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What is PPD? Continual Dialogue of hair color that's eco friendly and effective

As client-conscious colorists at Kasia, our new generation hair color helps protect the health of stylists, the client’s hair from unnecessary damage…and the salon environment from the polluting fumes of ammonia.

Kasia Organic Salon services our guests with NO Ammonia, NO PPD, NO MEA.

January 09, 2011|By Alexandra Drosu | Special to the Los Angeles Time

The beauty industry is no stranger to organic ingredients, and a multitude of hair- and skin-care companies claim to be eco-friendly, all-natural or certified organic. More recently, hair color companies have joined the eco-revolution, advertising nontoxic, ammonia-free, all-natural or organic formulas. But can hair color truly be green and effective?

The debate over the dangers of hair color has percolated in the United States for more than 50 years, with studies both supporting and refuting the notion that hair dyes cause cancer.

Specifically, the ingredient para-phenylenediamine, or PPD — which in hair dye is essential for fast, nonfading color — is at the root of these claims. In large doses, the chemical has been shown to increase the risk of cancer and cell mutation, and it is restricted by the Food and Drug Administration, with maximum usage guidelines.

PPD causes swelling of the hair cuticle (the outer layer of the hair shaft), brings the dye with it into the cortex (the middle layer), where the color molecule is then too big to be washed out, says Dr. Paul McAndrews, clinical professor at the USC School of Medicine.

Although PPD often comes under fire, many experts think that the risk from using hair color is minimal. "The debate has been going on for years on whether or not hair dyes lead to cancer, but there is no definitive evidence to support that theory," says Philip Kingsley, founder of an eponymous line of products as well as the Philip Kingsley Trichological Centers for hair care in London and New York.

Other experts say that today's color formulas have sophisticated delivery systems and are far safer than previous formulations, which had stronger active solutions and took longer to process. Today's products contain lower amounts of PPD that are within FDA guidelines and take less time to use, thus decreasing contact with the scalp. Lastly, "most products don't absorb into the skin well," McAndrews says.

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