Using Hair Dye While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

woman having her hair dyed by professional stylistFor any woman, the decision to color your hair is a major commitment. Jumping in that pool usually translates to years of salon trips. It might become so routine that you have appointments scheduled just as regularly as trips to the dentist! But even a woman who has been dyeing her hair for years could find herself thinking twice about doing it once she's expecting.

The question remains a biggie: Is it safe to dye your hair while pregnant? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), hair dyes are probably safe to use during pregnancy, because so little dye is absorbed through the skin. However, it is still important to be cautious.

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"Most over-the-counter or vegetable-based dyes (like henna) are probably safe since there is minimal prolonged contact with the skin," explains Marcel M. Favetta, M.D., chairman of obstetrics and gynecology for Geisinger Northeast of the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. Highlights, during which the dye is enclosed in foil and won't be absorbed in the skin, and semi-permanent dyes are considered safer, as well.

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"However, we usually recommend avoiding harsh chemicals or permanent dyes, especially with prolonged skin contact," notes Favetta. While human studies have generally not shown any association with an increased risk of birth defects, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) cites concerns that breathing fumes -- especially those from permanent dyes, which contain ammonia -- during the dye process could be harmful to the developing baby. But the ACOG simply recommends that women steer clear of these sorts of dyes during the first trimester.

The bottom-line: Women who want to touch up a few grays or get their ombré on during pregnancy may want to research what options are best for them and their baby. "Most salons know which products are safer to use for pregnant women," Favetta says. "And always talk with your doctor and seek their specific advice."

Would you consider getting your hair dyed while pregnant? Or have you before?


Image via Corbis

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Health, Fitness & Nutrition pregnancy health

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