In recent years, a number of hair dyes have been examined in connection with the EU hair dye strategy. Despite many well-documented harmful effects, certain extremely sensitising dyes — in the category of oxidative hair dyes, including p-phenylenediamine — are still permitted.
It is well documented that exposure to chemicals in the hairdressing profession results in many occupational injuries. Therefore, many hairdressers try to avoid the oxidative hair dyes by using other methods, including ‘direct dyes’ and plant-based dyes, for example. These hair dyes have made hair dying possible for hairdressers and customers suffering from allergies.
However, the EU’s scientific committee has expressed concern about some of these dyes. These are the plant dyes Lawsonia inermis (on account of the substance Lawsone) and Indigofera tinctoria as well as the colouring agents acid black 1 and acid orange 7. However, in contrast to several of the oxidative hair dyes, there are few or no clinical cases of injuries caused by these four dyes. Instead, they serve as alternatives for a large number of people with allergies or respiratory problems (caused by hair dyes).
Will the Commission examine whether these four dyes can be permitted under the Cosmetics Regulation?
There are certainly no documented adverse effects on people from use of the dyes, and in practice there are virtually no reported clinical cases.