Imagine going into your local hair salon to update your color. You meet with your stylist, she dyes your hair a lovely dark shade and everything looks great—you’re a happy customer. That is until the next day, when your scalp starts itching and your head swells up to the size of a balloon. Unbelievable? Check out these before-and-after images currently making the rounds on the Internet.
Imgur user, thechosenginger, posted these unbelievable photos on Reddit showcasing her friend’s nightmarish reaction to hair dye. In the thread, thechosenginger says her friend used that dye before “so it wasn’t expected,” and was rushed to the ER a few days after she went to the salon.
It would be easy to chalk this up to a freak accident, but having this allergic reaction to hair dye isn’t exactly unheard of; in fact, it’s happened to one of our editors. What people are reacting negatively to is paraphenylenediamine (PPD), an ingredient found in permanent hair dye that allows for, particularly, dark color to withstand fading.
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According to Montclair, NJ, dermatologist, Jeanine Downie, MD, allergic reactions to PPD are becoming more common. “As hair solutions get cheaper, the reactions to PPD only get stronger,” she says.
Not everyone will react to PPD the same or within the same timeframe. “For some people, it’s instant,” says Dr. Downie. “For others, it takes time and could happen after a few more sessions.”
If you believe you’re having a reaction to PPD, Dr. Downie says to look out for any signs of swelling, redness or itching of your scalp, and even hair loss. Any severe reaction must be seen immediately and followed with an appointment with a dermatologist to get a patch test. Dr. Downie also advises to resist scratching your scalp and to take any oral antihistamine, like Claritin.
The silver lining here is that not all hair dyes contain PPD. Our tip? Try looking for salons that carry professional color lines that are PPD-free like the Wella Koleston Perfect Innosense line and always do a patch test, even if you’re going to a professional. In these types of cases, it’s better to be safe than sorry.