Studies show that almost 80% of women ages 18 to 25 and 40% of men ages 22-40 in the US have been using hair dye to colour their hair. Following this research, rumours have been circulating in countries like the US that hair dye can cause breast cancer.
There are two types of hair dye: permanent and semi-permanent. Permanent hair dye entails the mixing of two components. One of which is a hydrogen peroxide solution, and the other is an ammonia solution of dye intermediates and pre-formed dyes, also known as couplers. Both chemicals react to each other to form pigment molecules. The darker the colour of the hair dye the higher the concentration of intermediates needed. While temporary or semi-permanent dye contains minimal chemicals and are non-oxidative, they include coloured compounds that directly stain the hair.
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In the early years of hair colouring, hair dye contained chemicals that were proven to cause cancer in animals. However, hair dyes today have been filtered and harmful substances have been replaced. While formulas have changed over time, the issues of hair dye and the impact on our health is still relevant. Many people feel uncertain of the safety of the chemicals today and whether or not these still pose risks of breast cancer in women. Further inquiry on this issue is still ongoing.