Identifying And Treating Hair Dye Allergies

Published: 13th July 2010
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Hair dye allergies are among the most common reactions concerning health and beauty aids. About five percent of users of permanent hair dye may experience an allergic reaction at some point during their lives. The allergy can present a wide range of symptoms, and treatments are available to help alleviate the effects.

The reason for hair dye allergies is the ingredient known as paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is commonly found in almost all permanent hair dying products. When reading the list of ingredients, it may also be referred to as rodol, ursol, or orsin. The ingredient has been used for over 100 years in hair products, and can also be found in some cosmetics and temporary tattoos. When the chemical reacts with the hydrogen peroxide also found in dye, it can cause an allergy in some users. It has been banned in some countries due to it being a potential health hazard.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to hair dye can include itchy scalp, redness, swelling, pain, sneezing, nausea, and scaly skin. Most people experience only one or two of the symptoms. Some of the side effects can be present on the face and ears, as well as the scalp. The allergy is known as contact dermatitis, one that can develop due to repeated exposure to the products that can cause the sensitivity.

A simple test to confirm an allergy is recommended each time a user decides to dye his/her hair. Mixing in the product as the instructions indicate and applying it to a non-conspicuous area of the body, such as behind the ear or inside the elbow, will determine whether or not the skin is sensitive. The test may take 48-72 hours to complete, so it is advised that you perform the experiment at least 3-4 days prior to using the hair dye.

If hair dye allergies develop, there is currently no cure for the reaction. Washing the hair and scalp immediately upon noticing the signs of an allergy is recommended. Treatments can include using olive oil to reduce the amount of dry, scaly skin.Corticosteroid cream can also be applied to reduce the effects of the aversion. To avoid further reactions, temporary dyes may be used rather than permanent ones to avoid coming into contact with PPD. Highlights done with permanent dye may still be safe to use, given that they are applied by a professional hair stylist and that the dye does not touch any skin.

Hair dye allergies can spring up at any moment. The only way to fully avoid having a reaction to the dye is to refrain from using such products. Though it affects a small percentage of all users that dye their hair, the symptoms can be quit unpleasant. Since there is currently no cure, a spot test is highly recommended every time you plan to use a permanent hair dye on your scalp.

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