Hair Dye Allergy

By staff

Would you like to have hair that is shiny and healthy looking with a very rich, dark color? Why, certainly! We would all love to have beautiful, lustrous, dark hair, especially if gray strands of hair are starting to appear.

However, sometimes, for some people, the cost of coloring your hair would be an allergic reaction, several doctor consultations and medications, or possibly a trip to the emergency room. Yes, it is possible for you to have an allergic reaction to the ingredient found in hair dye, paraphenylene-diamine (PPD).

What is Paraphennylene-diamine (PPD)?

Paraphenylene-diamine (PPD) is a chemical substance that is widely used as a permanent hair dye. It is also the third most common ingredient after fragrances and preservatives that cause contact dermatitis, usually called hair dye allergy.

What are the Symptoms of a Hair Dye Allergy?

Symptoms of PPD-induced contact dermatitis include redness, swelling, and blisters which may form and break, leaving unsightly crusts and scales. Later, the skin may darken, crack, and become leathery. There would be noted redness and itching in the scalp (mild cases); painful scaly skin (severe cases); or severe swelling of the eyes, ears, neck, or the entire face and possibly intense burning of the scalp (more severe cases) that no cold shower can sooth.

Most people can color their hair with ease, without worrying about an allergy, but there are others who are not as lucky. But even if you do not notice any reaction the first time you began using hair dyes, there is still a chance for you to develop a sensitization to its PPD content with repeated use. This cross-sensitization can happen even after several colorings.

PPD-sensitization does not only occur in consumers who use hair dye. Even hairdressers who apply hair dye on their customers develop dermatitis on their hands, as well as on their exposed face and arms.

The reality is that for most people, looking good and looking young is so important that they would not want others to find out that their hair has started turning gray. They would risk tolerating PPD allergies just to get their hair colored.

How to Avoid Allergic Reactions from PPD?

To be safe, the first thing you should do before coloring your hair is to test the dye on your skin by placing a small amount on the skin along the inner elbow. Let it dry and don’t wash it for 48 to 72 hours. Reactions only occur a few days after the dye is applied. So testing the dye for a longer period is better so that you can be sure that you do not have delayed hypersensitivity reactions.

If you really need to dye your hair, use hair coloring products that are made from natural ingredients such as vegetable based dyes and henna, which are all free of paraphenylene-diamine. But if you are unsure, it is best to consult an expert before you create a hair mishap for yourself.



January 6th, 2011 | 3:07 pm
Sandra Wilson:

The patch tests are not reliable.

Using a coloring cap to apply/blend keeps dye off skin and only safe way.

September 27th, 2012 | 3:24 am
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