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Grow Old Gracefully Because You're Worth It

Jun 13, 2008
Everybody desires a long and healthy life. Despite that, we often become complacent and find it's easy to slip up when it comes to diet, exercise and all the things we know we should and shouldn't be doing. For those taking out medical insurance, looking after your health is vital not just to keep us in the best of health but to also keep down premiums.

Medical insurance application forms will ask many questions to gauge how well we take care of our health and thus determine our premiums. They will ask about previous health concerns, family medical history and also our general diet and exercise regime. What they won't ask you is how often you die your hair!

Why would this matter, I hear you ask. Well, recent studies have shown a link between excessive use of hair dyes and follicular lymphoma - a form of leukaemia. Using dark hair dyes more than nine times a year is enough to cause health issues, particularly permanent hair dyes that were used prior to 1993. This is thought to be due to chemicals which have since been banned.

Dark hair dyes are particularly rich in carcinogenic chemicals and this is enough to adversely effect even those who apply hair dye to others. On that list of risky jobs on the medical insurance application forms who would have thought we would ever see barber or hairdresser?

The cosmetics industry deny there is a problem stating that the harmful ingredients were mostly stopped in the late Seventies with more removed in 2006. But they would say that, wouldn't they. Maybe this is just too little, too late for a lot of people. The Cancer Prevention and Education Society urges us to err on the side of caution, saying that chemical compounds in the cosmetics industry do not undergo stringent enough testing to be considered safe for frequent use.

Of course, there is no point scaremongering. In the grand scheme of things, getting cancer through hair dyes is a small risk, but a risk nonetheless. With 45 million hair dye treatments taking place in salons and a further 50 million home dyes used per year, this still creates cases that would otherwise have been avoided.

You may be one of the lucky ones that don't suffer the cancer brought on by hair dyes but there are other side effects too. The chemicals can trigger allergies that have, in the past, proved fatal. Any irritation as a result of using hair dye should be investigated as it could signal a sensitivity developing and further use can lead to the potentially life threatening anaphylactic shock.

So, despite the claims of the cosmetic industry that says we are safe, have all the harmful ingredients really been removed? The chemical p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) is still used in hair dyes in the UK even though it has been banned in Germany, France and Sweden because of it's link to severe allergic reactions.
To avoid the risk to yourself, check the ingredients of your hair dye to make sure it doesn't contain PPD or better still, swap to a non-permanent dye or salon treatments that do not bring chemicals into contact with the scalp.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and our lives, or our medical insurance premiums, should not depend on whether we have certain colour hair.
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