The New Hair Dye Danger

Different colors of wavy hair strandsWhat is PPD? And…have you already put it in your hair without knowing it?

According to dermatologists, a surprisingly high number of hair dyes have various types of potential allergens, many of which can cause rashes on your scalp, neck and chest.

During a recent presentation at the 24th Annual Meeting of the American Contact Dermatitis Society , research from 100 hair dyes was presented. The results? 89% of the products were found to have phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause a condition called allergic contact dermatitis.

“There’s no real reason your body should identify PPD as a pathogen, but sometimes, it does. So it activates an immune response that results in a rash,” says Dathan Hamann, a researcher at the University of Arizona who presented the study.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end with PPD: the researchers also found that hair dyes have, on average, up to six different dye compounds that can potentially pose a health risk.

Based on this study, experts recommend that:

  • If your current hair dye doesn’t cause a reaction, you should be safe to keep using it (though you may still want to do a patch test before application).
  • If you aren’t currently using hair dye, conduct a patch test before application.
  • If you notice a reaction, be sure to consult with your doctor and/or a dermatologist.

Also, you may want to consider having a REAL patch test done, especially if you’ve previously had a reaction, or if you’ve never used hair color before.

“It’s not just putting a spot of dye on your skin per the product’s instructions,” Hamann explains. “It’s when your dermatologist applies different compounds to the skin to identify the root of the problem.”