How are hair dye allergies caused?How to Prevent it?

Nov 18, 2022 by Adhip

Many hair dyes can be irritating and may even lead to allergies. If someone is allergic to hair dye, they are most likely allergic to one of the chemicals in the dye rather than the entire product

Some people react to contact with various substances in a way that causes inflammation of the skin. This is known as “Contact Dermatitis” A majority of cases of allergic Contact Dermatitis caused by hair dye products are the result of exposure to a chemical called paraphenylenediamine (PPD).

The risks of hair dye are avoidable as long as you know what to do. Simply follow some basic guidelines for safe use and so you can avoid reactions.

Symptoms of hair dye allergies

There’s an important distinction between being sensitive to PPD or other hair dye ingredients and having allergies. A sensitivity may cause contact dermatitis symptoms like burning, stinging, or dry, red skin.

Some hair dye allergies can be mild, other cases are more severe. The symptoms may take either a few hours or up to two days to occur.

Hair dye allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchiness or swelling of the scalp and face
  • swollen eyelids, lips, hands, or a red rash anywhere on the body
  • stinging or burning sensation on the scalp, face, and neck
  • Hives may also occur after hair dye application.

Anaphylactic shock

Some people have long-term hair dye allergies, which are rare and can be lethal. With this form of allergies, some people have anaphylactic reactions which are very dangerous and life-threatening

Symptoms may include irritation of the skin, inflammation of the face and respiratory tract, difficulty breathing, decrease in blood pressure with a fast heart rate, and loss of consciousness.

What are hair dye allergies Causing Substance PPD?

The chemical paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is found in temporary tattoo ink, printer ink, and gasoline. It usually comes with an oxidizer in its bottle when it’s in beauty boxes for hair dye. The darker the color of the hair dye, means there’s higher level of this chemical.

PPD is one of the ingredients in a typical hair coloring product.

The PPD in hair dye usually reacts with peroxide to alter the color. It becomes partially oxidized before it has completed the reaction, which increases its risk of interacting with the skin and causing an allergic reaction.

Is PPD the only cause of hair dye allergies?

PPD is often found in commercial hair dyes being sold under many alternative names. These include some names such as PPDA, 1,4-Benzenediamine, and Phenylenediamine base.

Although the label of this product is “natural,” it has some ingredients that can make it seem more artificial. The only way to be sure what’s in it is by reading the ingredients label, which might include words like:

  • phenylenediamine
  • paraphenylenediamine
  • PPDA
  • p-phenylenediamine
  • 4 phenylenediamine
  • 4 aminoaniline
  • 1,4-diaminobenzene

You might also see para toluene diamine (PTD) in hair dye. Exposure to PTD may cause an allergic reaction.

Many different chemicals can cause allergic reactions. Some people get contact allergic dermatitis and other symptoms from, for example, ammonia, resorcinol, or peroxide

Is PPD safe for Hair?

It’s safe to use hair dyes with PPD, but you need to have a bit more information on what to do. These products are strictly in control, and there’s a maximum limit on the amount of PPD that can be in the product.

You shouldn’t use temporary tattoos because the paste often contains high levels of PPD, which can increase the risk of an allergic reaction the next time you are using it.

Avoiding products with PPD

A PPD allergy doesn’t go away, so if you regularly use hair dye with this ingredient, you may want to think about alternative solutions.

Consider switching to a safer alternative, such as non permanent PPD-free hair dye. It is still possible, though rare, to develop a reaction to these products if you are hypersensitive.

Alternatives to PPD

Plenty of effective non-PPD hair dyes are available and they come in a wide range of colors.


Some people try to avoid allergens by using henna. It is an organic type of dye and has been used for centuries in some cultures. The pure dye you should use doesn’t contain any PPD.

Henna wands come in a range of colors, from orange brown to the deep red shade you get when coffee and henna are mixed.

Henna is generally considered to be more allergy friendly, though there are still a few people who could react. Test with a henna dye if you want to be sure.

Semi-permanent & lead containing dyes

Hair dyes can be either semi permanent or permanent. In some cases, hair dyes contain substances such as lead which may not always be safe for everyone. A dermatologist is your best bet for finding out what type of dye suits you and your needs best.

The options also include indigo and vegetable based dyes and semi-permanent dyes that have been certified by a lab to be free of any chemicals

Treating hair dye Allergies

There are some common treatments for allergies from hair dyes that you can try from home. Have a look at these options:

  • If you have an immediate, mild allergies reaction to the dye, rinse it off immediately and thoroughly with warm water and mild soap or shampoo.
  • Applying a solution of permanganate of potash to the affected area should do the trick. The deep oxidation should help properly oxidize all PPD, which will prevent you from getting an allergic reaction. PPD only causes allergic reactions when it’s in the partially oxidized state.
  • Try treating dermatitis symptoms like a skin rash with an over-the-counter topical corticosteroid skin cream. These creams can go on your face and neck, but should not be used near the eyes or mouth
  • It is best to use shampoos containing topical corticosteroids.
  • Pour hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball and dab it on the affected areas. It’s a mild antiseptic, which may help to calm the skin and reduce irritation and blistering.

If your symptoms don’t improve or get worse, also, if they cause you to distress that interferes with your ability to function, get in touch with a doctor immediately.

There are many ways to get relief from prescription-strength corticosteroids. Creams, lotions, eye drops, ear drops, and pills are just some of the possible medicines available.

How to prevent reactions

You might be allergic to a product or substance at any time, even if you’ve used it before. That’s why it’s important to do a patch test before continuing use, even with something you normally use. If hair dye has caused an allergic reaction,

If you use black facial temporary tattoos, you might be exposed to additional amounts of PPD. Using this type of tattoo can also make you more prone to an allergic reaction the next time you dye your hair.

If someone is sensitive to perphenidizine, they may also be allergic to other substances. Benzocaine, a popular dental and hair-related anesthetic, and marcaine are two examples. Make sure your doctor, dentist, or any other individual handling you know if you have any allergies


Anybody who uses hair dye can have allergic reactions at any time. Some people are allergic to the ingredient called PPD – check labels if you’re not sure. If your brand contains the ingredient, consider switching to a brand that doesn’t use it or wear gloves and a smock when applying it.

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