My wife has been abstaining from dying her hair during pregnancy. Now the baby is born, I suggested she could use the dye again. She said no.

A search online was inconclusive:

  • A pregnant woman at BabyCenter.com claims her doctor warned against in the first trimester of pregnancy only.
  • SmellyBrain claims doctors think it is safe during nursing.
  • A third page (Note: link missing) simply says there are no reports.

None of these cite any research.

Can anyone clear up this muddle?

  • After I tidied up your links, I found none of the them claimed it was dangerous during nursing. So, there doesn't appear to be any muddle? Did you find any others?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 4:09
  • Doesn't answer the question, but related: Hair dye use while pregnant is associated (correlation ≠ causation!) with pre-term birth, low birth weight and neuroblastoma.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 4:16
  • @Oddthinking - s there a distinction between hair dye methods? I'd imagine that whildly different chemical substances are in different dyes (Henna?)
    – user5341
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 18:01
  • Yes, maybe; one of the studies found a difference between temporary and permanent dyes and called for more research. I recall one dismissed hair curling as not associated. Of course, it may not be the dyes. It may be the conditioners used afterwards, or some unidentified correlation between the types of mothers who get their hair-dyed and who partake in some other risk taking.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


According to Pregnancy, maternal exposure to hair dyes and hair straightening cosmetics, and early age leukemia Chemico-Biological volume 205 5 September 2013, Pages 46–52:

For AML cases, an adjusted OR = 2.43, 95% C.I. 1.13–5.22 was observed among women reporting HDSC use during breastfeeding

AML = acute myeloid leukemia

OR = odds ratio

C.I. = confidence interval

HDSC = hair dyes and hair straightening cosmetics

So exposure to hair dye or straighter while breastfeeding more than doubled the risk of one type of leukemia according to this study.

  • doubled it for whom? The mother or the baby? How many people were in the study, and did they interview people and ask them what their parents did decades ago, or did they monitor current usage? How did they control for the kinds of people who do and don't dye their hair? I think you need to quote a lot more details from the study. Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:02
  • @KateGregory this is for the baby. 650 babies under age 2 with (231 with leukemia compared with 419 children with other problems at the same hospitals). The children are very young so it isn't a matter of decades. I linked to the study so people could get the full information.
    – DavePhD
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:10

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