Do you dye? 8 ingredients to avoid at all costs

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Recent studies indicate that there is a relationship between coloring your hair with conventional products and an increased risk of cancer. We tell you what vegetable alternatives you have within reach to avoid it.

One in three women over 18 and 2 out of three over 45 turn to hair dye to cover gray hair or change its natural color. One in 10 men also uses a product. And they all do it with confidence, without thinking about the consequences for their health.

HAIR DYES INCREASE THE RISK OF CANCER

Several recent studies link conventional dyes to breast cancer.

Research led by Kefah Mokbel, professor and chief surgeon at Princess Grace Hospital in London, concludes that dyeing more than six times a year is associated with a 14% increased risk of developing breast cancer.

In women with black skin, this risk exceeds 50% and reaches up to 74% in the case of cancers with positive estrogen receptors, according to a study by Rutgers University. In this, hair straightening products also showed a carcinogenic relationship.

A third study, a review by researcher Sanna Heikkinen, from the University of Helsinki, estimates that dyeing hair increases the risk of developing the disease by an average of 23%.

For Dr. Adana Llanos, an epidemiologist at Rutgers University, the relationship between dyes and cancer most likely responds to the presence of ingredients with estrogenic effects, such as phthalates, parabens, perfumes and other chemicals with hormonal action.

COMPOSITION HAS IMPROVED, BUT NOT ENOUGH

The composition of synthetic dyes has improved since the 70s, when the presence of different carcinogens was reported in them, but they are still far from being completely safe.

Manufacturers have been substituting ingredients that had the most evidence against them, and in 2006 the European Union banned 22 chemical compounds that had been linked to bladder cancer, leukemia and various types of lymphoma.

However, a study published in 2014 in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, has found that hairdressing employees continue to be exposed to toluidine, an aromatic amine that is a probable carcinogen and is still used in the manufacture of pigments despite be prohibited.

These substances are found in greater amounts in darker colored dyes.

Therefore, current dyes may contain hormonal compounds, aromatic amines and some other suspect ingredients.

THE INGREDIENTS THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID AT ALL COSTS IN YOUR DYE

Many people who want to reduce risk look to dyes “without ammonia” because this substance, which is used to fix the new color, dries the hair, is irritating and smelly.

But this is not enough. More than 5,000 different chemicals are used in the composition of today’s dyes, even those “without ammonia”.

Too many of these substances are aggressive to the skin, allergenic and carcinogenic in animals. Let’s see some of them:

1. PARAPHENYLENEDIAMINE (PPD OR PARA-PHENYLENEDIAMINE)

It is found in greater amounts in darker colored dyes and there are studies that associate it with irritation, allergic reactions and cancer.

Dyes containing PPD are required to declare on the packaging that “may cause an allergic reaction”, “contains diaminobenzenes” and “do not use to dye eyebrows and eyelashes”. The same warnings should appear if the dye contains similar substances such as methyl phenylenediamines and diaminotoluenes.

Professor Kefah Mokbel links PPD with hormone-dependent cancers. And experts at the environmental organization Environmental Working Group, which maintains a database on cosmetic ingredients, rate their health risk as moderate to high.

Look for it in the ingredient list, because it is not difficult to find in products that are presented as “natural.” It can appear with the following names:

·         p-phenylenediamine

·         1,4-benzenediamine

·         1,4-phenylenediamine

·         CI 76060

·         oxidation base 10

·         p-aminoaniline

·         p-diaminobenzene

·         1,4-diaminobenzene

·         4-aminoaniline

2. AMMONIATED MERCURY

It is often found in “PPD-free” products, but it is not entirely safe as it is associated with allergic reactions. It is used to discolor and enhance the color.

3. AMMONIA OR AMMONIUM HYDROXIDE (AMMONIUM HYDROXIDE)

It is responsible for the bad smell of dyes. It irritates the respiratory tract and is very aggressive with the skin.

In conventional dyes that are declared “without ammonia” it is very likely that it will be replaced by a similar reagent such as ethanolamine, which is odorless but not much safer.

It is especially concerning for hair salon employees.

4. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

It is not toxic, but it can irritate the skin and lungs. It is used to remove natural color and facilitate pigment fixation.

5. NONYLPHENOL OR OCTYLPHENOL (NONYLPHENOL OR OCTYLPHENOL)

Studies suggest that they are endocrine disruptors that accumulate in body fat.

They especially affect men, because they reduce the production and quality of sperm.

6. PARABENS AND PHATHALATES (PARFUM)

They are also endocrine disruptors. Some parabens are linked to breast cancer, although the causal association has not yet been established.

7. RESORCINOL

It is a very aggressive substance with the skin and an endocrine disruptor that alters the thyroid and adrenal glands. It can affect the nervous and immune systems.

Its function is to react with a bleach (generally hydrogen peroxide) to promote color fixation in the hair.

When it is present in the composition of the dye, the law requires the following warnings: “contains resorcinol”, “rinse hair well after application”, “do not use to dye eyelashes or eyebrows”, “rinse eyes immediately when the product comes into contact with them. “

In the list of ingredients, you can find it under different names:

·         1,3-benzenediol

·         3-hydroxyphenol

·         CI developer 4

·         m-dihydroxy benzene

·         1,3-dihydroxybenzene

·         m-hydroquinone

·         m-phenylene diol

·         oxidation base 31

·         resorption

8. FORMALDEHYDE

It is an irritant, allergenic and, in certain circumstances, carcinogenic preservative compound, which is not found as such in the list of ingredients, but can also be released by some of them, such as quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, imidazolidine urea, diazolidine urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate; and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromol).

NATURAL AND SAFE ALTERNATIVES TO DYE YOUR HAIR

Fortunately, there are alternatives to synthetic dyes. But to discover them, you have to avoid brands that use the words “natural”, “organic” or “without ammonia” as a claim, which do not prevent harmful ingredients from being found in their composition.

It is advisable to be careful even with products whose main ingredient is henna, the plant that has traditionally been used to dye hair, as they may contain synthetic and harmful additives such as PPD or lead acetate, which is prohibited in the European Union.

IN THE BEAUTY SALON OR AT HOME

You can dye with pure henna at home, but if you want to go beyond the reddish tones, today there are beauty salons where dyes of a variety of colors are professionally applied based on plants, clays and vegetable oils that offer maximum coverage and duration (up to 6 months).

Natural dyes use staining plants such as henna, cassia, Indian gooseberry (amla), indigo, hibiscus, turmeric, saffron, beet, walnut shells, sea buckthorn or coffee, among many. Of course, the hair is not discolored, but is covered with pigments that do not alter its structure.

As conditioners they turn to coconut oil, wheat proteins or jojoba, for example. All these natural ingredients are not only not dangerous, but they nourish and protect the hair.

The only limitation is that you cannot get a shade lighter than your natural hair. The brands Maturement or Secretes de ague offer this type of product for professionals.

WITH NATURAL OR ORGANIC CERTIFICATION

There are also natural powder or cream dyes to apply at home. It is necessary to always read the list of ingredients or, better still, look on the container for the seal of a recognized certifier (Cosmos, BDIH, Natrue, Ecocert, ICEA).

Manufacturers committed to health and the environment provide rigorous and clear information on the components they use.

OUR SELECTION OF RECOMMENDED NATURAL DYES

Here is a selection of six safe dyes for your hair and your health that you can easily find in natural cosmetics stores or organic supermarkets to apply at home:

1. INTENSE BLACK HENNA POWDER (LOGONA)

It is used to darken the hair and cover the gray. It can be mixed with other colors to improve and personalize the result.

Ingredients: Indigofera tinctoria (indigo) leaf powder, Lawsonia Inermis leaf extract (henna), Acacia cincinnal fruit powder and Embolic Officinalis Fruit Powder.

2. RED WINE COLORING CREAM (LOGONA)

The product is ready to be applied to the hair.

This color is recommended for blonde and medium brown hair and achieves good coverage thanks to the green clay. With the application time (from 30 to 120 minutes), different degrees of intensity in the color can be achieved.

Ingredients: water, alcohol, glycerin, bentonite, Chamomilla ricotta, xanthan gum, Rheum undulate, coconut glucoside, alginate, Lawsonia inermis, citric acid, maltodextrin, essential oil, linalool, limonene.

3. 100% HERBA (KHADI) LIGHT BLONDE VEGETABLE DYE

To apply on gray hair and give them a touch of blonde to copper. Strengthens the roots, adds volume and shine to the hair.

The presentation is in powder form and, with hot water, it is prepared as a paste.

Ingredients: powders and extracts of 16 plants.

4. BOTANEA (L’OREAL)

The multinational L’Oréal has launched this 100% vegetable product this spring. It is distributed in beauty salons for application by professionals who must mix the three plants in different proportions to achieve the desired tone.

Ingredients: henna, indigo and cassia powders.

5. VEGETABLE COLORING (SANTÉ)

Santa vegetable dyes are available in 9 colors that can be mixed with each other, they are easy to apply and their creamy texture prevents them from dripping when applied.

Ingredients: hydrolyzed wheat protein, alginate, henna, cassia, walnut shells, indigo, rhubarb root, ratafia, coffee, turmeric and beets.

6. PURE AMLA POWDER (PHITOFILOS)

The Indian gooseberry (amla or Phyllanthus embolic) has been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Indian medicine (Ayurveda) as a hair and skin protector.

By itself it has no effect on color but, combined with henna, indigo or cassia, it lengthens the duration of hair pigmentation.

 

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