You have been dyeing your hair for years, suddenly after dyeing your hair you get a few red bumps and your head feels itchy and looks a bit red, nothing wrong you might think but the next time you dye your hair your scalp starts itching and burning.
You have a hair dye allergy: How to proceed
First, I would like to tell you that it does not always have to be a hair dye allergy. In many cases, it is a matter of aggressive substances used in a lot of dyes. With the main culprit being Ammonia.
Many people do not suffer from an allergic reaction but have trouble with their skin being destroyed by chemicals such as ammonia. Hair coloring, like an allergic reaction, becomes a painful and unpleasant experience but basically has nothing to do with a hair dye allergy.
The biggest cause of hair dye allergy is the substance p-phenylenediamine this substance (PPD for short) is in all chemical dyes, in some hair dyes that claim to be PPD free often use a brother here of: Toluene-2,5-diamine sulfate (PTD). Opinions are divided on how harmful PTD can be, but many people who are allergic to PPD are also allergic to PTD.
Other uses of PPD
- Textile dyes and fur dyes
- Dark-colored cosmetics
- Dark-colored temporary henna tattoos
- Photographic developer and lithography plates
- Photocopying and printing inks
- Black rubber
- Oils, greases, and gasoline.
Substances that are best avoided
If your skin comes into contact with p-phenylenediamine (PPD), you can have a reaction. The nice thing is that the manufacturer makes it extra difficult for you by giving most manufacturers fancy scientific names so you can't tell what it is.
Some examples of dyes with PPD are: p-aminophenol, m-aminophenol, nitro-p-phenylenediamine, n-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine (para-aminophenylamine), toluene-2,5-diamine (sulfate). What you also need to watch out for are those cute temporary henna tattoos on your hands or back that you see on vacation these are full of PPD's Do you get a reaction from that suddenly that temporary tattoo has a permanent nature with watextra beautiful scar tissue.
The symptoms of hair dye allergy
What can you tell that you have hair dermatitis? When your skin comes into contact with p-phenylenediamine PPD (or PTD ) you can see the following symtoms:
- Eczema. This need not be limited to the scalp it can also occur in other places such as the hands or eg on the back.
- Irritated sore scalp during and after coloring
- Itching on the scalp
- Bumps. Small red bumps that can be very itchy – Tearing eyes. Thick red eyes after or during a color treatment.
- Edema . You may experience severe head or hand bloating.
- Reactions to the paint seem to be getting worse.
Once you have one or more of these reactions it is important to find out exactly what you are allergic to and in what products these substances are found.
How do you find out if it is PPD allergy?
See a doctor for an allergy test. With this test you can prove that it is a PPD allergy. So it can also be another substance that you are allergic to . A small example one of the colors in our salon is used citrus , a customer had an allergic reaction but that was not PPD but she turned out to be allergic to citrus fruits. So always ask for an allergy test.
Doing your own allergy test
The manufacturers of hair dye always cover themselves by including in the instructions that you must first do an allergy test. 99% of people do not do this, but if you are hypersensitive or have had a reaction to dye, you better do it.
How to do an allergy test yourself
Doing it yourself is very simple: Take a small amount of the paint you want to use, smear it on the inside of your arm and stick a plaster on it. Leave on for 24-48 hours and then remove the plaster. If you see a reaction around the spot then you know you are probably allergic. go to a doctor to make sure. If you don't see anything you can just color.
How can you color without PPD?
Sorry. Bad news: All permanent hair dyes contain PPD or PTD (also the PPD free hair dyes!). Do you want to gamble that your PPD allergy is not a PTD allergy then you can indeed use the colors without PPD such as CHI, Colorwell, etc. but it is always risky.
Colors without PPD and PTD are pure henna (so no Henna PLUS) and other 100% vegetable colors. Usually these are not gray coverage but give the hair a nice tint and cover up the gray hair a bit.
Another option is the Organic No limits a semi-permanent color with no PPD or PTDs but it is also not completely gray opaque but it does give a nice color and can cover up gray hair reasonably well.
Contact allergy, also called contact eczema or allergic contact dermatitis, can occur after the skin comes into contact with chemicals. Personal care products, cleaning products, jewelry, shoes and clothing, among others, may contain chemicals that can cause contact eczema.
Nickel, fragrances and some preservatives most often cause contact allergy. One to two days after skin contact, the symptoms of the allergy appear in the form of redness, itching, swelling and bumps.
Contact allergy can be diagnosed by a dermatologist (skin specialist). It is important to know what substance(s) you are allergic to. There is no treatment to cure contact allergy. Allergic symptoms can be prevented by avoiding skin contact with the chemical(s).
Treatment of a PPD allergy
In most cases, the family doctor prescribes prednisone or corticoids. Corticoids are anti-inflammatory drugs that are generic to the hormones of the adrenal cortex. Also, a corticoid-based cream is often prescribed.
Natural hair dyes without PPD
If you wish to dye your hair, use natural hair dyes without PPD such as, Henna Colour Creations or Hennaplus Colour Powder from the Frenchtop brand. Natural henna is also an option and the hair dyes from Santé, Naturtint and Logona are also recommended. The hair dyes can be purchased at local health stores and nature shops.
Mebely Connors is a retired health care professional. For the past 4 years, she has been working from home, writing for different publications. She specializes in health and nutrition-related articles.