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(Date of issue: October 2017, Version: 2)

This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals. For case-specific advice please contact UKTIS on 0344 892 0909. To report an exposure please download and complete a pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

A corresponding patient information leaflet on hair dye use in pregnancy is available at www.medicinesinpregnancy.org.


Semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes generally consist of two components packaged together: one bottle containing a solution of hydrogen peroxide in water or a lotion base, and the other containing an ammonia solution of dyes and dye intermediates. These can include ortho- or para-diaminobenzenes, aminohydroxybenzenes, dihydroxybenzenes, para-aminodiphenylamine (PADA), paratoluene diamine (PTDA), para phenylenediamines (PPD), and various resorcinol derivatives. Some hair dyes may also contain trace amounts of lead acetate (0.4%) and other metals.

There are very few published human data regarding non-occupational exposure to hair dyes in pregnancy. Some studies have suggested an association between use of hair dye and an increased incidence of childhood cancers (specifically neuroblastoma, Wilms’ tumour, and acute lymphocytic leukaemia), however the data are conflicting. There are no epidemiological data specifically relating to the use of herbal hair colourants (such as henna) in pregnancy.

Exposure to hair dye at any stage in pregnancy would not usually be regarded as medical grounds for any additional fetal monitoring. However, other risk factors may be present in individual cases which may independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case-specific risk assessments.

This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use full UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org to be sure you are using the most up-to-date version. The summaries of these monographs are openly available on UKTIS.org.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to health care professionals at www.toxbase.org.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from TOXBASE.org or UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.