Ammonia In Hair Dyes – How Unsafe Are They?

Are you someone who likes experimenting with her hair and trying out different colours for it? If yes, then you must be aware that most hair dyes contain ammonia, which is a pretty dangerous chemical for hair.

Before heading on to the consequences of Ammonia, we would like to share a word of advice with you all that you might want to slow down over there. As much as it looks and sounds fun, hair dyeing with ammonia is pretty harmful to natural hair.

What Is Ammonia?

Ammonia is an alkali that is used in the dyeing process to raise the pH of your hair. It aids in the opening of the cuticles (hair’s outer layer) so that dye or hair colour can be deposited on the cortex (the inner layer of your hair).

Ammonia, to put it simply, is a hair cuticle inflating agent. The greater the absorption of hair colour into the hair, the longer your hair dye will last.

Ammonia is a chemical that is found in pesticides, fertilizers, plastics, and explosives, so you can imagine the extent of harm it can cause to your hair.

How Does Ammonia Damage The Hair?

To put it in simple words, Tyrosine is a protein produced by our body that controls the formation of melanin (the pigment that determines hair and skin colour). When hair dye contains ammonia, the tyrosine in the hair is destroyed, and the hair’s natural capacity to “keep” colour is lost.

Signs Of Aging Hair And How To Treat It

Ammonia kills the sebaceous glands, which generate sebum, the natural moisturizer of the hair. It also destroys hair follicles, resulting in hair thinning over time. This is why, even after moisturizing, your hair becomes dry.

Because ammonia destroys the hair cuticle in order to deposit colour, it damages the cuticle, compromising the structural integrity of the hair. Beauticians and hair experts normally treat the hair to help close the cuticle temporarily, but this does not heal the cuticle or restore the structure of the hair.

So, the damage done is kind of permanent and there’s not much you can do about it.

More Repercussions Of Ammonia

  • Ammonia, when mixed with water, forms ammonium hydroxide, which is a pretty strong skin irritant. Ammonium Hydroxide can be damaging to the nose and eyes, causing skin burns and irritation.
  • When ammonia is used on the hair, it has the potential to enter the bloodstream via the scalp. Lung difficulties, sinus infections, throat infections, and eye infections can all be caused by the ammonia vapours that salon employees are exposed to.
  • Not only that, Ammonia can also be damaging to the environment. When it is washed into the ocean, it can harm agriculture and forests, as well as pose a threat to aquatic animals. Ammonia molecules are small and quickly evaporate. This evaporation produces a strong odor, which makes people living nearby super uncomfortable.
  • People with allergies need to be extra careful because ammonia can trigger a lot of allergies.
  • You know what, inhaling ammonia can also cause asthma, seriously compromising your lungs. On top of that, ammonia can also cause breathing problems for many people.

Do All Hair Dyes Contain Ammonia?

Now that we have talked so much about ammonia-based hair dyes, you must be thinking do all hair dyes contain ammonia? Well, the answer is no! It is pretty natural to think about alternative ways of dyeing hair so that you can have all the fun and not damage your hair too. Well, the good news is, you can totally do that.

Have We Been Washing Our Hair Wrong?

There are many ammonia-free hair dyes that are totally safe and do not cause much damage to hair, health, or the environment.

What Are Ammonia-Free Dyes?

First thing’s first, ammonia-free dyes are not natural, they just don’t contain Ammonia, that’s all. In the olden days, ammonia-based dyes were the only options available in the market, so people had to use them to colour their hair. Using ammonia-free hair dyes does not guarantee that your hair will stay healthy, but it will definitely minimize the damage.

Monoethanolamine (MEA), which contains alcohol, is used in ammonia-free hair colour. To make MEA less harmful, it is added at a lower concentration and in combination with emollient oils.

Ammonia-free hair dyes are called semi-permanent dyes. These dyes do not open up the cuticle in order to achieve long-term benefits. Instead, the dye is applied to the outer layer of your hair strands.

What Are The Advantages Of Ammonia-Free Dyes?

Even though ammonia-free dyes are not natural and contain alcohol, they are not as damaging to the hair. Here’s how they protect the hair:

  • They do not cause an itchy scalp and do not irritate the skin either.
  • They do not damage the hair cuticles, so the hair retains its strength.
  • They do not have pungent odors, so the nose and eyes remain safe.
  • They help retain the colour because ammonia-free dyes do not harm melanin.
  • Ammonia-free hair dyes let the hair remain shiny and soft.
  • As we mentioned before, ammonia-based hair dyes cause sinus problems in many people, so one of the perks of using ammonia-free hair dyes is that you will keep your nose and lungs safe from sinus issues. So, it is great if you switch to ammonia-free products.

Final Thoughts

Now that we have thoroughly discussed the ramifications of ammonia-based hair dyes and how their alternatives can be used to protect the hair, you must be happy to know that you can still have all the fun.

How Often to Wash Your Hair, According to Science

Let us tell you that you don’t have to give up your desire to tint your hair in your favourite colour. There are many ammonia-free, organic, and scalp-friendly hair colour and colour alternatives available. Ammonia-free colours can also be used to refresh your hair without making it brittle or fragile. Maintain a healthy hair care routine, visit hair spas on a regular basis, and use shampoos and conditioners for colour-treated hair. Before using hair dyes, ask your doctor if you have any scalp issues. Please do not take hasty steps, ALWAYS consult a professional.

Filed under: Makeup & Hair, Tips and Myths

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