Avatar universal

Allergy to PPD?

Hi! I have been colouring my hair blond for 20 years using different products and brands available on the market.  I never had any problem until last time.  Around 24 hours later, my eyelids started to get itchy.  In the matter of 20 minutes, they had become very swollen.  The next day when I woke up, they were SO swollen I could not see a thing.  My lips wre also a bit swollen as well as my throat.  I was totally disfigured and stayed this way for 3 days!  HORROR!!... Have I suddenly become allergic to the PPD contained in most colorants?  Has anybody suffered such a reaction?  Do you know any alternatives to color hair safely, at least the time I go back gradually to my natural colour?  I'm stuck and very worried of what would happen if I had another episode... Please, help!
77 Responses
Avatar universal

This sounds like an allergic reaction most probably.

Have you had allergies to specific substances in the past?

You should continue with the antihistamine medications and consult your doctor immediately for your symptoms.

You should stop using the dye , till you have consulted your doctor and also talk to him/her if you need steroid medications and need to carry an epi-pen.

Let us know about how you are doing and if you have any other doubts.


Avatar universal
I too have been coloring my hair for years with no problems, and all of a sudden I am  PPD allergic. My skin and scalp is on fire for a week, and I now realize I cant color my hair anymore..It is just too dangerous now, but I don't know what to do with my hair, growing it out would be ugly for years? Any suggestions anyone?I hear Clairol Loving care is an alternative, but it is for gray hair and it is semi permanent !!
496771 tn?1209694758
I just dyed my hair the other day as well at an Aveda salon. My hair line is extremely swollen and painful and the glands behind my ears are, as well. They are sore to the touch-- am I in any danger? Will this just go away? Should I be worried? It's been about 48 hours since I dyed my hair.
Avatar universal

You could take some oral antihistamine or antiallergic medications like loratadine or cetrizine and see if it helps with your symptoms. Apply calamine lotion at the site of the lesions to help soothe the itching.

Have you had allergic reactions in the past? Are you allergic to any specific substances?

You should consult your doctor about whether steroid medications are required and you should rush to the ER if you feel that the symptoms are increasing.

Talk to your doctor if you need to carry an epi-pen and try to avoid substances that you have documented allergic reactions to.

Let us know about how you are doing and post us about what your doctor advises.

Avatar universal
Hi everyone,

I also had a severe allergic reaction to hair dye at an Aveda salon.  Like the doc suggests, I now have an epi-pen.  I had to go to Urgent Care.  It was really scary and took a long time for the symptoms to disappear.  My face was SWOLLEN!

I went to an allergist and we did a TrueTest allergy test on my back.  I am allergic to the chemical, PPD, found in all permanent hair dyes.

I tried doing a "full weave" for awhile (dye on foils where it doesn't touch your scalp).  However, I was still having some symptoms.  I now feel that it is NOT worth it.  Currently, I am using a temporary color (Clairol Loving Care) that does not have PPD.

This is a serious problem.  I truly believe it is on the rise.  I think part of the problem is that no one knows where, who to report this info to.  Therefore, I don't believe the manufacturers are aware of this growing concern.  

I have started a bulletin board for people to come share their experiences/support for people with this allergy "PPD in Hair Dye, etc.":

I hope we can work together to find alternative products etc.

Avatar universal

Its good to know that there is a gradual development of awareness on this issue.

Please keep us updated on your health and let me know if I can be of any help.

Best regards

535822 tn?1443976780
Does anyone get Hives from the hair products I too dye my hair and am trying to figure out the cause of the Hives I  have. Alaso do shampoos have PPD in them or Hair sprays, I dont Hives on my head only my neck area,I do know the heat here makes them worse but someting triggers it.Any Ideas?
Avatar universal
Yes, I also get hives.  I didn't figure this out for awhile.  I have been using Natural Instincts (beware of Clairol semi-permanent haircolors, they also have ppd).  About 2 weeks after I color my hair, my scalp intensely itches.  The last time, I had weeping wounds on the back of my head.  Dreadful.  I also get hives about 2 weeks later, but they are much worse in hot weather.  I don't plan on using semi-permanent hair color ever again.  I don't know how I'm going to deal with the transition though.  This is a serious issue, something going on here that no one is paying attention to.
I almost died and went to emergency 10 times before anyone even knew what was wrong with me
535822 tn?1443976780
I also had a reaction to the anti Histimine Hydroxyzine prescribed to me. I had  dreadful Gall bladder Symptoms ,this drug can give you virus infections, also beware of the steroids they all want to give you, there are sdie effects and if you use it long term effects from that. I have been to 2 differant Doctors and other than Prednisone they dont know anything at all.Allergists are very expensive and they dont alwasy come up with a solution I have had them several weeks now and I have found the most helpful are the Natural cures I Came up with doing research myself.
Avatar universal

It is unfortunate that you have had unpleasant experiences with the treatments that you have undergone. I totally agree to the fact that drugs may have various side effects. However, doctors usually act with good faith and are genuinely trying to give you comfort. In the internet world of things, each patient can have more freedom and choice of treatment and everyone can check the risk-benefit of using a drug on the basis of their own condition. However, it will be wrong to ask someone not to evaluate if a particular therpy prescribed by their doctor is incorrect or has side effects.

I hope my post helped clear the air a bit. let me know if you may have any other queries.
Avatar universal

I also found out that I have an allergy to PPD's. I was horrified - my whole face was swollen like a balloon. After a while of searching I found this amazing website that offered a few alternatives that did not contain PPD's. I use the Surya products and have done for months now, they are only semi-permanent but they do wonders covering my grays.
The link is www.topleaf.co.uk. I hope by sharing this information I have saved many of you searching for months like I did!

640685 tn?1223148873
Thank you for the link...!!!! I just found out that I have an allergy to PPD also....I had a deep scalp massage & hair conditioning treatment plus a hair cut & style at Aveda Salon one week ago today ( they didn't ask if I had allergies or ask about doing a patch test)......but no hair dye....at 2am the next morning I woke up with swollen ears & a red scalp.....each day it got worse....swollen face & eyes ..red, bumpy, ichy, burning scalp, ears, face & neck. Is it possible they have more products that contain PPD?
Today 1 week later I am still suffering I look terrible & still am very uncomfortable....what can we do? Has anyone every taken an action against Aveda Salons?
Why are we being subject to this horrible PPD in America????  
Avatar universal
Hi!  So sorry about your experience.  Mine was Aveda too!  I just wanted to let you know that I contacted them and alerted them to what happened to me.  

Unfortunately, I think it's one of those situations where the manufacturers are well aware of the potential risks, but, the $$ profit outweighs the risk (lawsuits).  Just my opinion.
PPD in Hair Dye:    http://www.network54.com/Forum/603111/
Avatar universal
I am suffering with sore eyes(Not an infection) and wonder if my make up has PPD in it- waterproof mascara and eye pencil. I have had an allergy to PPD for several years now so have gone grey as I couldn't find an alternative. I can cope with that but if I have to stop wearing makeup I might just as well out a bag over my head!!Can anyone help me!!
Avatar universal
I also just found out that I am allergic to the chemical PPD, my face is really swollen,  my doctor prescribed steroids (Predbusione), its been a day and a half and I havent seen a difference...am I been to anxious with wanting to see a different right away?

How long before I start to see an improvement?

Avatar universal
www.topleaf.co.uk may be great for some of you.  Here's more info.  Has anyone tried natural vegetable dyes like Henna, Indigo, Amla?  You can use them alone or all toghether.  I have used all together with great sucess.  My hair has more shine, is softer, less hair falls out and I can dye it as often as every 15 days (my grey grows in way too quick... no more crayon/mascara touch-ups).  So here's another website to read and please do your own research.  Myself: I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO CHEMICAL DYES OF ANY TYPE!

681148 tn?1437661591
Listen to the doctor and don't dye your hair any more at all.  I have done some research online and have read about natural hair dyes.  My bottom line conclusion is:  Don't even use the "natural" hair dyes.  From everything that I have read about those "natural" hair dyes is that they still use a certain amount of those nasty man-made chemicals.  

I am very allergic to everything.  I've come to the decision that I'm going to have to put up with the natural graying process and steer clear of the hair dye process altogether.  I am sure I would have a reaction even to the "natural" hair dyes, since the skin on my scalp seems to always be dry and irritated in some areas to begin with.

I did find an interesting website that talked about a process I might consider doing, if I don't have a reaction to it that uses things that most people already have in their homes and can do themselves.  It is very temporary, but it is a much more natural process for a "red" hair dye than anything else I've ever heard called natural.  It is a lengthy process, but I think it's safer to repeatedly rinse with very strong coffee or tea than to use those so-called "natural" hair dyes that I know still have man-made chemicals in them.
Avatar universal
I have been diagnosed allergic to PPD by immunologist's patch testing.  Also allergic to Neosporin and some cortisone creams.  There are cross sensitivities from PPD allergies that include those two items as well as some analgesics.  You need to notify your dentist and doctor before receiving any medications or procedures using anesthesia.  Allergy to PPD is lifelong and worsens with each exposure.  I currently have mild asthmtatic bronchitis as a result (and I have read of others who have same) and carry albutorol inhaler.  Never had anything more than cold or flu in my life.  First noticed reaction at an Aveda salon (after dyeing hair for 15 years) so changed salons with brief respite in symptoms and then problem returned.  Note Products: Derma-Smoother/FS will bring the reaction to a halt and Clobex Shampoo will effectively treat scalp if you do have a reaction.  These are presciption products and VERY expensive.  Zytec is best antihistamine to take prior to dye since it works at the IgE level which inhibits the antigen/antibody response unlike other meds which block the histamine production only after the Ag/Ab reaction has already occured.  I have stopped using dyes with PPD.  Tried Goldwell product (germany) that appeared to have no PPD.  Patch tested 48 hours prior to dye application and it was negative but still mildly (delayed) reacted when used on hair and allowed to sit for 15 minutes.  I am now having some unexplained bruising which has also been reported in literature.  Note:  PPD goes under numerous other names so you must be familiar with these to fully identifyy PPD-free products.  Highlight/lowlights cause no reaction but do not get to roots.  Bottom line, if you MUST dye your hair, go with a PPD temporary dye which will take a lot of investigating to locate.  DO NOT use Hennas.  Some do have PPD-related ingredient.
Avatar universal
On sunday I dyed my hair brown using a Loreal' permenent hair dye. After about 6 hours I started getting a really itchy head, all night I was scratching, and all the next day. Mid afternoon the day after I dyed my hair, I had developed a rash/hives around my hairline on my neck. That night I was itching uncontrollably, forming sores all over my scalp. I woke up 2 days after having my haire dyed, and my face was swollen around my temples, and my neck and throat were really swollen and tight, all my glands were up, and everything hurt. I immediately went to the doctors, and was prescribed Zyrtec (antihistamene), and Celamine cream for the rash on my neck, and Elocon Lotion for my scalp. I used this medication that very morning, and the itching subsided alot. I woke up that night very itchy again (i think the medication had worn off), and when I got up in the morning, my face was completely swollen, I could hardly see out of one eye because it was so puffy, and my throat was feeling very tight. I called a Medical Helpline we have here in Australia, and they told me to immediately go to the hospital, so I did.
The Doctor at the hospital told me that I was the worst case of allergy towards PPD that she had every seen, and put me on a course of steroids.
Now, 4 days later, my face/forehead/eyes and neck are still very swollen (worse in the mornings), and my head is still itchy occasionally.
This time last year I had a Henna Tattoo done in Bali, and this also got severely infected, and I was also allergic to the Antibiotic that I was placed on which made every 10 times worse, so now I know I really have to be careful, and try to use natural products for my skin.
535822 tn?1443976780
Loving care does seem to work to color your hair instead of the PPD ones but it doesnt last as long. I have posted regarding scalp irritation I have been getting and am wondering if this could have been caused by PPD. I dont find the anti histimines work at all on head allergy, am trying to figure out if its stuff they used inDental work or something I am eating. By the way allergists dont help at all It a waste of time and money going with this kind of allergy.
Avatar universal
first off people can develop new allergies every 7 years, but prolonged exposure can make it more likely to develop an allergy to  it.
lucky for me i got a temporary henna tattoo about 5 years ago. which i got a swollen bumpy itchy sore filled reaction too (i still have white marks from where it was)
it was apparently a "henna tattoo" or so i was told, but bassically it was black hair dye (with PPD ofc) which was directly applied to my skin, and a lot of people from what i hear end up with the same problem
like me after having this kind of temporary tattoo,
a lifelong allergy to PPD and hypersensitivity for chemically related medications.  i didnt stumble onto this fact untill recently.  
I had my first facial swelling occurence after i dyed my hair for the first time in dec of 2006. it was a thursday it slowly built up over the course of 4/5 days and i was admitted to the ER, because i couldnt see out of my eyes anymore and the swelling was nearing my throat. i spent three days in the hospital on high doses of steroids. and a week later after taking more oral steroids i had my cheekbones back.
in the past few years i hadnt been able to get checked out for what i might be allergic too. this past year  i gave birth to a healthy baby, but one day later (after being released from the hospital) my face started swelling again... so spent another week in the hospital recouperating from that one. most likely i got an allergic reaction to Naropin (the epidural) aka Ropivacaine and that is probably as a result from my PPD allergy (can lead to allergies for some of the -caine medicines lidocaine benzocaine etc.)
now in recent months i have been scouring the internet for information. and found a article saying "a temporary tattoo can be fun but you can end up developing an allergy to PPD from it, a common ingredient of Hairdye, and that also may lead to allergies for certain medications"
i mentioned it to my FORMER dermatologist and he didnt believe me,
i now have a appointment for next month at a new dermatologist to get tested for PPD allergy. I hope i havent developed too many additional allergies/sensitivities. in any case here's some useful facts

ppd in hairdye is illegal in germany, france and sweden, due to high rates of allergy in the 20th century.
its safe to say most of their hairdyes would not contain PPD.

ppd and henna tattoos
if the artist recommends to take it off soon (around an hour after application) its NOT a henna tattoo, it most likely contains PPD. a real henna tattoo follows the "leave on as long as possible rule"
its obvious that youd get a reaction from bassically leaving black hairdye on your skin for over an hour! this is why this triggers an allergic reaction with a lot of people.
most reported henna tattoo allergies are actually allergies to PPD and other non traditional/natural additives, not to actual henna
if you see someone doing black henna tattoos remind them its illegal in the US according to the FDA. and also in Canada to use henna, or PPD as anything but a hairdye. oh and also remind them that they may have killed people by their choice to use PPD. instead of safer alternatives.

heres a helpful list for people with a PPD allergy (if you havent been completely tested yet, consult your dermatologist to test for these possible related allergies.)

You are allergic to PARA-PHENYLENEDIAMINE (PPD) and should avoid the following:
Black dyes, including dark hair dyes and toners for bleached hair

Some furs and textiles dyed with dyes containing PPD.

People sensitive to PPD can also be sensitive to the following:

Other dyes in textiles, stocking, leather, hair dyes (in particular paratoluene diamine)

Anti-sunburn agents

Aniline dyes

Local anaesthetics (lignocaine and xylocaine are safe)

Sulphonamides (medicament)

The dye in orange peel – can eat oranges but get someone else to peel them

Black heavy duty rubbers

Printing inks eg during photocopy & lithographing

Photographic chemicals

There may be a cross reaction with some local anaesthetics or sulphonamides (an antibiotic)

heres the list of alternative names for PPD i suggest you print it out and bring it with you when looking for alternative hairdye or new cosmetic products. (tip: when you are physically looking for non PPD hairdyes wear gloves, so if you do grab one with ppd in it you dont end up with hand contact dermatitis)

Synonyms: p-aminoaniline,
ursol D,
p-benzenediamine, 1,
C.I. oxidation base 10,
developer 13,
durafur black R,
fouramine D,
fur black R,
Fur yellow,
renal pf,
tertral D,
numerous other non-systematic names

I consider my self lucky evethough i have ended up in IC because of my allergic reactions, my reactions are very slow to start and can be caught in time. some people dont have that luxury, they have to carry around epi pens. or some people arent even that lucky,
there have been cases of people spontaneously becoming allergic to their hairdye and dying as a result
Narinder Devi, 39, Mother of three

and finally this is what the CDC says of PPD.

well i know this was a long post, but i just wanted to share what ive learned so far, and hope this helps someone else.

Avatar universal
I have an allergy to PPD that i got from dying my hair black, I ended up in hospital with a severe reaction.
Does anyone have an allergy to PPD that has tattoos?
cuz i really want a tattoo and not sure if PPD is in tattoo ink??
xx thanks very much
Avatar universal
Please do not dye your hair again.
I just recently recovered from using black hair dye with symptoms of itching all over my body, very bad scalp irritations.
First trip to the ER, was prescribed Prednisone and to continue to take the OTC Benadryl.
After a week, I had to go to the Immediate Care, where my Doctor prescribed Bactrim DS and a topical solution (Fluocinole) that I call the miracle solution.
I have learned my lesson.
Avatar universal
I dyed My hair black two weeks ago. It caused weeping and scabs on the head. The doc at walkin clinic put me on some type of sterod that took the swelling down on the face. Unfortunatly now the iching is on the intirer body. Oatmeal baths help for 10 to 15 minutes.. Does anyone know how long this stuff takes to work its way out of the system?? Or how it can stay around so long??
  And why the heck is it allowed on the market in the first place!
Cheers and good luck to all.
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