Learn from my Experience - Severe Allergic Reaction to Hair Dye
(Brisbane, Qld, Australia)
In February 2012 I went to a popular hair salon franchise in my local area, to have my hair streaked. My head started to feel very hot, when I told the hair dresser my head felt hot she said "don't be silly you still have a while to go" she took the cap off and my hair was smouldering. Quickly she rinsed off the bleach, my hair was a disaster. I had been lightening my hair for 30yrs and never had this happened, they blamed my shampoo and conditioner claiming the bleach was burning through the silicone coating left over from the shampoo and conditioner. I called the manager the next day as I felt totally ridiculous and needed to have something done to my hair to make me look as normal as possible. Two days later I had a colour filer put on my hair followed by the colour of my choice. My head felt all tingly, I thought my head was slightly sensitive from the streaks two days prior. Half an hour later I started to feel light headed and nauseous thinking I was going to pass out I told the hairdresser I felt really unwell and could they remove the colour. I left the salon as quickly as possible, but upon arriving home my symptoms worsened, my face felt as though it was burning then my head felt like it was going to explode. I rang for an ambulance as I was becoming increasing distressed, I then started to experience extreme stomach cramping, the ambulance arrived and quickly rushed me to the emergency department as I was having a
severe allergic reaction to the hair dye. After a course of antihistamine and steroids the symptoms started to subside. The headache persisted for seven days. I recently contacted the company to request samples of the product, as per the advice of my doctor, needed to perform sensitivity testing. The company refused to provide samples and if I wanted to take it further I had to go through the Office of Fair Trading. I am disgusted in these companies who know the potential health effects of their products and refused to accept any responsibility. My intention was not lay blame, I just want to protect myself and find out what exactly caused the reaction. Because the company is refusing to provide samples of their product I have to question why. I thought their company charter would be about customer satisfaction and the health and safety of the consumer.
On a positive note I have found a fantastic salon that specialises in organic products. They have provided me with advice and samples of their products to take to the allergy specialist. This is a small business dedicated to health and wellbeing of their customers and staff.
I am taking the necessary steps to prevent any future reactions from hair dyes. When I look at my hair I cry and when I wash it it feels like cotton wool as it is so fragile. To anyone considering hair dye, perform a patch test, better yet look at the alternatives to chemical hair dyes. Talk to your hairdresser, you need to feel confident in their knowledge and ability to look after your hair and safety.