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The limited evidence that's available suggests that it's safe to dye your hair during pregnancy.
According to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), which collects and provides information on potential reproductive risks:
- Studies looking at pregnant animals exposed to hair dye show no cause for alarm.
- There are no reports of hair dye causing changes in human pregnancies, despite the fact that many women have colored their hair during pregnancy.
- Very little hair dye chemical is actually absorbed into your system.
Still, hair dyes are chemical substances. (Even some "natural" dyes contain synthetic chemicals). Researchers continue to investigate whether any of these substances might be harmful to a developing baby.
If you decide to color your hair while pregnant, here are some precautions to take:
- Wait to color your hair until your second trimester, after the critical stages of your baby's organ development are complete.
- Instead of using an all-over hair color, consider a process like streaking, highlighting, painting, or frosting, in which the chemicals have little or no contact with your scalp. (Any hair-coloring agents absorbed into your system would come through your skin, not through the hair shaft.)
- If you choose to color your own hair, wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated space to minimize your exposure to the chemicals used in the coloring process.
- Don't leave the dye on any longer than necessary, and make sure your scalp is thoroughly rinsed at the end of the process.