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How to buy the best hair dye?


Gone are the days when coloring your hair was merely about concealing grays; today, it's a means of making a fashion statement. However, as a medical professional, I witness the repercussions of excessive chemical treatments on hair health, often resulting in significant damage by the time individuals reach their 30s and 40s.

 Do you find yourself tempted to switch up your hair color every season? Let me guide you through the process.

Amidst the plethora of options available, selecting the perfect hair color can indeed be overwhelming. Many people focus solely on finding the right shade without considering its impact on scalp health. While experimenting with different hues can be exciting, it's vital to prioritize the health of your hair and scalp.


When contemplating hair color, it's crucial to be mindful of the ingredients in commercially available products. While the allure of vibrant auburns, ochres, and mahoganies is undeniable, it's essential to acknowledge that certain chemicals may trigger allergic reactions, leading to itching, dryness, and flaky skin—particularly for those with sensitive scalps.


So, before delving into the realm of hair color selection, consider these key factors to ensure a choice that not only enhances your appearance but also maintains the health of your hair and scalp.


Read the label:

Before purchasing hair dye, it's paramount to meticulously read the label. Opt for products that boast formulations free from parabens, ammonia, peroxides, and sulfates. These chemicals, notorious for their harshness, have the potential to irritate the scalp, trigger allergic reactions, and even contribute to hair diseases such as severe allergies, asthma exacerbations, and autoimmune disorders like Lichen Planopilaris (LPP). By prioritizing products without these harmful additives, you not only safeguard your scalp's health but also reduce the risk of adverse reactions and long-term complications.


Do a patch test:

Even if you've carefully selected a hair color with the most suitable ingredients for your scalp, conducting a patch test remains crucial. Prior to applying the color to your hair, administer a small amount onto your skin and allow 24-48 hours for observation. If any signs of allergic reaction such as itching, redness, or swelling manifest during this period, refrain from using the hair dye altogether. This simple precautionary measure can help prevent potential discomfort, adverse reactions, and ensure a safer hair coloring experience


The ingredients that should be avoided:


It's crucial to be aware of the ingredients to avoid when choosing a hair color, as certain compounds can lead to skin irritation and potentially serious health issues. While some products, like instant color shampoos, may promise fast results, they often contain harmful ingredients such as PPD, hydrogen peroxide, and resorcinol, posing risks to your hair, scalp, and skin.


Here are some key ingredients to watch out for:


1. Ammonia: Known for its strong odor, ammonia helps hair color penetrate the hair cuticle but can lead to dry, damaged hair and respiratory discomfort with prolonged exposure.


2. PPD (Paraphenylenediamine): Used to remove existing pigment from hair, PPD is a recognized carcinogen associated with allergic reactions and serious health issues like rhabdomyolysis and respiratory failure.


3. Peroxide (Hydrogen Peroxide): Despite being considered gentler, peroxide can cause long-term damage to the hair cuticle, resulting in frizz, split ends, and breakage.


4. PTD: This chemical, absorbed through the skin during the coloring process, poses risks to both individuals getting their hair colored and hairdressers, potentially leading to allergies.


5. Quaternium-15: A preservative emitting formaldehyde, quaternium-15 can cause contact dermatitis and allergic reactions.


6. Resorcinol: Classified as hazardous, resorcinol can cause skin redness, respiratory discomfort, and hormonal disruptions, impacting thyroid function and the central nervous system.


7. SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate): This cleansing agent, found in many hair color products, can strip natural oils from the hair, leaving it fragile and prone to breakage while causing skin inflammation.


By scrutinizing product labels and avoiding these harmful ingredients, you can prioritize your scalp and overall health while achieving your desired hair color.


The ingredients that one should look for


When it comes to coloring your hair, natural and organic treatments can be a game-changer. By opting for hair dyes containing natural ingredients, you can minimize the risk of irritation and ensure gentler care for your scalp. Rather than subjecting your hair to a range of cosmetic hair colors filled with harsh chemicals, consider switching to organic alternatives that not only conceal gray hairs but also provide nourishment to your hair.


As a dermatologist, I recommend certain brands that offer a wide array of shades, are fragrance-free, and utilize advanced technologies such as ammonia-free permanent solutions, like the groundbreaking ODS2 oil-based system. These brands are revolutionizing the hair color industry by prioritizing scalp health and minimizing damage.


Furthermore, there are other brands on the market that boast organic compositions, being entirely natural, cost-effective, and less damaging to your hair. Loaded with ingredients like Indigo, Henna, Manjistha, Coffee, Brahmi, Kattha, Amla, and Bhangra, these products deliver desired hair color without compromising the hair's cuticle integrity. By harnessing the power of nature's bounty, you can achieve vibrant hair color while nurturing your hair from root to tip.


Post hair-care treatment


If you experience scalp irritation post-coloring or struggle with conditions like dermatitis or dandruff, a simple home remedy can offer relief. Mix 1 teaspoon of cetrimide solution with 5 teaspoons of water in a bowl and apply it to your scalp for 30 minutes to an hour before shampooing. Additionally, incorporate curd into your aftercare routine on the day of coloring and in the following days to mitigate irritation.


Selecting the appropriate hair dye for your scalp is crucial to avoid adverse reactions. Following these guidelines will aid you in finding a suitable hair dye that achieves your desired color without negative side effects. However, it's important to recognize that frequent chemical treatments, including coloring and heat styling, can weaken hair strength and contribute to hair loss. Therefore, it's advisable to be selective with hair coloring, reserving it primarily for gray coverage and limiting it to once every five years or less. By prioritizing scalp health and adopting a mindful approach to hair coloring, you can maintain vibrant locks without compromising overall hair health.


Dr. DEEPALI BHARDWAJ, MBBS, MD (USA, IM), DVDL, M.Phil (Cosmetology)

Allergy Fellowship Munich, Germany; Cosmetic surgeries, Iran

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi