Reading time: 5 min.
Can Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss?

Hair dyes and bleaches are extremely popular hair styling products. People choose to dye their hair for all sorts of reasons — from hiding greys to giving themselves a new look. With hair dyeing horror stories all over the internet, it’s easy to dissuade yourself from using potentially damaging products.

In this article we will look at hair loss caused by hair dye and how you can minimise it.

Table of Contents

How does hair dye affect your hair?

Hair dye is designed to change the colour of the hair on a permanent, semi-permanent or temporary basis. It can be applied professionally at a hair salon or done at home with a hair dye kit from the supermarket.

Hair dye works by either coating your hair strands with colour (semi-permanent dyes) or by bonding with the hair at the cuticle and cortex level (permanent hair color dyes). Some stylists claim that hair dye can strengthen the hair by thickening it with additional coatings, but unfortunately, this isn’t true.

Can hair dye cause hair loss?

Yes — hair dye can cause hair loss and damage your hair. Unlike other causes of balding — like hair loss-related autoimmune conditions or androgenetic alopecia — hair dye doesn’t usually stop hair growing.

Instead, it damages the hair strands, causing the lengths of your hair to break off [1]. This hair breakage gives the appearance of thin, dry hair which may be mistaken for genuine hair loss.

However, at least one study has found that chemically active hair dyes can cause direct hair loss from the root [2]. So as well as compromising the condition of your hair, you may also put your hair growth at risk.

Most hair dye-related hair loss happens as a result of overuse or an adverse reaction. This particularly affects women, who are more likely to use hair dye than men. However, there are lots of potential causes of women’s hair loss, so getting a professional diagnosis and female hair loss treatment plan is the best option.

See how hair dye causes hair loss below.

Hair dye can irritate your scalp

Semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes usually contain chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals can be harmful in large quantities.

Whilst these chemicals are mostly safe in small doses, regular use is thought to irritate and damage the scalp. If you dye your hair so much that your scalp gets irritated and damaged, you may find that it is no longer capable of producing a healthy head of hair.

Certain products, like glycolic acid for hair, should also be avoided if your hair is already dry. That’s because it can further irritate and dry out your scalp. Learn more about semi-permanent hair dye and if it is damaging to your hair.

Regular bleaching isn’t good for your hair

The trendy bleach blonde look has resulted in many men and women going from having dark hair to extremely light blonde hair. The only way to achieve this look is with bleach.

Bleach uses peroxide to remove your natural hair pigment and replace it with a light white-blonde shade. If your hair is very dark, you may need to bleach it multiple times to achieve the look you want. This can be extremely damaging to your hair.

Bleach can change the structure of your hair completely, impacting the texture as well as the colour of your hair. It often makes hair dry and brittle and requires regular upkeep — so when you bleach your hair once, you’ll have to keep doing it until you decide to let your colour grow out.

How often should you use hair dye?

To maintain your new hair colour, you’ll need to use hair dye regularly. As new hair starts to grow through, you’ll find that you need to do a touch up to avoid discoloured roots.

Everyone’s hair is different. If your hair is healthy or you’re using a hair growth stimulant like Minoxidil, your hair may grow fairly quickly. That means you may want to dye your hair more often to prevent visible roots.

However, to keep your color-treated hair as healthy as possible, it’s recommended that you don’t dye or bleach your hair more than once every 6-8 weeks.

Allergic reactions to hair dye

Since hair dyes contain so many strong chemicals, there’s always a risk of allergic reactions. In extreme cases, this can lead to hair loss. If you are allergic to a hair dye, it may cause your scalp to itch, which can cause the hair follicles to shed hair prematurely.

If you want to dye your hair with a home kit, you should always do a patch test first. Test a little of the dye on the hair behind your ear. Leave it for 24 or 48 hours (depending on what the instructions say) to see if it causes any irritation. Salons and hair stylists should also insist that you do a patch test at least the first time they colour your hair.

The more you colour your hair, the greater the risk

Whilst some people are more genetically prone to hair loss than others, frequent use of hair dye is certainly a contributing factor. Before making any big decisions about changing your hair colour, it’s important to consider the possible effects it can have on your hair health in the long term.

Can you use hair dye after a hair transplant?

Yes — but you should be careful about how soon you colour your hair. Learn more about colouring your hair after a hair transplant.

Should you avoid hair dye altogether?

There are all sorts of reasons people want to dye their hair. Adding colour to your tresses is a perfectly valid choice — so we’ll never say never.

However, you should keep in mind that the chemicals aren’t good for your hair or your scalp. Hair dyes can cause the hair shaft to weaken, ultimately leading to hair breakage and hair shedding. Other treatments like toner may be less damaging to your hair than dye.

To minimize hair breakage and hair loss, we highly recommend that you avoid frequent use of hair dye and do everything you can to maintain a healthy scalp including embracing your natural hair colour and greying. Check out our expert tips for transitioning to grey hair with highlights.

Talk to a trichologist

Our experienced trichologists are always on hand to discuss hair loss, no matter what the cause is. If you’ve experienced hair loss as a result of a hair coloring process, book a consultation with our UK hair transplant clinic. We deal with all kinds of hair loss causes and restoration treatments, so we’re ready to help you get your hair back to perfect health.

Can Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss?, Wimpole Clinic

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

Book a consultation

Simply fill in your details in the form below and we'll get in touch with you shortly.