Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dangers of Ammonia in Hair Color

Ammonia is familiar to anyone who has ever had to clean a set of windows or counter tops. Under normal circumstances, ammonia is a corrosive and toxic gas with a rather pungent odor, and most people’s ammonia exposure is limited to household cleaners. Ammonia is also an incredibly versatile chemical; it is found in fertilizers, plastics, chemicals, explosives, and pesticides, and it is also used in refrigeration in food processing and manufacturing industries. Trace amounts of ammonia are also found in the atmosphere, rainwater, volcanoes, fertile soil, and seawater, although the chemical usually does not pose a threat because the quantity is so small.

Ammonia is an almost required, although dangerous, chemical in almost all professional hair color products. It's primary role in these products is to blast open the hair shaft and cuticle preparing the shaft to accept pigment. In doing this, the cosmetologist, hairdresser, colorist, or salon professional is irreparably damaging their client's hair. The client inevitably leaves with hair that displays their desired color but is so damaged by the process that it cannot be styled or behave to the in any way that is acceptable to the client. Traditionally, salon clients have had to make an uninformed decision or trade off between either having healthy, manageable, and attractive hair or having their desired hair color.

The Dangers of Ammonia Exposure

More importantly, the use of ammonia in salons put salon professionals and clients at serious risk of long term health damages.  Ammonia exposure can cause a number of serious health problems. It will irritate and burn the eyes, throat, and nose when inhaled, and in higher concentrations it can induce severe coughing and choking fits. Prolonged exposure to ammonia in gas or liquid form can severely irritate the eyes and skin, and result in permanent scarring of the cornea and chemical burns on the skin and lungs.

Using ammonia in enclosed areas is also dangerous, as is mixing the chemical with bleach or any of its derivatives, for the combination can produce extremely toxic chlorine gas.  While almost all salon professionals have been trained and explicitly understand the dangers of mixing any ammonia products with any bleach or bleach derivatives; a risk of error is always present.  The increasing complexity of professional beauty products on the market enhance the risk of an unwitting or rushed salon professional not carefully reading ingredient labels and inadvertently making a fatal mixing error.  Such an honest mistake would not only ruin a salon's reputation and expose its owner to unconscionable liability, but also risks the unacceptable deaths of other salon professionals and clients.

Few people realize the serious risk of ammonia and how dangerous a chemical it actually is.  There has been an explicit and notable transition of product ingredients away from ammonia to safer and more stable alternatives.  The most egregious and dangerous use of ammonia is present in hair coloring products as the dangerous chemical is designed to apply directly to a human's scalp where it will be absorbed by the pores, dermal,  papilla, and follicles into the bloodstream.  Further, the professionals applying this dangerous chemical must endure the physical health damages of being exposed to ammonia several times a day over a very long term, sometimes as long a several years or even decades.

Non Ammonia Based Permanent Hair Color

Fortunately, advances in organic research have enabled contemporary and advanced formulas of organic and natural compounds to eliminate the need for ammonia in professional hair coloring products.  The most innovative company in the world towards organic and natural hair products is a small boutique company located in Lymington, England. For over a decade, they have been dedicated to manufacturing and distributing the most natural and gentle professional hair products available.  Their professional color line is Organic Color Systems which uses no ammonia or dangerous chemical additives in their ingredients.

Ammonia not only negatively affects the cuticle of the hair, it also damages an amino acid or protein called tyrosine which is found inside the hair shaft. Tyrosine is responsible for producing melanin (the natural pigment in the hair shaft). When the Tyrosine is damaged the hair's ability to hold onto color is greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.

When you introduce color into the hair shaft without damaging the tyrosine, as done with Organic Color Systems, the color will last longer because the color has something to bond to. Without ammonia the results are superior in every way.

Rather than ammonia, Organic Color Systems uses a compound with a similar molecular structure to ammonia known as monoethanolamine which is orderless and has a much less volatile Ph characteristic than any ammonia chemical. The more stable Ph profile makes monoethanolamine much more stable and less corrosive than ammonia. Because of its safer, more stable, and less corrosive characteristics, this alternative is also replacing ammonia in several industrial applications. Combining this with its orderless property makes monoethanolamine an ideal alternative to hair coloring.

While Organic Color Systems only uses small traces of monoethanolamine, the other organic and natural ingredients of their well-researched and highly-effective formula enable a salon professional to properly prepare the ideal canvas for their artistic work. Organic Color Systems gently prepares the clients hair shaft to naturally accept the color pigmentation delivered by this revolutionary system of hair coloring. Because the hair shaft is not blasted open, the structural integrity of the clients hair (or the salon professional's canvas) is maintained enabling an outcome that is undeniably refreshing. Healthy, natural looking, manageable, and incredibly styled hair in with the exact style the client desires!


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