Is it Safe to Colour or Perm My Hair During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women are cautious about colouring or perming hair during pregnancy. And rightly so, because friends and families often give a concerned look when an expectant mum shows up with new curls and colours at work or social gathering. However, is there any real reason to apply colour with caution? We find out from Dr Goh Shen Li and Dr Mark Tang, about using hair colours and chemicals.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy does make an expectant mummy look tired; given the physical change and the extra weight that she has to carry around as the months go by.

However, if the mummy is up to it, she can always visit her usual hair stylist to spot a new look or a hair colour or just a relaxing hair spa.

“The current research suggests that the use of hair dyes and hair products is safe during pregnancy,” said Dr Mark Tang, consultant dermatologist.

“In addition, only a little amount of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, and even far less into the bloodstream which can reach the foetus.

And there have been no studies to show that there is an increased risk to the foetus or increase in foetal anomalies in doing hair treatments during pregnancy,” added Dr Goh Shen Li, senior consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist.

However, if mummy is still concerned, always let the stylist know not to apply the chemicals directly on the scalp; leaving a few millimetres of hair untreated. Another point to note, hormonal changes can change hair type and texture.

Work with hair stylists on choices of colours and treatment to get the overall look.

Even though you can still continue to use hair products during pregnancy, remember to follow the usage instructions. “Stick to the recommended time needed to treat your hair and nothing longer,” Dr Goh advised.

“However if an expectant mummy is already allergic to hair products, then she must avoid these products all the time, even when pregnant!” said Dr Tang.

“Minimise any direct contact of the hair products with the skin, use only high-quality products from reputable companies and only the recommended amount of product,” he added. Some of the ingredients are indicated as organic or paraben-free. Dr Tang also cautioned about “hidden” chemicals even in products that claim to be “natural” or “organic”.

Both Dr Goh and Dr Tang shared this advice, and that is, if expectant mummies are still concerned, postpone any hair treatments till beyond the second trimester. While the hair treatment chemicals are not absorbed, there is already a lot going on during the first 12 weeks: mummies’ physical and physiological changes, adjustments to daily routines; and for the baby: Organs are taking shape, muscles, eyes, fingers and toes are developing. There is no need to add another anxiety during this stage.

“You can also consider having highlights put in your hair, rather than dyeing the whole head. This decreases any risk as the dye is only placed on strands of your hair and does not touch the scalp,” Dr Goh suggested.

Another alternative is pure vegetable dyes including henna, she added.

Dr Tang suggests limiting the number of hair treatments to once or twice throughout the pregnancy. “Consider hair treatment or colouring to limited areas, rather than the entire scalp,” he echoed.

A final word – Being pregnant does not mean you cannot have fabulous hair — just exercise a little caution and care.

Article contributed by Dr Goh Shen Li and Dr Mark Tang, accredited doctors of Mount Alvernia Hospital.

This article is taken from our My Alvernia Magazine Issue #29. Read the issue on our website or on Magzter.