Colouring hair while pregnant or breastfeeding

For many mums, mums to be and even dads there is always an important question when it comes to colouring hair and pregnancy. After all, we want to make sure our little ones are as safe they can be. The big question most of us ponder about:

Is it safe to dye hair while pregnant?

Colouring hair has been part of our life since the stone age. Our ancestors have used crushed berries to get a certain colour pigment in hair, but nowadays we want those berry colours to stay for a long period of time (we dare to say forever).

Colours have evolved quite a bit in comparison to the techniques used back in time. We have come up with multiple ingredients and some of them are not as fresh as a bunch of berries.

To do so we have resorted to chemicals. As with any chemical intervention we can question what process the chemicals have gone through and what result it has to our body, and more importantly to our precious little babies.

What do studies say about it?

Some studies are nuanced on the subject calling it safe but that more research on the matter is needed. Other studies contradict it, pointing that there is a small risk of malignant developments when using hair dye, but that still more research is needed.

Both camps debunk each other frequently. The inconclusiveness makes it hard for many to get an easy and firm answer. As with many things, it just depends on what works for you and what your tolerance for risk is.

Moreover, specific dangers do generally come in specific cases, in the form of allergies or if you have already a specific condition.

The PPD that reside in colours (like tints) can cause an allergic reaction. Long time exposure to PPDs can make you have an allergic reaction, even though you may have never had any issues with PPDs or a colouring line before. Allergic reactions, while pregnant, can cause problems for the baby.

Colour does get absorbed through the skin, but it is believed that the amount that it absorbed through the skin is not toxic enough to damage a baby. Or at least there have not been cases that have disproved that conclusively.

About the toxicity of the colours it is a bit less vague. A study from the seventies and eighties refer to laboratory test in which animals were exposed to the chemical composition of hair dyes with doses one hundred times higher than what we would use on ourselves. The results were that no significant changes were discovered in fetal development.

Though it is a fact that colouring products have changed since the seventies, we have not encountered a study on the matter that is more recent. It is believed though, that the chemicals used are both monitored by governmental instances as well as the companies that produce the chemicals and are considered safe.

Physicians echo what is found in the studies. Contacting a doctor will likely result in similar answers. Some will mention it is completely safe, others that you should wait the first trimester, while others will urge you to wait for the second trimester or even longer.

Although it may seem that it is safe to colour, we always urge you to contact your doctor for specific instructions on the matter.

Still in doubt, what can you do?

First things first, contact your doctor if you have questions about pregnancy and colouring hair. There are always irregularities you may not be aware of and our opinion should not change that.

When you are worried about allergic reactions that PPD’s can cause we would recommend doing a patch test. With a patch test you can check if you have a reaction to a colouring line.

There are, though, colouring lines that do not contain PPD’s or PTD’s like Organic Colour Systems No Limits. However, even then, we would recommend a patch test, just to be safe.

We also discourage colouring hair if you find yourself in the first trimester. Try to push it to the second trimester or later when possible. During the second trimester vital organs are developed in babies.

Are there any differences to my hair while pregnant?

There sure is! On top of cravings for yummies, your body is rushing with hormones. Those hormones can affect your physiology and by extension your hair.

Changes you may experience are that your hair grows faster or that it has become rather difficult to manage. You may notice your hair is different than before with a different structure and colour. This will also affect your colour recipe and might be the best reason why you should mention to your hairdresser that you are expecting.

If you are using colours at home, keep in mind that the results may vary to what you are used to.

Colouring options while pregnant

If you do not feel comfortable colouring your hair in the first trimester, second or even third trimester, what options do you have available to colour your hair?

The truth is that there are a few techniques that are considered safer. Instead of colouring your hair all over and having your skin coming into contact with hair dye, you may want to consider techniques like highlights, balayage or ombré.

In those cases, the colour is applied only on the hair shaft, instead of your scalp. This way the chemicals have no contact with your skin (your scalp). The reason why it is seen as safer is because hair colouring dyes are absorbed into your system through your skin, not through the hair shaft. So, highlights, lowlights, balayage or ombré are considered safe options.

In case you would like to have allover colour applied to you (i.e. a tint), you can also investigate alternative colouring brands. Some brands are more natural than others.

How about breastfeeding?

We have not found any studies containing information about breastfeeding and using colour.

The assumption is though, that the amount of chemicals that enter your blood stream from colouring your hair and what ends up in the breastmilk is minimal to non-existent.

Not sure yet?

Talk to a colour stylist at our salon by booking a free consultation with us.