dyed hair woman in salon, can hair dye cause hair loss?
Written by
Morgan German
Medically approved by
Mariyam Fatima M.B.B.S.

Did your hair dye cause your hair loss? Love for our locks goes beyond simple haircare routines. In fact, we can be so obsessed with our hair that we subject it to different styles and treatments to make a statement.

Some love tying their strands and try different hairdos with all sorts of accessories – braids, ponytails, pigtails. These include extreme styles like cornrows, dreadlocks, too.

Others like you (we assume because you are reading this) explore different, creative ways to express themselves via hair dyeing. Some stick to natural hair colors and others go for a bit more extreme with eye-catching hues.

But if you are experiencing more hair shedding than usual after dyeing, then it is best to take a step back from your next color session and read this.

EDITOR'S PICK:

Courtesy of Sylvia Jade

Hair dye and hair loss

To understand how these two are interrelated, let us break them down for a second.

First, your hair structure has three layers: the outer layer (cuticle), middle layer (cortex), and the inner layer (medulla). The outer layer functions as the protective layer. The cortex is responsible for providing moisture and texture, while the medulla is the innermost layer (which could be absent in those with light hair).

Second, there are two types of hair dyes: semi-permanent (or temporary if you prefer) and permanent. The former are ones that give your hair natural color and last around 4 to 6 weeks. They do not lighten your shade and do not contain bleaching agents.

Meanwhile, permanent dyes use ammonia and hydrogen peroxide to “lift” your natural hair color. These ingredients cause major issues on your hair shaft because they damage the keratin structure in your cuticles.

Basically, the ammonia opens the cuticle to allow the dyes and peroxide to get inside to create your desired hair color. The result: more porous, weaker hair susceptible to breakage.

By reading this, you can tell that those who go for permanent dyes take a harder hit. Does this mean that those who use semi-permanent dyes are damage-free? Read on.

asian woman with dyed hair looking at camera

 

Does hair dye cause hair loss?

While coloring your hair does not necessarily disrupt the natural process of hair growth, it can cause hair loss due to the damage on your strands. This is because the hairs that have yet to emerge on your scalp do not directly contact the chemicals.

But the strands that are treated with the hair dye are affected in a few ways. The dyeing procedure involves a lot of rubbing and combing, and this can loosen the hairs and cause shedding. Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide do this, too, and weaken your hair shafts, leading to increased breakage.

Those of you who use dyes that lighten your hair’s natural color are at the most risk of breakage and hair loss. This is because these dyes contain high volumes of peroxide.

The brunette-turned-blonde will notice shortened locks or less need for a haircut as the breakage and cuticle disruption happens at the distal ends of the hair shaft (a.k.a. weathering).

While those who have hairs that have gone from very dark to exceptionally light experience breakage all the way to the scalp to the point of alopecia. It is temporary though until new hair growth occurs.

The time it takes for the hair to grow back varies from person to person. On average, people who have suffered hair loss may see fuller, thicker locks once more after 6 to 9 months.

However, it is possible to suffer from permanent loss and damage if you consistently attack your hair with coloring and heavy bleaching.

So, what can you do to keep your strands in place?

a woman with dyed hair mickey mouse hairstyle

 

What can you do to fix it?

Take a break from dyeing. A color hiatus of a month or so (the longer, the better), will give your hair and scalp their much-needed breather. It will also help you determine if hair dyeing is indeed the cause of your hair loss.

If you can't - we totally get it if you do jump back into coloring your hair (after all, YOLO). So when you do, try seeking other methods of hair coloring. Semi-permanent color, highlighting, and Balayage techniques are less harmful to your strands. You might want to check in with your colorist for these options.

If you decide to color your hair on your own, look for natural, organic hair dyes that do not contain harmful ingredients like ammonia or peroxide. These should cause less breakage and damage to the hair shaft and follicles.

Yes, they still cause damage to your hair. Do not be fooled. And always do a patch test first, especially when trying a new product for the first time (also applicable to salon treatments).

And lastly, it always helps to support the natural process of your hair growth while keeping your current strands strong and healthy enough to resist the damage.

You can do plenty of ways to protect your hair, such as getting your nutrients in, resisting all other heat and chemical treatments, avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, and using the right hair products.

a woman after shower reading a magazine with scandinavian biolabs

 

In a nutshell

Keep in mind that any chemical treatment done to your locks will damage them, and sustained damage can lead to hair breakage and hair loss. It is crucial to keep such unnatural treatments to a minimum or avoided them altogether if you can help it.

But if you cannot, make sure you are doing all you can in other ways to nourish your strands. Diet and lifestyle always go a long way to keep your hair where it should be. And go the extra mile with all-natural, vegan hair products you can count on. When you make us part of your hair care routine, you can expect great hair AND color! It is a definite win-win!