An allergic reaction to hair dye, in short terms, Hair dye allergy, is due to a reaction to paraphenylenediamine also called PPD common place ingredient found in hair dyes requiring Treatment for hair dye allergies.
Causes of Hair Color/Hair Dye Allergy
Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), the chemical present in most hair dyes/colors, is considered to be the usual, prime suspect for allergic reactions.
Paraphenylenediamine or PPD, is mostly found in commercially produced hair dyes like peroxide. When the two react, PPD is subjected to partial oxidization and coloration, resulting in allergic reactions.
- When one is left with an irritated scalp post applying hair dye, it’s most likely to be an allergic reaction to hair dye requiring Treatment for hair dye sometimes referred to as contact dermatitis on the skin.
- This reaction having Symptoms of hair dye allergy, is especially prevalent upon application of at-home dyes that tend to sit on the scalp, rather than being used in just the strands more professionally.
- Most chemical hair dyes contain both paraphenylenediamine and ammonia responsible for skin irritation. When the chemicals come in direct contact with the skin, they essentially burn the surface, leading to an itchy rash.
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Signs & Symptoms of Hair Dye Allergies
- If one has slightly mild irritation by PPD, he/she may observe that the neck, forehead, scalp, ears, or eyelids become inflamed & irritated post applying hair dye or color.
- Skin exposed to PPD tends to show symptoms such as redness, blistering, swelling, thickened, dryness, and cracking. One gets to experience sensations like stinging or burning thereby requiring Treatment for hair dye allergies.
- Mild to moderate contact reactions like erythema, oozing, and ulceration occurred generally at the scalp margin as well as ears and neck, are common owing to direct contact.
- Symptoms usually appear within 48 hours, although strong irritants tend to cause immediate reactions.
- If you’re allergic to PPD, your scalp and face will feel itchy, and start to swell up.
- PPD also triggers symptoms throughout the body like itching, a nettle rash, and generally feeling a sense of illness.
- These Symptoms of hair dye allergies do not develop until hours, or even days, later.
However, a severe allergic reaction developing within a few minutes post application of hair dye/color is known as anaphylaxis or ‘anaphylactic shock’.
Signs of Anaphylaxis
- Itchy skin or a raised red skin rash
- Swollen lips, eyes, hands & feet swelling on eyelids are like you won’t be able to open your eyes.
- Experiencing lightheaded or faint
- Swelling of the throat, mouth, or tongue, which tends to cause difficulty in swallowing & breathing.
- Abdominal pain, nausea & vomiting
Ways to Prevent Hair Dye Allergy
Always make it a point to conduct a patch test before applying a permanent/semi-permanent hair dye, even if one’s using his/her regular, familiar brand.
This generally constitutes dabbing a small amount of dye solution behind the ears or on one’s inner elbow, leaving it to dry. Follow the instructions leaflet that’s inside the packet of hair dye/color.
If you develop irritation of any sort or feel unwell after the patch test, do not use the product or discontinue it as soon as possible.
Other forms of precautions
- Make sure not to leave hair dye/color longer than what’s recommended in the leaflet guideline.
- Always wear gloves before hair dye application.
- Rinse hair thoroughly afterward.
- Strictly adhere to the instructions included.
If you have a Hair dye allergy, even just a mild one, you should stop applying products containing PPD altogether, as there’s a high chance of you developing a more severe or adverse reaction in the future.
Make it a point to switch to a safer alternative like non-permanent, PPD-free hair dye but be aware of the possible reactions to it.
Henna – It’s a natural product that’s been used in India for hundreds or thousands of years, imparting a reddish color or tone to the hair texture. Be sure to purchase pure henna, avoiding newer products known as black henna having added PPD.
Treatment for Hair Dye Allergies/Hair Colour
Hair dye allergy usually occurs after years of no problem. Almost all hair dyes available in Indian markets (including ayurvedic ones) are paraphenylenediamine (PPD) containing hair dyes. They tend to color their hair brown, black, red, and others. Once you develop an allergy to this hair dye, switching to other brands may not work for you.
Relieving Mild Symptoms of Hair Dye Allergies
- Wash hair & scalp thoroughly with mild shampoo to remove any excess hair dye.
- Try out gently applying an emollient (moisturizing treatment) like aqueous cream to the affected area of the skin.
Steroid Cream as Treatment for Hair Dye Allergies
- If your skin appears very red, sore, and inflamed, you need to use a steroid cream. One can purchase mild steroid cream over the counter (after consulting your GP).
- Weaker versions like hydrocortisone 1% are available over the counter, but more potent formulations require a prescription, having its usage in more significant reactions.
- Steroid shampoos are also prescribed and recommended by dermatologists.
- Oral antihistamines are advised for regulating allergic reactions.
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Its modern, updated treatment and modalities are carried out by a skilled and competent team of certified Dermatologists, Cosmetologists and trichologists, Hair Transplant surgeons, and clinical aestheticians.
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