Dyeing for a Change – Is Hair Colouring safe in Pregnancy?

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Kourtney Kardashian just wanted to lighten up her locks a shade, for the first time in over 10 years. But the expectant reality star was criticized for endangering her unborn baby girl as preggies are traditionally urged to stop colouring their tresses.

Kardashian defended her dye job in mid-March in her blog. “I did research about doing anything to the colour of my hair while pregnant and followed all of the guidelines from my doctor and took the proper precautions necessary,” she said in her blog. “Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I take caution in all the products I use all the time, but especially when pregnant.”

In fact, the 32-year-old mum-to-be only highlighted her hair and avoided her roots so the colour didn’t touch her scalp. “I also used products that did not contain any ammonia,” she wrote.

Questions related to hair treatments during pregnancy are common. To find out more about the expert opinions on this common beauty fix, we spoke to the lovely Dr Claudine Tan, Obsterician and Gynaecologist from the SBCC Women’s Clinic.

While limited formal research done specifically on the safety of hair treatment chemicals during pregnancy, it’s unlikely that enough of the chemicals are absorbed by the skin to prove harmful to the child, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

“Many specialists would err on the side of caution and recommend the use only after the first 3 months of pregnancy,” advised Dr Tan.

“However, there is some concern about ammonia found in permanent dyes, as inhalation of the fumes can be possibly harmful to the baby. Hence, the American college of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists recommend the use of ammonia-free dyes. Natural dyes like henna should also be safe.”

When dyeing or highlighting your hair during pregnancy, you might also want to consider these safety tips by the FDA:

How about colouring hair while breastfeeding? “As before, very little of the chemicals is absorbed into the body. Thus, it is not likely to be passed into breast milk and cause any harm to the baby,” said Dr Tan.

Back to the fun part – after a decade of sticking to her natural jet-black hue , how does Kourtney feel about her mini hair makeover?

“I’m still not sure how I feel about the colour. I would say dark probably suits me best, but a change is always fun!”

– By Emily Wong