Top 5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Scalp

4: Fried Fringe: Be Careful with Hair Dyes and Relaxers

Having your hair colored can be hard on your scalp.
Having your hair colored can be hard on your scalp.
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Whether you're looking to cover your gray, go from brunette to blonde, or straighten your curly hair, chances are you'll be using hair dyes or relaxers that contain chemicals that could burn your scalp, and, in some cases, cause severe allergic reactions [source: SafeCosmetics].

Your safest bet when coloring or relaxing your hair is to have the job done by a qualified professional stylist or colorist. If you do choose to use hair dyes or relaxers at home, always follow the package instructions. When using hair dye, make sure you do a skin patch test before using the product. Rub a tiny bit of the dye on your elbow or behind your ear, wait two days, and if your skin develops a rash, do not use the product on your hair. Also, never mix two different types of hair dye because this can damage both hair and scalp [source: FDA]. When using hair relaxers, coating the scalp with petroleum jelly before applying the product may help reduce scalp irritation and burning [source: FDA].

Organic non-ammonia-containing hair dyes are also available, as are vegetable dyes made from extracts like sage, walnut, chamomile, saffron and marigold. Keep in mind that organic hair dyes, though purported to be kinder on the scalp than their chemical counterparts, still contain chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide. Vegetable dyes are completely natural, but since they only coat the outer layer of the hair (the cuticle), color results can be erratic [source: SafeCosmetics].