Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Hair Bleach Chemicals and Toxic Fumes

Q: Hi. I know I left hair bleach on my head for too long. The following day especially and for the rest of the week I have suffered headaches, nausea and dizzy spells. What chemically happened to me? I can't find the answer anywhere.
A: It sounds as though you were reacting to the fumes from the hair bleach. The problem you encountered is one of the main reasons we emphasize caution when attempting chemical services on your own hair. Some people are more sensitive to the chemicals used in various hair services than others, and some chemical hair processes use chemical reactions that can be harsher than others.
Anytime you use a bleaching agent on the hair it is critical that you follow all of the safety guidelines specified in the instructions for the product. You should always be sure to perform any chemical hair service - whether lightening, coloring, perming or straightening - in a well-ventilated area.
In the case of bleaching the color pigments in the hair are dispersed through an oxidation of the color molecules. This chemical reaction can produce by-product gasses. These "fumes" can become highly concentrated without ample ventilation. Most bleaches require a peroxide developer to be combined with, prior to application. Depending on the chemical composition of the bleaching agent the by-product gasses, the fumes created can be toxic in higher concentrations.
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