Sabrina Richards

The best way to successfully dye or bleach hair is through a professional stylist, as shown at the salon above. Many students dye and bleach their hair this way, but others use at home dyes, which pose potential danger.

Hair dye and bleach prove potentially risky

Hair dye started to make it’s way to entertainment and popularity around the sixties and seventies. Today, younger generations of people have jumped on the hair coloring bandwagon, but many middle school students may not realize the risk of hair bleach and dye.

The reason students dye or bleach their hair can vary from individual to individual, but most times, student’s change their hair color as a part of growing up and fitting in.

“It is hard to stand out here in middle school because of the uniforms, so by dying hair, (a student) might look different. I think that it could also be the role modeling of parents and older siblings,” said Dr. Karl Knorr, the Sixth Grade Counselor.

Seventh grader Hailey Haas enjoys dyeing her hair every summer so she can express her feelings. Some colors she has used include pink, purple, and turquoise.

If middle schoolers would like to lighten their natural hair color, a favorable option would be hair bleach. In hair bleach, one’s hair can turn “dried sponge” like.

Bleached hair acts like a sponge, since whatever chemicals put in will absorb and dry out the hair rapidly. Hair bleach uses the process of oxidation, which is a combination of peroxide, a chemical compound, and many other chemicals that rip open scalp pores at contact of the roots.

Liam Dennis, a seventh grader, agrees that peroxide is powerful, as “it kind of stung when (the stylist) bleached my roots.”

Hair can suffer from major moisture loss even after someone’s very first bleaching. An article on states that “the process of bleaching can strip moisture from (someone’s) hair,” very quickly. The ends of hair can rapidly turn dead, and it is extremely difficult to get the “bounce” of hair back after bleaching, but this side effect can be somewhat avoided if one uses moisture surge shampoo and conditioner.

“I use conditioner and (the bleach) did not do anything (to the moisture),” said Dennis.

Potential dangers such as breakage and less manageable hair can arise from bleaching. The amount of damage depends on the strength of the bleach used, and the length of time in hair. Hair becomes either straight, curly, frizzy, brittle, and the texture can change from washing to washing after peroxide has entered the follicles.

Despite danger, there are multiple positive aspects of bleaching hair. Hair bleach is an easy way to alter natural hair color.

“It just felt natural,” said Makalya Farnum, a seventh grader who has bleached parts of her hair in a highlight-like fashion.

Seventy percent of hair coloring products can cause allergic reactions because of a chemical named para-phenylenediamine, or PPD. Some reactions include burning and headaches, and while most people do not experience reactions to hair dye, it is important to consult a physician if any complications do arise.

Some hair dyes or hair chalks only last for a certain amount of time before washing out, but other dyes are permanent. A chemical in most permanent dyes, called “ammonia,” used for the purpose of opening the cuticle layer, allows the dye and hair molecules to penetrate together.

In the grand scheme of things, dyeing hair a few times, every year or couple of years really will not do complete damage, but excessive dyeing can lead to cancer and lymphomas.

“Studies looking at a possible link between personal hair dye use and the risk of blood- related cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma have had mixed results,” said an article from the American Cancer Society.

Despite any major dangers, hair dye can be enjoyable and positive. Coloring hair can be done for fun and evoke creativity with a variety of color assortments and shades to choose from.

Some students have to cut their hair or die it a natural color before school starts because Student Handbook states that “hair must be of modest cut and natural color.”

Mr. Jacob Kothe has had to ask students to change their hair color back to a natural color, and he said “maybe one or two (students) a year” are disciplined for crazy hair color.

To see a PDF version of this story see attached.

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