Why Hair Dye Allergies Are Nothing to Sneeze At

Hair dye allergies are the last thing on your mind when you look in the mirror and see your first gray hair! If you're like most of us, you want to look great without a lot of expense or hassle. You'd think that most hair coloring products would be safe, since they are sitting right there on the drugstore shelf, promising gorgeous hair!

Well, unfortunately for some people, the strong chemicals in many hair color products can cause an allergic reaction to hair dye. This could be as mild as some itching on your eyelids or on the top of your ears, or it could be more severe.

A hair dye allergy doesn't always show up on the scalp, which has a thicker layer of protective skin than other parts of our body. You could develop an allergic reaction like contact dermatitis, itching or redness on your face, neck, chest or upper back.

In a small number of cases, hair dye allergies can be quite serious. Just today I saw in the news three articles about women who ended up in the intensive care unit because of a bad reaction to their hair coloring products! Sadly, this can happen even if you have used a skin patch test to see if your body is sensitive to the hair coloring products.

Some of the more severe reactions to chemicals in hair coloring include swelling of the face and eyes, difficulty breathing and even a whole body allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis which can be life threatening. Yikes! There must be a better way to look beautiful!

Chemicals in Hair Dye

When you read the labels of most hair coloring products, it is a little daunting. The long list of chemical names makes you wonder exactly what all those things will do to your body! I can tell you from the research I've done, that many of these ingredients are irritating to the skin.

The most problematic of all the ingredients is called PPD, also known as p-phenylenediamine or paraphenylenediamine. PPD is used most often in permanent hair coloring products, as well as lipsticks and even some tattoo colorings. It is also used in oil and printing inks, and even wigs and fur coats.

People who develop hair dye allergies are sensitive to what is called "partially oxidized PPD". Most PPD hair coloring products are packaged in two separate bottles, and when they are mixed, the PPD blends with oxygen. In this partially oxidized state, those who are sensitive to the PPD can develop a reaction to the hair dye.

Options for Hair Dye for Sensitive Skin

If you have had a reaction to hair coloring products and yet would still like to have gorgeous hair, there are several options which can help you to safely color your hair.

Hypoallergenic Hair Dye - Although many products which claim to be hypoallergenic actually can be quite irritating, if you educate yourself a bit about cosmetic ingredients, you can quickly discover which ones are best for sensitive skin. There are vegetable based hair colorings which offer safer alternatives.

One way to find these is to visit your local health food store and read the labels on their natural hair dyes to see which ones may be safe for people with hair dye allergies.

Henna Hair Dye - Henna creates natural highlights for hair and while not a permanent hair color, can help to cover some white or gray hair and is not irritating or damaging to hair. Some natural hair coloring products contain henna with other ingredients. Henna may need to be reapplied several times until you get the desired results.

Homemade Hair Dye - A strong mixture of sage and rosemary tea is said to be able to restore natural hair coloring to gray hair. Black tea or coffee can be used as a natural hair coloring for brunette or red hair. Lemon juice mixed with chamomile tea will lighten hair naturally, when used in conjunction with the sun. Rosehips or cloves tea will bring out red highlights in hair. These methods need to be used every day for several weeks to see results.

There are many additional natural hypoallergenic hair care options that can help you have gorgeous hair without developing hair dye allergies or other sensitive skin reactions.

M Rochell is the editor of, and has over 30 years first hand experience dealing with allergies and sensitive skin. For tips on how to reduce or eliminate hair dye allergies, and how to quickly learn whether your hair coloring products are safe, get our free eBook Clear ANY Skin Problem Naturally.

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