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Why Peroxide-based Products Are Bad For Your Hair?

If you were asked to change your look or get a complete make-over, one of the first things you are likely to do is get your hair colored.

Today, there is a wide range of hair colors to choose from, and people are more open to changing their hair colour as per current trends.

Hair coloring can be fun when you have the right product.

This implies using hair colors that are free from chemicals that lead to skin/scalp discomfort, allergies, and hair damage.

Human hair color is based on the quantities of the two pigments- eumelanin and pheomelanin.

Those with lighter hair have less quantity of these pigments whereas, in people with grey hair, the pigment production stops.

Hair coloring often involves using a bleaching agent like hydrogen peroxide. Peroxides are also found in at-home hair color developers.

What does peroxide do to your hair and why do companies use it in their products?


Peroxide is used to lighten your hair

Hydrogen peroxide is a colourless, chemical liquid that is used to bleach hair at salons and beauty parlors. Aside from its use as a disinfectant and bleach, it is also used to lighten hair colour.

The permitted amount of its use is at 3% concentration.

How does peroxide lighten your hair?

When bleach or hydrogen peroxide is applied to the hair, the chemical penetrates the hair shaft, and removes the naturally existing pigments by oxidizing it.

It may be used on its own or with other hair colors.

Hair colors that contain hydrogen peroxide as a component are usually considered to be semi-permanent in nature. This is because peroxide bleaches the cortex or the innermost layer of the hair that holds the pigment.

The colour remains, until new hair grows.

So, while peroxide is used to lighten the colour of dye used, it is also used to lighten the colour of the hair before a new colour is applied.


Hair Damage Due to Peroxide

Now that we understand how peroxide in used in hair color treatments, let’s explore why this practise can be damaging to the hair and skin.

Using peroxide to bleach hair can cause any of the following effects:

  • Skin Irritation and Dermatitis

Hydrogen peroxide and any other peroxide compound is harsh on the skin. When used to bleach hair, it could cause skin irritation in many individuals, especially around the hairline on your forehead.

Based on your sensitivity or your body’s reaction to the chemical, you may suffer from redness, itching, or even contact dermatitis.

  • Hair Loss

Peroxide lightens the hair by oxidizing the natural hair pigment. This oxidation causes oxidative stress to the rest of the hair and results in hairfall. Hair also tends to become fragile and brittle.

  • Damage to the cuticle

The hair shaft can be broadly classified into three layers– the outer cuticle, the middle cortex, and the inner medulla.

The cuticle is the outermost covering of the hair. Its role is to protect the hair shaft and to keep it strong. When a strong oxidizing agent like peroxide is used to bleach the hair pigment, the cuticle gets damaged. This results in dry, frizzy hair with split ends.

The use of peroxide on the hair also changes makes the texture rough and unmanageable.

  • Scalp Burns

Though hydrogen peroxide used to bleach hair is diluted to make it safe, improper application of the product can result in scalp burns.


Alternatives to Hydrogen Peroxide

Use hair dye products which do not contain peroxides in the developer

  • Ammonia-free Dyes

In most peroxide-containing hair dyes, ammonia is an active component as well. Both the ammonia as well as peroxide together can cause damage.

Hair color products that are ammonia-free are most likely also peroxide-free.

The skin and hair specialists at Atbro Safexx have come up with a safe hair color formula. Not only are these products ammonia, PPD, and peroxide-free, but are also long-lasting.

  • Temporary Hair Colours

Hydrogen peroxide based hair colours and dyes are semi-permanent in nature. So, if you are worried about hair damage due to these colours, you can choose to opt for temporary or wash out colours that do not contain peroxide.

  • Natural Hair Colour

Peroxide is a chemical and so are other constituents added to hair colours. If you want to avoid chemicals completely you can choose natural hair colours such as henna.

However the henna would have to be left on overnight for good results, and is messy to use.

  • Lemon Juice

Lemon juice works to lighten dark blonde or brown hair. In order to do so, combine lemon juice, water and apply on your hair. Let it dry under the sun for a few minutes and then wash it off.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar with 6 parts of water and spray it over your hair. Leave this on for 15-20 mins and then rinse well. You will notice a subtle color change.

  • Chamomile

Brew strong chamomile tea and apply to your hair. It works to lighten most hair colors.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a great ingredient if you wish to add red highlights to your hair. Mix cinnamon powder with water and make a paste. Apply this paste all over your hair and leave to dry for several hours. Rinse well.



Avoid hair products with hydrogen peroxide. Use hair coloring products that do not use cheap and hazardous chemicals.

Today there are hair coloring products that are made by experts and specialists who know how to balance achieving quality hair color with healthy products.

Choose wisely, stay young and stay healthy!