What is and what are the symptoms of allergic reaction to hair dye? How do you treat such allergies or what do to do to stop them? Get info on causes, treatments, symptoms and hypoallergenic hair dyes. You will also learn on testing.
With the many brands available in almost available in almost any color, you are likely to get into the temptation of buying any dye and trying it without testing to see if you are allergic to it or not. Who bothers testing for allergy to a new dying product when it worked just fine for your friend?
Unfortunately, upon using it, you realize you are allergic, so what are some the symptoms you will show? What about ways of treating these allergies? We will discuss all these and much more.
What causes the allergic reaction?
People, especially those with sensitive skins, can suffer from hair colorings and dyes allergies more often than those who have normal skin. Furthermore, people who are fond of permanent dyes, especially the darker or black ones will suffer from these commonly allergic reactions since they contain Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and other chemicals such as resorcinol used in varying the dye color, ammonia for reaction and peroxide (especially hydrogen peroxide) to help fix the dyes (oxygen donors).
The above chemicals often cause cross-sensitivity to other chemicals. For instance, other chemicals, which have shown moderate sensitivity to a few people who have already been sensitized (cross sensitized) include azo dyes (found in temporary dyes, medications, and foods), benzocaine (local dental anesthesia) Para-aminobenzoic acid (common preservative to lotions, sunscreens, and creams) etc.
Symptoms and signs
When you suffer from a hair dye allergic reaction, you are bound to experience some symptoms directly on the affected area (contact dermatitis allergic reactions) or suffer from systematic symptoms on other parts of the body because of using the dye. For both the two scenarios, the symptoms might be mild or severe.
Localized allergies might cause irritation that often affects the scalp, forehead, hairline, neck region, eyelids or ears where you will suffer from itchy and tingling sensation, urticaria or nettle rash, inflamed patches, flaky red rashes, lesions, generally feeling unwell and at times anaphylaxis.
Another common symptom you may experience is facing swelling. This might happen whether the dye came into contact with your face or not.
There are many other symptoms, which may vary from one person to another as well as the specific brand that caused this problem.
How long does it last?
The above symptoms often begin showing within two to three days from the time you dye your hair. They might then last for several days or weeks depending allergy treatments given as well as the extent to which you were affected.
Mild cases might go away after a few days while serious ones may take longer to heal.
Diagnosis and testing for allergies
If you realize you suffer from allergic reactions from hair dyes, you need to undergo tests to know the exact chemicals it that cause your allergies. There are two ways of going about it where you can do a patch test at home if you have never suffered from any severe allergic reaction or go for a formal patch test in a dermatological clinic.
If you opt for patch test at home, you need to take a small amount the dye solution and put it behind your ear, inner elbow, or on your neck region and leave it there, for at least 48 hours uncovered. If nothing happens, the dye might be safe for use.
This should be done each time you want to use a new dye since as Dr. Rajani Katta, Dermatology Professor at BCM notes, “you can develop an allergy to a product at any point in time.” However, if you suffer from any unwellness or irritation, do not use the dye.
A more sure way of testing is undergoing a dermatological patch test in a clinic. Most of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions to hair dying and coloring as well as potential sensitizing chemicals are known. Although a limited number of chemicals will be tested as a drawback of this method, you will be able to point out which ingredients that cause allergic reactions to you.
Treatments – How to treat it
When you notice you are allergic to a certain hair dye brand or type, it is normal to want to know how to treat or what to do with in case of a reaction. This section is going to focus on treatments as well as ways to ensure you never suffer from such allergies.
Wash affected area thoroughly
The moment you notice you are allergic to the dye you have just applied, get the strongest shampoo you have or a clarifying shampoo to be specific and wash off all the dye on your hair. This will help reduce the worsening symptoms you will be experiencing.
Over the counter hydrocortisone cream for hair dyes allergies
If you are suffering from mild allergic one, you need to consider going for the over the counter hydrocortisone cream. You need to use these them for at most a week and if no positive change is noted, see a dermatologist for further treatment. Hydrocortisone cream will help in soothing the affected area.
If you have rashes on your face, you should instead go for safer tropical creams such as Protopic and Elidel, which have lesser side effects when used for longer durations as opposed to hydrocortisone topical creams.
Systematic corticosteroids and antihistamines tablets – Severe Allergies
Going on with our discussion on how to treat them, if you have severe allergic reactions, especially rashes, you should consider going for systematic corticosteroids, which will be prescribed by a dermatologist or professional healthcare personnel. They are often administered as injection or pills.
Furthermore, to treat these allergies, use any other antihistamine tablets such as Benadryl, Loratadine or Cetirizine to help contain the allergic reaction.
Stop using the dye
If you find the symptoms or effects of the allergic reaction are too serious, you need to consider not using these dyes at all. If you already have developed cross-sensitivity, stop using any of the chemicals such as azo dyes even in foods and other chemicals mentioned above. This is a great way of preventing such allergies.
Go for alternative products that may not trigger allergic reactions
As we have seen, paraphenylenediamine and other chemicals, it is a good idea to go for based on Para-amino diphenylamine (PADA), 3-nitro-p-hydroxyethyl aminophenol or para-toluene diamine (PTDA) which are much safer. They are though less dark or deeper in color but they are less sensitizer for most people. In addition, buy vegetable-based dyes or henna dyes, which normally do not cause allergic reactions.
Some of the safe products to buy include the ammonia-free hair dyes, hypoallergenic as well as all natural ones. Furthermore, use temporary hair colorings, sprays, rinses, and highlight (bleaching agents) without PPDA and go for lead oxide dyes that can help in darkening grey hair. Some of the safe brands to buy include Advanced Cosmetic Technologies Permanent Hair Coloring Kit.
Eat a good diet
Eating a good diet has been found to reduce instances people are affected by allergic reactions generally. Go for green leafy foods, carrot juice, and fruits as they help in treating a number of skin disorders. Diet is particularly important to people whose skin has been affected already and they want to treat it.
What can I use? Best hypoallergenic dyes
If you are prone to these allergies, you need to consider going for hypoallergenic brands. These are types of dyes, which causes lesser allergic reactions or none at all. Therefore, if you are fond of coloring your hair and you do not want to have allergies, you need to try these products too as they can help you deal with allergies.
With the knowledge of what hypoallergenic brands are, and how they can help in minimizing chances of suffering allergies, you might need to try them, especially best brands. Some of the best hypoallergenic hair dye brands include the following:
- Clairol Hypoallergenic Hair Color
- Aubrey Organics Color Me Natural
- No Limits Semi-Permanent Hair Color (Ammonia Free Hypoallergenic)
- Clean & Simple Hypoallergenic Conditioner for Dry/Color Treated Hair (Conditioner)
Note: Some users have experienced allergic reactions while using Herbatint Permanent Hair Color.
These are some of the best hypoallergenic brands you can go for to help reduce the instance of suffering from associated allergies.
However, before using any of the hypoallergenic dye, ensure you have done the normal allergy test for dyes to be certain they are not going to affect you, as not every product branded as hypoallergenic will not cause hair dye allergic reactions.