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Harmful Effects Of Resorcinol In Hair Colors


  • Resorcinol is a chemical that is commonly used in hair color products.
  • It is considered to be toxic and could cause skin and eye irritation. 
  • It is harmful to the hair follicles can be harsh on your hair. 
  • It is also known to cause hormonal imbalance.
  • Professionals like hair stylists and hair dressers are commonly exposed to this chemical.
  • There are hair dye products which use safe alternatives to resorcinol 


What is Resorcinol?

Resorcinol (or benzene-1,3-diol), is a chemical that is commonly used in hair colour, hair dyes, skin peels, and during acne treatments. 

It reacts with the peroxide-containing developer to give the required colour or shade.

Resorcinol, though considered harmful, is used in hair colours and dyes due to its efficacy in retaining colour in the hair. 

Quick Fact: The use of resorcinol has been banned in the European Union, the USA, and Canada.

Yet, most permanent hair colours and dyes contain resorcinol.

Is resorcinol safe to use in hair colors?

This chemical is obtained from petrochemicals and is largely also used in the rubber industry. This brings up a valid question – how safe is resorcinol when used in cosmetic products and hair dyes?

Resorcinol that is used in the cosmetic industry and in hair dyes is combined with other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide to enable its safe use. 

However that is not enough.

Resorcinol has a Skin Deep Hazard ratio of 9.

It the main reason why some people get contact dermatitis after using hair colors containing resorcinol. 

Quick Fact: Resorcinol is the primary cause of hair dye related contact dermatitis.

 In the hair colour industry, resorcinol is used to provide yellow undertones.


Is resorcinol harmful to your hair?

Yes. Resorcinol is harmful to the hair follicles and the scalp.

Not only is it a strong irritant, but also senstizes the system leading to allergic reactions like contact dermatitis.


What are the harmful effects of resorcinol?

The primary health concerns regarding the use of resorcinol include skin and eye irritation. 

Another major health concern regarding resorcinol is the possibility of hormonal imbalance and fertility complications it is likely to cause.

Studies have shown that exposure to resorcinol may disrupt thyroid function- resulting in hyperthyroidism (goitre). 

The thyriod hormone plays an important role in metabolism in the human body. Hence an imbalance in the thyroid hormones would have widespread implications on the overall health of an individual.


Using safe hair color products

So, what are the alternatives?

Some companies use chemicals similar to resorcinol but way more gentle to your hair in hair products. Atbro Safexx is one such brand. 

Atbro Safexx product uses 4-chlororesorcinol, a halogenated version of resorcinol which has the same functions, but without the harsh side effects.

Further Atbro Safexx products do not contain the other offenders: ammonia, PPD, parabens, sulphates, and peroxide.

Check out Atbro Safexx products here.