Dr. Chew Answers: Hair treatment during pregnancy

Coloring hair is a concern many women have while pregnant. Hair treatments can be divided into temporary, semi permanent and permanent dyes. The last two categories have received the most attention as they include a variety of chemicals.

Coloring hair while pregnant

There is not enough information to state with certainty that using hair dyes during pregnancy is completely safe as there are no extensive human studies available. It is probably safe after the first trimester. Only a small amount of hair dye is absorbed through the skin after application, and the dye is excreted into the urine. This small amount is thought to be harmless for the baby. Many women have dyed their hair during pregnancy with no known reports of abnormal babies.

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The Organization of Teratology Information Services, which studies substances that can cause birth defects, states, “In animal studies, at doses 100 times higher than what would normally be used in human application, no significant changes were seen in fetal development.”

Coloring hair during breastfeeding

There is no information on having hair treatments during breastfeeding. It is highly unlikely that a significant amount of dye would enter the breast milk as very little enters the mother’s blood. Many women receive hair treatments while breastfeeding, and there are no known reports of negative outcomes.

Coloring hair at home

If coloring at home, apply the dyes using gloves in a well-ventilated room, and do not leave solutions on for excessive periods of time. A safer option would be to avoid hair dyeing in the first trimester or to highlight instead of full color.

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It is important for women to feel good about themselves during pregnancy. Whether coloring your hair will make you feel good or cause you to worry unnecessarily for nine months is something to think about. The Food and Drug Administration of America recommends that until conclusive evidence is available, pregnant women may want to proceed with caution in using hair dyes.

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