can You Dye Hair While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Helping nature realize the biggest wonder ever, you might be ready to suffer much discomfort, grown out roots and gray strands just one of them. But do you have to? Despite common myths, it can be safe to dye your hair while pregnant if you follow a few recommendations. After all, with so much change to your body and anxiety over giving birth to a child and nursing, keeping your hair fabulous is something you can cling to for confidence and self-love.

Read on to find out more about pregnancy and hair dyeing and precautions to be aware of.

Getting Hair Dyed When Pregnant: Is It Safe?

There is much discussion about whether pregnant women can dye their hair. The common logic – and overprotective grannies – would say that hair dye is a harsh chemical substance that can cause harm to a developing baby. Science does not back up such a claim.

Even though research on the topic is still limited, the available studies agree that dye absorption through the skin is negligible and cannot cause negative effects for a fetus. Also, since just a tiny amount of chemicals gets into the bloodstream, there are no chances that a harmful amount will pass on through your breast milk.

Another risk worth mentioning is breezing in the strong fumes of permanent dyes. Getting hair colored in well-ventilated places minimizes the risk of negative exposure. At the same time, take care to avoid breezing in harmful fumes when you don’t even color your hair! For example:

  • ask to schedule your salon visits when no hair dyeing procedures for other clients are planned;
  • when someone you live with dyes their hair at home, go for a walk and ask to ventilate the room before you return.

Pregnancy and Hair Dye: Rules to Follow

If you are still concerned about whether it is ok to dye your hair during pregnancy, follow these rules to reduce the risks further:

  1. Wait until the second trimester. The first trimester of pregnancy is the period of the most active development when all organs and systems of your baby form. This is also the period when the fetus is the most vulnerable. Thus, it is better to wait until you are four or five months pregnant before getting your hair dyed.
  2. Chose a safe hair dye for pregnancy. Choose a more gentle, ammonia-free hair color. This will most often mean choosing hair colors close to your natural one. A good option is to try an all-natural henna hair dye that doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and helps to restore the natural pH balance of your hair and scalp. Bleaching is not the best choice as peroxide is quite toxic. In case you still choose to be blonde when pregnant, avoid bleaching hair while pregnant first trimester.
  3. Consider balayage and highlights. Instead of coloring all of your head, consider getting balayage or highlights. In these procedures, the dye is applied to the strands and does not directly contact your scalp, so chemicals have no chance to enter your bloodstream. This is why balayage and highlighting are considered safe for pregnant women.
  4. Follow the directions. Make sure you dye your hair in a well-ventilated room and follow the directions on the package: patch test for allergic reactions, wear gloves, do not leave the dye on your hair longer than the directions say, rinse the dye off thoroughly using warm water and a gentle shampoo.

Other Considerations for Coloring Hair During Pregnancy

Although the risk for the baby is a primary concern when it comes to hair dyeing when pregnant, there are other aspects worth considering too. Note that there are many hair issues you can face during and after pregnancy, postpartum hair loss, dry hair, and itchy scalp among them.

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While hair dyes do not promote hair loss, they are widely known for causing dryness. This means that you risk exposing hair, which is dryer than usual, to the factor causing additional dryness. Now, imagine you are doing so in winter – the season where you normally have to fight increased hair dryness due to cold weather. All factors combined, you may end up with breakage in your hair, so the colored hair will not eventually look prettier.

Also, mind that hormonal changes affect the normal condition of your hair type, so that it may change the way it behaves, become coarser and frizzier, more or less absorbent, and generally unpredictable. Thus, getting your hair colored, do a patch test even with the hair dye you have been using for ages, and do not blame your stylist if the tone is lighter or darker than intended – your inner changes may be responsible for such a result.

A Pregnant Woman With Partial Balayage

Pexels / Dewey gallery

All in all, dyeing hair while pregnant is quite safe. You may further minimize the risks by ensuring proper ventilation, choosing more gentle dyes instead of bleaching, or going for balayage and highlighting.

Most importantly, feel relaxed when you dye your hair – anxiety and stress may cause much more harm during pregnancy than bits of chemicals potentially entering your bloodstream.

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