Chemical Hair Treatments While Breastfeeding: Are They Safe for Nursing Mums?

by Jamie Koh
6 months ago

chemical hair treatment while breastfeeding

The question of whether chemical hair treatments are safe for pregnant mums has been deliberated for years.

Permanent hair dyes typically contain ammonia that pulls apart hair proteins for the dye to reach the hair shaft, hydrogen peroxide to bleach the hair and p-phenylenediamine, a colouring agent.

For rebonding and perming, ammonium thioglycolate is used to break down the bonds in your hair. After which, an oxidation compound containing hydrogen peroxide is used to reconstitute the bonds to strengthen it again. 

Safety of Chemical hair treatments while breastfeeding

Though ammonia and hydrogen peroxide from hair products can be absorbed by your body when you inhale the fumes or when the hair dye is massaged into your scalp, the dose of chemicals is not high enough to cause harm through exposure. According to The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, as very little chemicals leach into the bloodstream, it is unlikely that breastmilk will be affected, and you can safely continue latching.

However, these chemicals may cause side effects to those who are allergic to it, ranging from a stinging or burning sensation, itching or swelling and blisters. However, studies have shown that absorption of the chemicals in hair products into the body is limited and is unlikely to cause harm.

If you are thinking about getting chemical hair treatments while breastfeeding, go ahead and get your postpartum rebonding or hair dyed! Yvette, a mum of 2, reckons, “I slot in hair treatments whenever I have a free day, and I’m still nursing my kids. They’re still healthy and kicking!”.  

Read also: 10 Foods Mums Should Avoid When Breastfeeding

Care Tips for Chemical Hair Treatment while Breastfeeding

1. Choose ammonia-free hair dyes

 If you are worried about a reaction to ammonia, choose a salon that provides ammonia-free hair dyes. Other options include vegetable dyes or henna hair dyes which are not permanent. 

2. Wait two hours before breastfeeding your baby

There are limited studies on the safety of hair dyes while breastfeeding, but the chemicals that enter the bloodstream from the scalp are low and are unlikely to affect breastmilk. Nevertheless, if you prefer to be extra cautious, you can wait two hours before nursing, which is the guideline for nursing after alcohol consumption

3. Consider highlighting your hair instead

To reduce chemical exposure, you may want to highlight your hair instead of dying it. Highlighting is done by dying strands of hair instead of all the hair on the head.

Read also: Eyebrow Embroidery: Here’s What You Need to Know

In conclusion, despite the limited studies, it is generally safe to go for hair treatments as usual, as the amount of chemicals used is low and there is only a low possibility that the chemicals will enter the bloodstream and make its way into breastmilk.