Pregnancy tip #32 – Avoid hair colouring and straightening during pregnancy

There are studies that say that hair colouring and straightening during pregnancy can have an adverse effect on the fetus.

There is a host of precautions that you need to take during pregnancy and one of them is to go slow with parlour treatments. Most of the cosmetic products available in the markets are loaded with chemicals which can be harmful during pregnancy both for the mother as well as the baby. Fetal complications due to misuse or overuse of cosmetic products are a major concern during pregnancy, especially if you regularly use hair dyes to hide your greys. Here are some safe beauty treatments during pregnancy.

If you have taken a parlour appointment for hair straightening and forgot to mention that you are pregnant, cancel the appointment right away. We are not exaggerating here but there are studies that say that hair colouring and straightening during pregnancy can have an adverse effect on the fetus. Know if it is safe to go to a hair spa during pregnancy.

Exposure to hair dyes and straightening cosmetics (HDSC) during pregnancy can lead to early childhood leukaemia

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As scary as it might sound, this is true to a great extent. In fact, a study published in the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions in the year 2013, pointed out that a multicentre hospital-based case control study carried out in 13 states of Brazil from the year 1997 to 2007 did show a relation between maternal exposure to hair dye and hair straightening cosmetics with early age leukaemia.

Mothers of 176 ALL (acute lymphocytic leukaemia) and 55 AML (acute myeloid leukaemia) cases and 419 controls were enrolled and interviewed. The data collected was compiled on the basis of maternal exposure to HDSC during three months before pregnancy, during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. After taking into consideration other parameters and adjusting for hormonal intake during pregnancy, maternal age, education, birth weight, and the child skin colour it was seen that maternal exposure to HDSC during the first trimester increased the chances of suffering from ALL by 95 percent and exposure during breastfeeding led to chances of suffering from AML by the same percentage.

The study showed that maternal exposure to HDSC during pregnancy and breastfeeding could set up a stage for early age leukaemia in children below two years of age [1].

Using hair dye during pregnancy could lead to neuroblastoma

Another study published in the year 2005 in the journal Cancer Causes Control showed that using hair dyes could give rise to childhood cancer or neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in certain very early forms of nerve cells found in an embryo or fetus. The study also showed that use of any hair dye in the month before and/or during pregnancy was associated with a moderately increased risk of neuroblastoma. In fact, temporary hair dye use was more strongly associated with neuroblastoma than the use of permanent hair dye [2].

These studies make it clear that the chemicals in the hair products used to colour or straighten the hair don t offer safety to the fetus. While the cosmetic industry promises that the chemicals used in recent products are less potent and have minimal side-effects. We say, why to take chance. In fact, if you have planned a pregnancy, it is better you stop using such chemically loaded hair products to ensure your baby s safety.


[1]1: Couto AC, Ferreira JD, Rosa AC, Pombo-de-Oliveira MS, Koifman S; Brazilian Collaborative Study Group of Infant Acute Leukemia. Pregnancy, maternal exposure to hair dyes and hair straightening cosmetics, and early age leukemia. Chem Biol Interact. 2013 Sep 5;205(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2013.05.012. Epub 2013 Jun 6. PubMed PMID: 23747844.

[2] 1: McCall EE, Olshan AF, Daniels JL. Maternal hair dye use and risk of neuroblastoma in offspring. Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Aug;16(6):743-8. PubMed PMID: 16049813.

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