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Hair Dyes May Cause Arthritis

If you weren't born a platinum blonde (but are now), you may be interested to hear about the recently discovered association between hair dyes and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling condition in which the immune system attacks the body's cartilage, bone, and joints - leading to tissue damage and severe pain.

Rheumatoid arthritis is known to have multiple origins, including insulin use and psychological stress, and is more likely in women than in men. A Swedish study recently published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases compared more than 400 rheumatoid arthritis patients with nearly 900 healthy individuals from 1980 to 1995.

Using hair dyes for more than 20 years doubled the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women. Other significant (and unusual) risk factors for women having the condition included matrimonial quarrels; tick-borne infections; regular exposure to horses; and smoking. In men, using a private water well and exposure to indoor mold were factors previously unknown to be linked to rheumatoid arthritis.

Many women use hair dyes regularly throughout their lives. Although researchers are unsure why dyes are linked to rheumatoid arthritis, until more information is available, you should consider showing off your natural hair color. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about any health concerns you have, and visit


Reckner Olsson A, Skogh T, Wingren G. Comorbidity and lifestyle, reproductive factors, and environmental exposures associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2001:60, pp. 934-939.