Hair Treatments During Pregnancy – Safe Or Not?

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

hair treatment during pregnancy

During pregnancy, every move of yours becomes crucial. Just like what you eat or drink affects the baby, similarly, any treatments you go through may have some kind of impact on the baby, albeit big or small. So what about hair treatments during pregnancy?

Hair forms an essential part of female grooming, and women feel confident if their hair is just the way they want – chic, stylish and smart. Hair and facial treatments have become such an inseparable part of our routine that most women fail to see the number of harmful ingredients and chemicals these treatments contain.

Let’s look at some common hair treatments that women normally take and whether or not they are safe during pregnancy.

In This Article

Video Of Everything About Hair Treatments During Pregnancy

Research on Hair Treatments During Pregnancy

Several studies have been conducted to study the impact of colors, dyes, and various hair treatments during pregnancy. Some suggest that women face a greater risk of miscarriage if they apply a huge amount of bleach or dyes while pregnant.

Other studies suggest that the amount of chemicals absorbed by the scalp is minimal and doesn’t affect the fetus. Most people would say that it is ‘probably’ safe to take hair treatments in pregnancy, while some may suggest refraining from such treatments.

How Can Hair Treatments be Unsafe in Pregnancy?

During pregnancy the volume of blood in the woman’s body increases, this makes her even more sensitive to chemicals. Most hair treatments involve chemicals. A small amount of chemicals gets absorbed by the scalp.

Although there is a slight possibility that the chemicals may pass through the bloodstream and affect the fetus, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

Since there is no definite conclusion, it may be best to avoid treatments that use excessive amounts of chemicals. Also, if you have an itchy scalp, burns, or scars it is advisable that you stay away from these treatments.

However, if you really want to, you can opt for safer options. You can even seek expert care when taking any hair treatment during the gestation period.

Precautions for Hair Treatments in Pregnancy

hair coloring brush and bowl

From equipment and products used, to the procedure of hair treatment, you should take care of some factors while pregnant. It is important to take the following precautions when you decide to go for hair treatments during pregnancy.

1. Wait Till the Second Trimester

It is safer to wait till the second trimester before you decide to go for hair treatment. The reason behind this is that the first 12 weeks are a crucial period. It is during this period that your baby’s growth takes place rapidly.

The hair follicles, muscles, and organs of the fetus develop during this period. Exposing your unborn baby to chemicals, especially during this time frame is not very conducive to the baby’s growth

2. The Ambience and Surrounding

During pregnancy, you develop a heightened sense of smell. Strong fragrances which are an integral part of a salon could make you nauseous. While booking an appointment, make sure you tell them beforehand that you are pregnant.

Insist you would prefer to be seated in an area that is devoid of strong smell and fragrances. Also, request to be seated in an area that is well ventilated. This is because hair treatments can take a while and you need to breathe clean and fresh air

3. Follow the Directions

If you are doing the treatment at home. Make sure you read the instructions carefully. Just because you have done it several times before, doesn’t mean you are doing it the right way.

When you are pregnant, you are responsible for the unborn child as well. Hence read the instructions on the box carefully and follow them religiously

4. Opt for Safer Options

Why risk too much exposure to chemicals by coloring your hair entirely or straightening it permanently? Opt for smarter and safer options, at least when you are pregnant.

Instead of going for permanent straightening or perming, you could opt for temporary solutions, wherein the chemical usage is almost nil. These techniques will minimize chemical usage and keep your scalp and your baby healthy

5. Use Safety Equipment and Good Quality Products

Last but not the least, do not compromise on quality, especially when you are pregnant. Good quality products don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Check the list of components or ingredients before buying hair color.

Opt for low ammonia content and the ones which use more natural ingredients. There are hair colors that are made out of henna or vegetable dye. These products are harmless and won’t pose a threat to the fetus.

Hair Straightening During Pregnancy

Hair straightening treatments involving the standard chemicals such as lye (containing sodium hydroxide), Thio (containing thioglycolic acid salts, and no-lye (calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate). These are likely considered to be safe during pregnancy.

However, some experts suggest that lye can cause irritation to a sensitive scalp and may damage your hair. ‘Keratin’ or Brazilian hair treatments contain a chemical called formaldehyde, which can be absorbed by the skin. Longer and continuous exposure can increase the risk of cancer and hence should be avoided during pregnancy.

Some women can feel dizzy or nauseous during these treatments. Another thing to note is that during pregnancy, your hair is constantly undergoing changes, and may not behave normally. If you like, you can simply use a hair straightener every now in a while and stay away from chemicals.

Hair Perming and Rebonding During Pregnancy

hair perming

Again, there can be some exposure to chemicals, since lye is generally used for both perming and rebonding hair. No one can guarantee how long these treatments will stay. Hormonal changes can make your hair not behave the way they normally do.

Also, any treatment done on the length of the hair is considered safe, since these are dead tissues with no blood vessels. However, anything that touches the scalp poses a potential risk to be absorbed by the body.

Coloring Hair During Pregnancy

Hair coloring during pregnancy is probably considered safe, but there is always a little chance of the chemical seeping into your bloodstream and passing onto the baby. Not much concrete research is available in this regard, though you can consider going safe when it comes to coloring your hair during pregnancy.

Go for highlights or lowlights instead, where you color only small sections of your hair. One of the latest techniques to color your hair is the ombre technique, where you only color the lower half of your hair. This technique ensures your scalp stays untouched.

Also, make sure you use gloves while applying color if you are doing the procedure yourself. Use good quality gloves and even brushes and avoid touching the product directly with bare hands.

Women are blessed with healthy skin and luscious hair during pregnancy. The scientific reason behind this blessing is that during pregnancy the hormonal changes in your body shift your hair cycle. It is probably best that you enjoy this gift, till it lasts. If you still want to go for hair treatments just make sure you restrict the use of chemicals and keep your baby safe and healthy.


1. Can I Straighten my Hair During Pregnancy?

Check with your doctor first. Though the chemicals may not harm the child, you might be sensitive to it. Inhaling that bleach and chemicals for long, may not be recommended during pregnancy.

2. Will Coloring my Hair During Pregnancy Harm the Baby?

No, it won’t. The amount of chemicals that’s absorbed through the scalp is very minimal. This does not reach the baby.

3. When is the Best Time to get Hair Treatments During Pregnancy?

The second trimester would be the safest period. First trimester is crucial and risky. Many women get treatments in their last trimester too.

4. Can I Develop Allergies to Hair Treatments While Pregnant?

Yes, you can. Your skin is more sensitive at this time. It might get irritated by the harsh chemicals.

Read Also: Is It Safe To Use Hair Removal Creams During Pregnancy?

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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