Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more instances of people having allergic reactions to hair dye and the burning question is – how to treat it? First of all, we have to be aware of the risks that chemicals in hair dyes can bring with them. The allergic reactions happen mostly due to a chemical called para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, which is a well known allergen and irritant. It can cause a skin reaction called contact dermatitis that can make the skin inflamed, dry, red, itchy, and irritated.
In general, hair dyes that contain PPD are safe to use, provided that you follow the instructions and follow the safety regulations noted on the package. Since this chemical is on the allergen list, it is regulated so that the maximum limit of the amount of PPD that a product can contain. So, how to avoid and treat allergic reactions to hair dye?
Signs of an allergic reaction
Signs of an allergic reaction to a hair dye can be mild or severe. Mild ones include redness, itchiness, scabby, and you may experience a stinging and burning sensation on your scalp.
More severe reactions however, can be much more detrimental. If you have an allergy to PPD, your scalp and face can start to swell and itch, you may get a nettle rash all over your body, and feel ill and sluggish. Note that a severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylactic shock, can occur within minutes! Here are some signs of it: skin rash, red skin, swelling of the eyes, lips, feet, and hands (the swelling of the eyelids can become so severe that the eyes can close completely), lightheadedness, feeling faint, swelling of the tongue, throat, and mouth, trouble breathing, nausea and vomiting, and finally, unconsciousness. If this is the case, call the ambulance immediately so they can give you an adrenaline injection, or use one of your own if you have it.
Patch test: Prevention over treatment, that is the best way to go. Always make sure to do a patch test before you use a semi-permanent of permanent hair dye, even if you have not changed brands in years. You never know when a brand will decide to alter the ingredients, so being safe is definitely better than being sorry here.
To do a patch test, dab a small amount of dye behind your ear or on the skin of your inner elbow and let it dry. Let 24 hours pass, and if there is no reaction, the dye is safe to use!
Precautions: If the patch test has gone well, you can safely use the hair dye, however, there are a few extra precautions you can take to avoid irritation. Do not leave the dye on for longer than what the instructions say. This will not make your color any more vibrant, and it will just elevate the risk of an allergic reaction. Always wear gloves when you are applying the hair color. When you’re done, make sure to rinse all the hair dye off thoroughly.
Remedies for Mild Reactions
If your allergic reaction is mild and you are not at a risk of an anaphylactic shock, there are some things you can do to relieve the discomfort. First of all, rinse your scalp and hair thoroughly using cool water and mild, sulfate-free shampoo to remove all the hair dye. Apply a moisturizing hair treatment and skin treatment to the affected areas.
If your skin is very sore and red, try a topical corticosteroid cream that can be bought over the counter, which can relieve some of the symptoms and help you feel better. Of course, if you have experienced any kind of reaction, try to avoid using hair dyes that contain PPD, and steer clear of other products that contain it, such as black henna. There is a chance that your body will develop a more serious reaction the next time you use it, so better to just stay away and use products that do not contain that chemical ever again.
Listed below are some of the most popular treatments and home remedies for allergic reactions to hair dye, so go ahead and try some of them.
Easy to use and present in every household, baking soda is great when it comes to fighting off those nasty allergic reactions. Simply add some baking soda to your mild shampoo and wash your hair with it several times a week. Also, you can make a baking soda paste and mix that with your shampoo each time you wash your hair. Leave the mixture of baking soda and shampoo on for about 30 minutes and wash it off. This concoction will help in removing all the remaining hair dye that might have stuck on your scalp and provide relief from the discomfort that comes with the allergic reaction.
Oatmeal baths can do wonders for your skin, so go ahead and add about two cups of uncooked oats to your bath water. Soak in the bath for about 20-30 minutes and you will feel better in no time! Oatmeal is known for its ability to calm the skin and reduce irritation and swelling.
Honey is a known healing agent that comes straight from nature. It is beneficial not only for internal, but for external use as well, and when mixed with olive oil, it is great for soothing the irritation caused by an allergic reaction. To make a honey mask, you will need one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix the ingredients well until they combine and apply the mixture to your scalp while massaging gently. Leave it on for about half an hour and wash off with water and a mild shampoo.
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer that can help in soothing your irritated scalp. It is very easy to use – just massage your scalp with a bit of coconut oil and leave it on for about 25 minutes. After that, wash it out with a mild shampoo and use daily for best results.
Mint not only goes into salads and makes delicious teas, it can also help you soothe the redness and itchiness caused by hair dye! To use it as an anti-allergy remedy, boil a fistful of mint leaves for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and let the concoction cool down. Then, take a cotton ball and dip it in the fragrant mixture and rub on your scalp. You can also pour the mint “tea” in ice trays and freeze it, and later use the ice cubes for an added cooling effect.
Chamomile tea is a great remedy for an itchy and irritated scalp, it is easily found, easily used, and best of all, gives great results! All you have to do is make some chamomile tea, let it cool down, and wash your scalp once or twice a day with this tea to relieve the irritation and itching caused by an allergic reaction to your hair dye. Added bonus – sip the tea every day for numerous health benefits it brings!
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been used for centuries as a treatment for skin issues, so why not give it a go here? There are several ways in which you can use it. One method includes a few drops of tea tree oil in a tablespoon of olive oil which you can warm up a little bit and then apply to your scalp while massaging gently. Rinse after about 20 minutes and repeat several times a week until your skin starts feeling fresh and healthy again.
It sounds odd but it works! Homemade mayonnaise can help the irritated scalp and soothe the itching and redness caused by a hair dye. Make a mayonnaise using eggs and olive oil and apply to your scalp. Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes and wash off with warm water and a mild shampoo. You can repeat this three times a week for best results. Also, save some of it for a delicious sandwich you can munch on while your hair mask is doing its magic.
Aloe Vera is a magical plant with numerous benefits to the skin and it is excellent for the soothing of the irritation and itching. You can use the gel from a fresh plant or a store bought version for this. Simply massage the gel into your scalp gently and leave it on for about 10 minutes. After that, wash it off with cool water and mild shampoo.