May I Color My Hair?

Is it safe to color your hair during pregnancy? I have heard different things, such as you just cannot during the first trimester, you can use only nonpermanent color, use only semipermanent color, use any type of color and never use any type of color. Do you know which is correct?

--Annie

Question:

Annie, the reason you hear so many differing opinions is that there is no one right answer, and there never will be. This is not something that will ever be studied in pregnant human women. So common sense guides what we tell patients.

I try to be conservative in the first trimester when organogenesis, or organ development, is taking place. After the first trimester, many kinds of exposures pose much less of a risk. With hair coloring, there is minimal absorption of the chemicals through the hair follicles or scalp, so I generally think of it as safe, but I also recommend that women try to minimize either the number of treatments or the length of time of exposure to the chemicals.

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