Allergic reactions to hair dyes affect up to 5% of the people who use permanent hair dye colors. Areas affected are normally the scalp, neck, ears, face and eyes but in severe cases the allergic reaction will affect the whole body. Common symptoms are itching, inflammation, soreness, swelling and open sores that will weep. Reactions can range from mild to such severity that the individual will need hospitalization. Treatments for allergies to hair dye will depend on the severity of the reaction.
In most cases the allergic reaction to chemical hair colors is put down to the presence of a substance known as para-phenylenediamine (PPD) in the dye. Some countries have been so alarmed by the effect of PPDs that in the past they have banned its inclusion in hair dyes. The most common reaction is a type of contact dermatitis.
If your allergic reaction to hair dye is severe then you will need to seek medical assistance immediately.
For milder cases, doctors and dermatologists recommend the following action:
- Wash your hair thoroughly with a mild shampoo to ensure you have removed all residual traces of hair dye that may exacerbate your problem. Shampoo that contains tea-tree may help to soothe the irritation.
- Add uncooked oatmeal to your bath water. Allow water to cool to lukewarm before soaking yourself for 20 minutes. The oatmeal will relieve some of the irritation and soreness.
- Cortisone cream can be applied directly to the affected area, even the scalp, if the skin is unbroken. It will reduce inflammation and relieve some of the itching you may be experiencing.
- Aloe Vera gel can be directly applied in mild cases for its soothing properties. Aloe Vera can bring relief to many skin disorders and also insect bites, burns and wounds.
- Chamomile tea can be used to bathe any sore or inflamed areas and this may offer some relief.
- Anti-histamines may help to reduce symptoms caused by allergic reactions and for localized inflammation. These can be obtained as an over the counter medicine from pharmacies.
There are no cures for allergic reactions to hair dyes. If you have had an allergic reaction once then this will continue every time you use hair dye and may increase in severity. In some cases an individual has used hair dyes for years and then suddenly develops an allergy. The best solution is to color hair naturally using chemical free dyes.
A few companies are attempting to develop hair dyes that are free from certain chemicals and therefore don’t cause any allergic reaction.
The treatments for allergic reactions to hair dye listed here will provide some relief but medical advice should always be sought for anything other than the mildest of cases.