Can Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss? Your Guide to Safe Hair Treatments

When those gray roots start to show, you may be tempted to go for a home hair treatment and skip the salon. Gray coverage can be accomplished with hair coloring treatments, but at what cost? There have long been theories that hair dye is correlated with hair loss, but is this the case? Read on for an in-depth, professionally-reviewed answer to this question and guiding tips for safe hair treatments. 

Summary: Hair dyes don’t have to just interact with your hair in a damaging and drying way; there can also be some dyes that give some nourishing benefits to your hair. 

Table of Contents:

  • Will Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss?
  • The Hair Dyeing Process on Your Hair
  • Safe Hair Treatments
  • To Dye or Not to Dye?

Will Hair Dye Cause Hair Loss? 

Is there a direct connection between hair dye and loss of hair? Many people turn to hair dye for root touch ups and other methods to cover grays. However, what is the effect of hair dye on the hair? Dyeing hair too often can cause it to become more brittle and overprocessed. It’s also possible that you might lose elasticity and volume, as well as end up with choppy-looking hair. So will hair dye have a direct effect on you losing all of your hair if you dye it every once in a while? The answer is no, but continuous dyeing can affect your hair in the long run. 

The Hair Dyeing Process on Your Hair 

Permanent hair color can offer you coverage and a brand new hue, but at what price? Here’s a breakdown of the basic hair dye process and what it can do to your hair. 

Ammonia Opens Up your Cuticle

Hair dye has to cross a couple of barriers to dye your hair. The ammonia in hair dye causes the cuticle, which is your hair’s natural protection, to swell and lift up for the hair dye to access and provide color to the hair. 

Peroxide Does Away with Your Natural Hair Color

Peroxide, better known as bleach, is the activator that strips your hair of its natural color. It   interacts with the dominant protein that makes up hair fiber, keratin, and can cause damage. 

Permanent Color Pigment is Deposited

Have you ever wondered what makes permanent hair color permanent? Well, it opens up the hair cuticles to let dye into the hair so that it can deposit the permanent color. You’ll get to sport your new hair color for a long time, but it may be damaging since the chemicals used are stronger. 

Switching to Ammonia-Free

Can switching to ammonia-free hair dyes alter the effect on your hair at all? Ammonia-free color has another ingredient, monoethanolamine, that can cause about the same damage as hair dye containing ammonia when it comes to penetrating the hair’s cuticles. 

Safe Hair Treatments

So, you’ve discovered that hair dye may cause hair damage that inevitably leads to hair loss, and now, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. There are some safe hair treatments that can provide nourishment for your hair and make sure your hair coloring process is not stripping your hair of nutrients or causing short or long term damage. 

Safe Hair Treatments to Protect Natural Hair Color 

  • Hair color removal: If you’re still interested in using permanent or semi-permanent hair dye and want a safer method of removing natural hair color, go for a color remover (also known as a color eraser). This product reverses the oxidation of hair color molecules. It dries your hair out a bit, but it does not cause close to as much damage as bleach does. It’s important to note, this color eraser only works on your natural hair color—not dyed hair. 
  • Root touch-ups: Sometimes, a simple root touch-up is all you need; so you don’t have to go through the process of stripping your hair of color and dousing it with permanent and semi-permanent dyes. Look for a root-touch-up treatment that doesn’t take up a lot of time and won’t require constant maintenance.
  • Go for natural: Sometimes going all-natural is better. In this case, using natural ingredients on your hair can help boost hair color to your liking without hair dye. For example, vitamin C complex in water forms a paste that can help lighten hair color that’s gone dark. Although you can’t use this hack on too dark of hair, it can help lighten up your hair and even bring natural hair color to the surface (if this is what you want). 
  • If you must dye: If hair dye is something you must turn to for gray hairs or other coverage, go with a permanent hair dye with nourishing ingredients. There are some hair dyes out there with vegan formulas that are free of other damaging chemicals found in hair dyes. Also, look for hair dyes with ingredients such as vitamin E, avocado, olive, and shea oils. Hair dyes don’t have to just interact with your hair in a damaging and drying way; there can also be some dyes that give some nourishing benefits to your hair. 

To Dye or Not to Dye?

If you are looking for gray coverage or want to dye your hair, hair dye is the step to getting you to a new hue. Though there is evidence that hair dye can strip you of moisture and ultimately cause some damage, many home hair treatments can also provide key nutrients. It’s important not to settle for any hair dye, of course, as some are genuinely more harmful than others. 

If you are unsure about your skills in hair dyeing or have experienced hair loss from dyeing your hair, contact an expert. Hair Restoration expert Dr. Feinberg and his team can point you in the right direction for your unique hair needs. Book a consultation with a professional who’s been treating patients for over 30 years, so you can be confident that you’re taking a step in the right direction when it comes to safe and effective hair care.