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Hair Damage from Coloring

If you regularly color your hair, you're surely not new to the problem of hair damage. This chemical procedure changes the quality of the hair and damages it in the long run.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Hair coloring is the most common grooming treatment that people opt for, while getting a quick makeover. Nothing changes your look like how a new hair color does. It's a cheap procedure and can be performed within the confines of your home. But, coloring your hair, damages it permanently and it takes a long time for it to regain its natural health. Let us take a look at the side effects of coloring you hair.

Types of Hair Color

Hair colors are usually classified as permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary.
  • Permanent hair color is the most long-lasting, but your hair needs a touch-up when new hair grows. It brings about the oxidation of sulfur in the hair by penetrating the hair shaft. This chemical process renders a new color.
  • Semi-permanent hair color is formulated to last for up to 15-20 washes, depending upon your natural hair color, as different colors will determine this.
  • Temporary hair color deposits color pigments only on the hair cuticle and wears off after about 6-10 washes.
Needless to say, the chemicals in any form of hair color, alters the quality of the hair. Any treatment that interferes with the natural composition of any body part, is undesirable, and reveals side effects in the long run.

Hair color penetrates the hair shaft through the cuticle, which is the outermost layer of hair. Hydrogen peroxide, that is present in most hair dyes, opens the cuticle to let color pigments enter the shaft, bringing about a chemical reaction. However, an opened cuticle means that there will be a liberal loss of moisture, causing the hair to become dry.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is a very common side effect of coloring. Almost everyone who colors their hair regularly, experiences significant hair loss. They may find their hair frizzy, coarse, or thin.
A simple test will help you to assess the amount of damage your hair has undergone. Pluck a single strand of hair from your scalp, and drop it in a bowl of water. If the strand floats, your hair is healthy; if it sinks to the bottom, then your hair is colossally damaged.
This is usually the result of frequent chemical hair treatments like coloring, perming, or straightening. Hot ironing, blow drying, or using hot rollers, can further deteriorate weakened hair.

Hair loss or breakage from coloring is more prominent in older people. This is because as a person ages, hair strands shrink in diameter, causing it to become thinner.
The damage is even more noticeable on thin hair. As the rate of hair growth is slower in older people, the damaged hair stays there for a longer time. Sun exposure, salt/chlorinated water, and dry weather, can further deteriorate the hair. Here are some tips that can help you prevent hair damage:
• Conditioning and moisturizing your hair on a regular basis, helps it maintain its quality.
• Always make use of good quality hair care products. Using organic hair color may alleviate the damage caused by harsh chemicals. Hair colors which seal the cuticle are better, as they preserve the hair's natural moisture.
• Avoid undergoing multiple hair treatments such as coloring, straightening, perming, etc. Wait for at least 6-8 weeks between two chemical treatments.
• If you experience hair loss, hair breakage, or if the skin of your scalp gets irritated after coloring, consult a trichologist at the earliest.