We recently had someone ask us if a reaction to hair dye could trigger hair shedding. The short answer is yes, hair dye products not only damage your hair and scalp, they can absorb into your bloodstream causing internal damage as well. With that said, we found it important to devote a post to this particular topic. In part, this is the question that was brought to us:

“My hair was doing just fine until I tried a new hair dye. As soon as I put it on my scalp, it burned. That same day, my hair started falling out. And it has continued to shed for the past 3 months. From the research that I have done, it appears to me that I might have shedding due to telogen effluvium. But everything that I read indicates that this condition is caused by internal changes in the body. The hair dye would be an external change. But I swear that there was nothing wrong with my hair or scalp before I colored my hair. Is it possible that the hair dye kicked off this massive shedding?”

A 2001 study concluded that allergic contact dermatitis should be included in possible causes of telogen effluvium, as the result of hair dye. In other words, the scientists felt that some of the women in the study had experienced hair loss that was caused by an allergic reaction to the hair coloring. (Remember that the woman in the above scenario felt a burning sensation as soon as the coloring chemicals came in contact with her scalp.)

The dermatologists that conducted the study suggested that, the inflammatory process from the allergic reaction might have triggered the shedding. Keep in mind, that many people suffering from hair loss also have a condition known as “burning scalp syndrome”, in which the scalp turns red or pink and becomes painful due to the inflammation that comes from those toxic chemicals found in the majority of shampoo and cosmetic products.

So, to answer the question posed, most specialists will deny that hair dye can kick off a long round of shedding (Often times they are the people pushing these products) even though it is clear that an allergic reaction to certain dyes can contribute to shedding and hair loss in some people. If you are seeing troubling hair loss, you should view it as obvious evidence that something is going on, and that you likely do have a trigger somewhere. You just have to find it. And, if you noticed the hair fall starting shortly after having a painful or bad experience with the color, then that makes perfect sense that it could be seen as a Telogen Effluvium trigger.

The next question is what you should do to avoid hair dye related telogen effluvium, especially if you would prefer not to stop using hair coloring agents altogether. Well, one option is to use less harsh hair dye products. There are currently products out today that are made for those with sensitive scalps and do not contain any ammonia (which can be an irritant for some people). Also, you may want to try coloring your hair less often. It may simply be that you are utilizing the chemicals on a regular basis and are exacerbating the shedding. In addition, try using a root brush to only touch up the hairs that need to be colored. This will allow for you to retain your color without irritating your entire scalp.

The good news is that telogen effluvium can be reversed once you correct the original trigger. For more information on the best way to accelerating the regrowth process and to slow down the shedding is by utilzing Nature Crazy’s top 5 tips tips for reversing telogen effluvium.