How Dangerous Is Your Hair Dye?

Posted by November 23, 2011 1:48 pm

After a recent report about a British woman who had an allergic reaction to her hair dye and fell into a coma, it made us re-think how safe it is to be constantly dying our hair.

The 38-year-old woman was a frequent user, reportedly dying her hair every six weeks for the last several years (according to the BBC). This number is not uncommon for most women who use dye though — 6 to 8 weeks is the usual number (we have roots!) and whether we use an at-home dye or go to a stylist in a salon, chemicals are involved. The chemical which is being blamed for putting the woman mentioned above in a coma is called para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, and can be found in almost all at-home hair dyes.

According to the Deccan Chronicle, there have been suicide attempts in which people consume hair dye and the death rates are often high due to the disastrous effects of inhaling or consuming PPD. But, although the chemical is harmful, most dye companies do not ban it because it helps to ensure that the color will be long-lasting.

Experts note that if you want to check to see if your brand uses PPD, the best way to do so is to look out for two bottles in your pack. If there are two bottles, one of them (the colorless one) will be the PPD solution.

There are of course warnings on all of the packages about testing a small patch of skin before you dye your entire head, but it’s hard to know what damage you are doing over time, like in the case of the woman mentioned above — who suddenly collapsed after years of using the same formula.

We think it’s better to be safe than sorry!

[Jezebel] [Deccan Chronicle]

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  1. Karen Belinger says:

    Any allergist will tell you patch tests are not reliable. Dupont the manufacturer of the carcinogenic chemical in hair dye states in their MSD-sheet to use a protective cap, but hair dye companies only include gloves.
    A cap blends youthful glamorous looks and camouflages roots for attractive longer lasting safe results.

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