Hair dying is extremely popular among both men and women. In fact, the Huffington Post states “it drives the beauty industry.” But what is hair dye really doing to our hair?

In order for hair dye to effectively color your hair, ammonia is used to lift up the hair’s cuticle (the protective covering around your hair’s shaft). Peroxide is then used to destroy the current color of the hair. This is when the damage begins. You’ve lost your protective covering and harmed the hair. Then the dye is placed. Once it’s been placed your hair begins absorbing it and the cuticle seals again.

But for most people, the damage has been done. The longer the cuticle is lifted the more dried out the hair becomes. The peroxide actually strips your hair of its nutrients. When someone has hair that feels brittle and straw like, it is often the result of a bad dye job. Not as common, but still a situation that happens to some individuals who dye their hair, is hair thinning and hair loss. This can occur when the chemicals come in contact with the scalp and cause a reaction.

So what is the solution? If you are concerned about your hair and are sensitive to treatments and dyes, it may be best to avoid hair coloring all together. For those who don’t want to give up hair coloring just yet, there are some things you can do to ensure the health of your hair through the hair coloring process. Many salons now offer options to add protein treatments to the hair coloring process. These proteins (often keratin) work to add nutrients back into the hair while the cuticle is open. This reduces the amount of harm hair coloring can have and can leave your hair feeling nourished, soft, and shiny.

It is important to take care of and protect our hair to the best of our ability. Dr. Yazdan believes the best way to treat hair loss is to prevent it. The things you do now to take care of your hair will influence your future hair’s health and appearance.