Learn from my Experience - Severe Allergic Reaction to Hair Dye

by Laura
(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.

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Jan 04, 2013
Soothing inflamed and oozing scalp
by: My Sensitive Skin Care

Hi Jan, I am so sorry to hear about your husbands very painful scalp sores. I recommend that if he is in the middle of an allergic reaction, that you be very, very careful about what you put on his scalp. I am not a doctor, but it has been my experience with many skin and scalp problems, that the remedies we apply to fix a skin problem can also cause more problems!

There are no easy answers except to discover exactly what is causing the allergic reaction and to minimize your exposure. I personally STOP using all products if my skin or scalp begins to break out. Then, when my skin is better I try again, one product at a time.

Most hair products today, including shampoos, contain ingredients that can be irritating or that could cause allergic reactions. For this reason, I wouldn't go out and buy more medicines to put on the scalp unless you first find out what the problem is. Then, be sure to have him do a skin test FIRST before using anything else on his scalp. That way he will not break out from whatever remedy you may use to try to heal the inflamed and painful sores. I hope this is helpful!

P.S. There are even people who stop using shampoos altogether, you can do a search for the "no shampoo" method of hair care, it is a bit radical but it works for some people who are very sensitive to hair products. This does not work for me but some people find it a very helpful way to save money and time and avoid the chemical ingredients in hair care products.

Oct 06, 2012
hair dye delimia
by: jan

My husband's scalp gets inflamed and red wells have ooze nd pain.We have tried hair products that have NO ammonia and NO peroxide in them. He still has a reaction. He is in so much pain. I rubbed hydrocortisone cream on his scalp. Please let me know of a product that he can use. Should I go to a health food and buy something that might work. Can you suggest a product.

Jun 30, 2012
A valuable sharing - thank you
by: My Sensitive Skin Care

Hi Laura,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with a very severe allergic reaction to hair dye. I am so sorry for what you went through, and am very grateful that you took the time to share so that others can prevent this kind of horrible suffering that you went through. I hope that one day hair dye companies will take better care of their customers by ensuring that they use ingredients that will not make people sick. We all want to look our best, but not at this price! Blessings to you, and I hope your new organic hair salon can be of help in finding safer solutions.

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