Is it safe to color hair after cancer?

Every day people are exposed to chemicals that are toxic to our system, and radiation that is connected to the risk of breast cancer. The beauty products we use on a daily basis expose us to that risk. The risk of becoming allergic or sick. Therefore, it is very close to our hearts at NATULIQUE to create cancer awareness in the salon industry, and avoid all of the toxic chemicals in our products.

A Topic Close to Our Hearts

Mette, one of the two founders of NATULIQUE, was 28 years old when the doctors found a lump in her breast. Mette and her family had always been living a healthy life. So she was in shock when she got the bad news. But how do we define what a healthy life is? Is it when you don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol? Is it when you exercise often, or when you eat healthy and organic? No one can define what a healthy life means to you – but we would like to tell you about what we at NATULIQUE think is very important to live a healthy life.

colouring hair post cancer

Hair Color and Cancer

Many people color their hair, but is it safe to color your hair after cancer?
You may have heard the rumors about a link between hair color and cancer. Let’s make it clear that there is no concrete proof that this is true. Studies have looked at the possible risk for cancer related to hair colors. Here, we will discuss what the research has shown, and how you can minimise your exposure to chemicals.

How Am I Exposed to Chemicals During Hair Coloring?

Hair colors containing ammonia will expose you to chemicals in different ways. Some chemicals in hair colors can be absorbed in small amounts through the skin. Some can be inhaled from the fumes in the air.

Hairdressers who work with hair color as a part of their job, are exposed to a higher amount of chemicals. The risks related to ammonia does therefore not only affect the clients, but especially the hairdressers touching and inhaling the hair colors all day every day.

You can read more about ammonia free hair color here.

Colouring hair post cancer

What Do the Studies Show?

Is coloring your hair after cancer safe? Is there such a thing as hair color for cancer patients?
Researchers who study hair color and cancer are looking for ingredients that are carcinogenic. This means that the ingredient causes cancer and helps cancer grow. Of course we would like to avoid this type of ingredients in our hair colors!

The toxic chemicals found in most hair dyes that should be avoided are:

  • PPD

  • Hydrogene Peroxide

  • Ammonia

  • Parabens

  • Resorcinol

  • Lead Acetate

  • DMDM Hydantoin

Most studies measure how, why and what happens when someone is exposed to chemicals and toxic ingredients like Carcinogen. But no study has yet provided enough evidence on its own. Studying hair colors is very complex, because not all hair colors are the same and they contain many different chemicals. Hair colors have also changed a lot over time, which does not make it easier to keep track as a researcher. Early hair colors (1970-1980s) contained far more chemicals than today. Luckily, the industry is removing more and more chemicals!

The Link Between Hair Color and Cancer

Is there a link between hair color and cancer? The studies show that there is potentially a link between some ingredients in hair color and the risk of cancer, but there is not enough evidence for a definitive conclusion. The studies on hair colors that can increase the risk of cancer have focused on specific types of cancer such as bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukaemia and breast cancer. The people who were studied are people who color their hair regularly, and people who are exposed to them at work.

But what happens when we cannot prove the direct link between hair color and cancer? The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is their major goal to identify causes of cancer. IARC has concluded that workplace exposure as a hairdresser is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” based on data form cancer studies about bladder cancer.

colouring hair post cancer
colouring hair post cancer

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is made up of different US government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NTP has not classified exposure to hair colors as potential to cause cancer.

So what does this mean – that two different experts say two different things? One argues for a link between hair color and cancer, and one does not…

Here at NATULIQUE we take no chances!

Therefore, we are proud to be both organic and chemical free. Being a green hairdresser minimizes the risk of developing allergies and other diseases. Read more about NATULIQUE and organic hair color here.

Coloring Hair After Cancer

As long as your hair and scalp are healthy, and you do an allergy test, there is no specific length required for using hair color. However, we at NATULIQUE recommend that you allow at least an inch of hair to grow before coloring it. This is so you can be sure that the hair is of good quality.

Also, NEVER color you hair during or after cancer treatment without explicit permission from your doctor!

Hair Color Allergy Test

Even though the NATULIQUE colors are made from natural ingredients and are 100% ammonia free, it is always a good idea to do a patch test to ensure that you are not allergic to it. Doing a patch allergy test is very easy.

Colouring hair post cancer

Techniques for Coloring Hair After Cancer

It can be difficult to color hair after cancer. As a hairdresser, there are several coloring techniques, but it can be hard to color very short hair. When coloring 1-2 inches, the easiest technique is all over color. This can be applied to almost any length of hair.

Applying highlights in short hair can be even more difficult, but if you use a tint brush or a fine tail comb, this should make the job easier.

If you want to do foils make sure that the hair is at least 1.5 inches otherwise this may be impossible.

What do you think?