Hair Coloring

Allergic Reaction To Hair Dye: Never Again {Remedies}

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I agree with you that an allergic reaction to hair dye can be the worst nightmare that occurs during the day.

This one of the worst thing that will ever happen to your head or hair, because the symptoms it produces, are just like death warming.

But, if you are a victim, then right here in this post am going to show you the quickest way to relieve the symptoms, pains, and reaction before going to the hospital, if necessary.

But before then I will love to share a short story with you. Just be patient and read.

I pray he never suffers an allergic reaction to hair dye again in life, it hurts. I felt so sorry for him when he entered my salon to shave off his long-time trained hair with a swollen face (it’s over 6 months+ now if I am not mistaken).

This isn’t the first, second or the third time he dyed his hair, but this time around, the whole story changed. John wanted to meet his new girlfriend at the nearest city (Won’t mention the city name) and felt like he needed to look good by dyeing hair gold.

So he entered a salon there and got what he will never wish for his enemies. To cut the story short, he lost 30% of his hair, he experienced severe itching on the scalp, swollen head, headache and redness with severe pain.

Note: Right here you will learn what it means to be allergic to dye, causes, symptoms and the quickest home remedies that work like magic.

Quick Bites:

Let’s Continue.

After shaving off everything (now bald head) several questions popped into my head some of them are viz:

  • This isn’t the first time he dyed his hair why now?
  • What brand of hair dye made him lose hair plus the reactions within a few hours?
  • Is it permanent, semi-permanent or temporary dye that was used on his hair?
  • What is an allergic reaction to hair dye?

This and many more questions kept coming in, but no answer came. So I quickly decided to research why this happened, symptoms, causes and the treatments. now, this is what I found.

Meanwhile, during my research, I discovered that he is not the only person that is allergic to hair dye. Lots of people out there in forums cried and vowed never to dye their hair, while some kept seeking for help and alternatives.

Let’s get started.

What Does It Mean To Be Allergic To Hair Dye?

When someone is allergic to hair dye, his or her system reacts against certain chemical(s) in the dye, and most times physical outcome (symptoms) are severe, painful and terrible.

You might be wondering, How do these reactions occur? Well according to verywellheath “the body will release a substance known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) into the bloodstream.

The release of IgE will trigger the eruption of specialized white blood cells, known as mast cells, which flood the body with histamine. Histamine is the very substance which triggers the cascade of symptoms we recognize as an allergy.”


Just keep it in mind that allergic reaction to hair dye can last up to 2 days, sometimes more than, it is dependent on how your system reacts to it (either too early or late)

Early Signs

The early reaction stage differs in every human, but most cases at the initial stage of reaction:

-The scalp, ears, beards or any part near the affected area starts itching, turn red or becomes inflamed.

-Irritation: Some skin is faster and easily sensitive to chemicals, due to this, irritation signs usually start appearing either immediately or later (but it doesn’t exceed more than 48 hours after exposure)

Later Signs

Swelling of the affected region and some parts of the body that is close to the part that is been exposed.

Difficulty in breathing and swallowing which may lead to wheezing and sneezing.

One thing you should have in mind is that “The signs started shooting out of John this way, mine will start the same way it started with John if am allergic“. Hell No, if you are allergic to it, the later signs might be the early sign in your case.

For example:

Most people will discover that their skin may become stretched, dry, or even cracked. The scalp may tighten or feel as if it is burning in the early stage, while some experience it after some days or even not all.

Sorry if am repeating myself again and again, just that I want to emphasize on this very well.


The one chemical responsible for most of the dye allergy cases is Para-phenylenediamine (PPD). Though it’s not the only chemical that can cause allergy, other dye ingredients do cause a reaction, but it’s very rare.

Don’t be scared too early; as recommended by dermatologists and doctors, PPD or other dye ingredients are less harmful, but lots of people react to it for some reasons that are best known and answered by the professionals.

According to Wikipedia, PPD can come with different names like.

  • Benzene-1,4-diamine
  • Paraphenylenediamine
  • 1,4-Diaminobenzene
  • 1,4-Phenylenediamine and many more.

To be honest with you, No hair dye in the stores or supermarket that doesn’t contain PPD, because it is what actually gives hair its color after been exposed to air, just that you need proper guide, caution, common sense and quality dye that has PPD in its appropriate quantity (1%-3%).

Quick Home Remedies

If negative effects start to show off early, just wash it off with warm water and shampoo immediately. But if signs came late, do this instead.

1. Apply Hydrogen Peroxide: It helps to oxidize the PPD, thereby making it non-reactive. But If the worsen the situation, discard hydrogen peroxide and go for other remedies.

3. Apply Unrefined Shea Butter From Africa On The Affected Areas: Apart from Benadryl, Shea butter works like magic to relieve the swelling, inflammation, and pains. The only thing that you might find displeasing is the smell (Because it is unrefined).

But if you can withstand it, then you made the right choice. Not only for allergy issues, but you can also use it on anybody of any age for other skin related problems. Other issues like hair loss and severe headache, I will recommend you consult the doctor.

How And When To Use Shea Butter.

You can apply shea butter on any part of your body at any time, any day. All you just need to do is apply it like body cream on the parts that are reacting, watch and wait to see it perform the African magic.

3. Use Steroid Creams And Olive Oil: Studies has stated that olive oil reduces the risk of dermatitis, also steroid cream may be used to reduce inflammation, swelling and irritation, if the case is less severe.

Safety Precautions To Avoid Reactions

As the old African man proverb says “Prevention is better than cure”. You should play safe and apply caution than to be ignorant and turn to big-headed or face dude. Lol.

  1. Firstly, never change the brand of dye you were using before because the new dye might not favor you.
  2. Ensure you wear gloves and wash your hands before and after application.
  3. Patch testing is a must: Before you apply any dye on your hair, make sure you have tested it on some parts of your body that can be easily covered by clothes. If you react to the dye while patch testing, just discards it and go for another brand or alternative. This testing should be done 72 hours before the D-day to know and see its full effects. Don’t do it yourself, it is recommended you consult professionals.
  4. Follow the instructions by the manufacturer to avoid over or under usage problems.
  5. Wash hair thoroughly and don’t wash too early or too late. Be accurate with your timing.

Allergy To Hair Dye Alternatives

You simply can’t stop dyeing your hair, but you are allergic to hair dye. What can do next? It’s simple just look for an alternative, and here is one.

If you want to avoid allergens totally, one of the most natural types of hair dye to use is henna, though it’s not common, that is, you can’t find it in every part of the country.

I have witnessed most cases were my client ended up buying fake henna that has hidden PPD. So when purchasing make sure that you buy only pure henna.

Other Alternatives includes tree dyes, vegetable dyes and semi-permanent dyes that have been certified by an expert to be free of harsh and toxic chemical additives.

Pictures Of Allergic Reaction To Hair Dye

You might be asking what does allergic reaction to hair dye look like? Here is a snapshot of some victims.




FAQs On Allergic Reaction To Hair Dye

Q: How Long Does An Allergy To Hair Dye Last?

Allergy to hair dye can last more than 6 days if not treated early. Some cases become so severe to the extent that it can exceed more than 6 days. It is also dependent on the type of skin and the chemical responsible for the reaction.

Q: What Hair Color Is PPD Free?

There are lots of hair color dye that is PPD free, you just have to manually check the ingredients listed by the manufacturer. Getting black and brown refined dye without PPD is very rare.

Q: Do Semi Permanent Hair Dyes Contain PPD.

Yes, some contain PPD, while some don’t, as I said earlier you just need to check out the dye pack for its constitutes.

Q: Am Allergic To hair Dye What Can I Use To Cover Grey Hair?

Henna is a good alternative to cover grey hair if you are allergic to the dye.


After all up and downs, we have fully discussed the allergic reaction to hair dye and its quick remedies.

If any of the above-listed remedies didn’t work for you, then we highly recommend you visit a doctor near you.

If you also have stories or remedy that worked for you, Do well to let us know through our mail or comment section so we can update our post for others with a similar problem.

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