Significant damage of the skin and hair following hair bleaching

J Dermatol. 2010 Oct;37(10):882-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1346-8138.2010.00916.x.


Scalp burns can be caused by hair bleaching with excess procedures such as unnecessary heating and excessive treatment with bleaching agents. The aim of this study was to investigate the morphological and histological changes of the hair and skin after bleaching. Ammonium persulfate and hydrogen peroxide (6% or 9%) solution mixed at a ratio of 1:2 (weight ratio) were sufficiently applied to human hairs and rat skin. The bleached hairs were brightened up to yellow by increasing the concentration of hydrogen peroxide and time of bleach treatment. After bleaching, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to observe that the cuticle scales of the hairs were irregular and lifted. The mechanical properties of the bleached hairs, such as tensile strength and elongation, were slightly different than the untreated hairs. The tested rat skin showed severe swelling after treatment of the bleaching agent (9% hydrogen peroxide). The rat skin bleached with 9% hydrogen peroxide exhibited epidermal thinning and subepidermal vesicle formation. The extracellular matrix of the skin was seriously disrupted after bleaching. Therefore, the use of only suitable bleaching procedures is suggested in order to avoid injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Sulfate / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Hair / drug effects*
  • Hair / ultrastructure
  • Hair Bleaching Agents / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / adverse effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Tensile Strength


  • Hair Bleaching Agents
  • ammonium peroxydisulfate
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Ammonium Sulfate