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496771 tn?1209698358

Hair Dye Allergy and Painful Swelling?!

I just dyed my hair the other day 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 and honestly kind of lumpy! -- 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.
93 Responses
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.

773459 tn?1235339807
Hi , I now have the same problem you had after dying my hair, all the same synmtoms , I was just wondering when it subsided for you
773459 tn?1235339807
I now know how to get rid of the the selling burning scalp fairls fast, You have to use 2%hydrogen peroxide and baby shampoo on the effected areas of the scalp. the peroxide will neutralize the PPD that is in your scalp and on your hair,You will then have a lesss reactions, you have to do this twice a day for 2 days , also some baby cortisone helps after you wash, Twice a day
Avatar universal
I had severe reactions to all salon hair color treatments and over the counter hair colorings.  I am Asian and hated the gray in my black hair.  I constantly tried new treatments and talked to several specialists and they recommended different hair colorings that did not work.  One day I found a new one that I had not tried, it is Natural Match from L'oreal.   This is the first hair color that has worked for me and I hope it will help others.  
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone yes I have found a PPD free hair dye that will not cause an allergic reaction.  It is not in the uk but you can get UK delivery on their site the delivery is not cheap BUT the Fact is that its safe to use so it is very much worth the money.  Once converted its about £35.00.  

Here are the details.

Advanced Cosmetic Technologies Permanent Hair Coloring Kit: This kit is PPD-, resorcinol- and ammonia-free, and uses vegetarian, plant-based dyes to permanently fix color. Also available: color protecting shampoo and conditioner, and semi-permanent tinting kits.

You can find reviews all over that confirm its SAFE.

I have done months of research trying o find a safe hairdye & this is the first i have know.

I have found people who are severly allergic to PPD & has used this with no reaction at all.

Let me know what you think
Avatar universal
Hi , i to developed an allergy to ppd .. out of the blue ..all the usual symptoms and a treatment of steroids followed. After searching the net ( not wanting to grey at 40 ) i tried the Sureya range ( liquid form easy to apply bottle and many colours).. It worked a treat . Says has no ppd or amonia and after a very wary first trial ( and many uses since) i have to say i have no reactions . It is only a semi -permanent colour made of natural products but covers grey better than i had hoped and i am pleased with the results ... also makes hair feel lovely and shiny .I think Sureya has its own site or it is availabe through a site called Topleaf and have also brought it from Amazon before . Generally priced around £18 per bottle but .... i usually manage to get 4 applications from a bottle ( each application last 4-6 weeks).. Hooray for Sureya
Avatar universal
How long does the rash and pain last, I dyed my hair twice after I had a reaction.. did not know it was my dye because I did not have any problems until a few weeks after I did it. 2 er's ear doctor, skin doctor and my primary and nobody knew what it was. I figured it out myself from this web site. It has been 2 months and I don't know how much more I can take.. contant rash and hives , iching and pain.. Please can someone tell me when it goes away... andy input would be great..
Avatar universal
I have been in your situation.  Please visit a medical provider immediately and get relief from a prescription steroid.  I have had this experience and had to have shots plus an oral pack.  Mine pain, itching, and oozing extended beyond my face and scap down my shoulders, back and chest.   I was ill feeling for weeks.   Please research the PPD allergy and avoid exposure again.   There have been fatalities to this allergy.

1622925 tn?1299100564
I've been on tons of antihistamines and steroids for 4 weeks now after hair dye allergy. I'm still swollen and look like I have the measles if I let the meds wear off without taking more right away. I've missed 6 days of work so far and can't stand much more of this! Hair dressers and FDA should warn people that hair dye allergy can occur any time. My hairdresser swears she used the same formula she'd been using on me for years. However, 4 weeks ago I suddenly became extremely allergic. Like I said  -it's been 4 weeks now and I still have red, itchy hives on my face, neck, shoulders, and sometimes even stomach and back. It is horrible!
Avatar universal
Never mind the hair dye.  What kind of glands do you have back there behind your ears, and what do you do with them?
Avatar universal
I have slowly developed a allergie to ppd. This is my second round of steroids in two years as I foolishly thought with extreme care I could dye my hair...boy was I wrong!! Any advise on what to do with the thick scrabs on my ears?? Is it better to was them off with warm water or let them dry out??
Avatar universal
Hi just had an reaction to hair dye 2 days ago and have blisters on my neck,ears and forehead. Doctor told me not to wash my hair for a few days because the warm water will open the pores and may cause a infection. Im using cortisone cream applying it 3 times a day it will dry the blisters up Im also taking prednisone 40 mg a day for 5 days. Hope it will help to get rid of this bad rash. Doctor gave me 3 days off work but told me it could take up to 2 weeks to heal.  
Avatar universal
I dyed my hair on Saturday and Sunday evening my scalp was itchy. Monday morning I stood up with swollen glands in my neck and behind my ears. This is a common side effect from hair dye. You can use a certain brand for years and suddenly one day you develop an allergy to that brand. You can feel whoozy too and a slight headdache. It's better to use a colour without amoniac.
Avatar universal
I used Clairol's Loving Care for years - kept the roots dark and gave body to the bulk of my long black hair.  Temporary - no amonia - no problems.
Last year I had a severe allergic reaction to a salon semi permanent color application (red scalp for two weeks; small hives; swollen face); this year I tried Clairol's Natural Instincts which is a semipermanent that replaced the discontinued Loving Care - same bad results.
This week I did a skin patch test of Garnier'HerbaShine with bamboo extract - within six hours my inner arm swelled up and is red and blotchy. I have steroids and antihistamines to deal with it, but I need help finding something that was good as Loving Care that doesn't cause this reaction.
I see someone has recommended a L'Oreal product - any other experiences or recommendations, and also what to look for to avoid on the product content list?  Thank you  PJD
Avatar universal
I realize this comes a few years too late but for anyone else that may visit this site with similar problems this might be helpful.  

First of all I too have recently suffered from an allergic reaction to hair dye.  I have been coloring my hair for 29 years with no problems what so ever, until now.  I went to my salon and had it colored black which I have since found out is the most common color to cause allergic reactions.  It has a higher level of PPD.  My reaction which I thought was severe was instead I've discovered only a mild case.  I had red blisters all over my scalp and my hair line was swollen and the lower part of my head was swollen so bad it hurt to move my head.  The itching and burning were horrible and never ending but the more I itched the worse it burned.

Finally after 4 days of this I went to my GP and he immediately put me on prednisone.  This was a God send.  The itching lessened almost immediately and the swelling started to go down as well.  This is my second day of taking it and everything is very comfortable now.  I still have the red blisters but they are healing quickly.  

Like I said, it's the PPD that people react to so if you can get something without it, (and it's out there) you're much better off.  As for me, I'm a natural blonde so I'm preparing myself for the skunk look as it grows out..yuck!  

I also wanted to mention that if you use box colors at home and then go to a salon, please please please tell them what you used.  Box colors such as Garnier contains a form of sulfate that can cause chemical reactions with salon products and not only burn your scalp but can cause your hair to melt and or fall out!!  

Why we do this to ourselves I don't know but I'm just as guilty as the next person... but as for me, I'm going natural color or hypoallergenic dye.

If it does happen to you, ask your Dr. for prednisone!!  It works soooo fast!  Hope this helps someone someday.  Happy coloring!
Avatar universal
Hey guys I've been through this ONE too many times... yes it's sort of stupid of me but I've been dying my hair for 10 years and have never had an allergic reaction, so it took about 4 times of changing dye brands for me to realize I'm allergic to PPD in general. duh! BUT the advantage to all of my misery is now I have all kinds of tips to help anyone else without medical insurance out there get through this terrible ordeal! So here goes:

1. CORTIZONE10 cream and Benadryl are your best friends.

2. Clean the area with hydrogen peroxide at least twice a day... yes it's gonna hurt, but only for a few seconds, and it's worth it. You have to keep it as clean as possible.

3. SHOWERING DOES NOT HELP. Yes of course you need to shower occasionally, but it took me a while to realize that hot water on the area only feels (really really) good while you're in there. It's only gonna make it worse. Wash maybe every other day, with Dial antibacterial soap and the coolest water you can stand.

4. Try to keep the area dry... keep your hair up and out from behind your ears.

5. Calamine lotion will dry up any oozing from infection. I had this a lot behind my ears. Just drip it on and let it dry and make sure to not let it get on your clothes!

6. Bedtime is a dreadful time. I found the following to help a lot: Make sure to take Benadryl about an hour before bed. Clean the rash really well and cake on the cortizone. I found that folding up a couple squares of toilet paper and tucking it behind the ears helps, as far as itching and dripping and it keeps the cortizone from rubbing off on your pillow. ICE THE CRAP OUT OF your neck, ears, etc to numb it so it doesn't go crazy when you hit the pillow! And try to sleep on a towel or change pillow cases often.

7. Don't use any kinds of petroleum jellies; vaseline or neosporin... these will lock in moisture and you want to dry the area out. neosporin can be helpful but make sure to use the Cream kind.

Thanks to the person with the info on the PPD free hair dye. I was devastated when I thought I'd have to grow out my staple black hair.
Hope this helps.. I just know it worked for me... Hang in there, happy healing!
Avatar universal
Thank you so much sassykat" ur info is of great help coz I sure dont medical insurance. My symptoms were rather quick (2days) from the ppd allergic reaction!...but ooh boy! I learnt my lesson after using Revlon colorsilk black.
Avatar universal
I recently had a reaction to hair dye and I am still burning and itching. I received 5 days of prednisone and I am still itching and my mouth is burning. My already hot flashes has gotten worse and I am not sure why. I think I am going to go back to the Dr. to get more prednisone because the itching is coming back. I need to feel better quick my birthday is in five days and I am graduating from college with my master degree. Thanks guys for the listening ear because I think my husband is tired of my not feeling so good. I know he is just worried too.
Avatar universal
I have just consulted a specialist and she believes (although it is not noted in any medical journals) that until the dye is completely out of your hair, you will continue to suffer from symptoms.  You either need to cut the dye out of your hair as quickly as possible or make sure that it does not touch your face at all.  As your hair only grows about 1cm per month, this can take time.  Good luck to you and let me know how it goes.
Avatar universal
I had my first reaction during what was a particularly cold winter and endured the worst weeks of incredible pain with aloe vera (the plant, not the store-bought stuff), iodine and saline solutions for the swelling and wounds around my ear and well - anything I could lay my hands on really ... so long as it was a natural remedy.  It healed well enough and I coloured my hair again ... not as bad a reaction as the first one - but a reaction none the less ... That pretty much resolved for me that I was indeed allergic.  So I thought I would change the brand, DO the allergy test and because there was no immediate reaction thought it was safe ... WRONG ... I too went and sought advice from a hair salon - the $70 (NZ) I spent on the recommended shampoo and conditioner has done nothing to relieve the constant itching and now I'm finding I'm actually losing strands of hair at a phenomonal rate and am off to the doctor's tomorrow ... I now look at women who colour their hair and think - 'it's just a matter of time' ... I am lucky enough to have a partner that has said he'll love me with the grey and is prepared to buy wigs if need be (lol) But the past few months I wouldn't wish on anyone ... The advice on this page is great, but more importantly the support you can find and especially those that are willing to share their stories helps too ... You're not alone ladies and there is no shame in what has happened to you ... If anything, I'd like to see these companies front up with remedies! I've read that when you reach your tolerance (and each of us has a different tolerance) there WILL be a reaction ... I'm looking at Henna (the natural one) IF I decide I'll colour again ... Heal quickly lovelies!
Avatar universal
I just got back from getting an Dexamethasone Injection because of an allergic reaction to Revlon Colorsilk.  I have always had very slight reactions to almost every hair color I use, but never like this! My face is very swollen at the temples, and my neck is so swollen I couldnt even turn my head when I was driving to the doctor. Needless to say I will be on prednisone for awhile. The doctor said this is more common with black hair dye and that this isnt going to go away anytime soon . I look like an Alien!
Avatar universal
I have terrible allergies to begin with so when I developed an allergy to hair dye I wasn't surprised, but I was devastated. My hair was coming out from the root, I had headaches and my scalp tingled and itched constantly. I found a chemist/hair stylist on the internet who advised that I use Malibu 2000 undo goo clarifying shampoo. It worked great. I washed my hair several times and let the shampoo sit on my scalp for 10 minutes or so during first wash to remove as much PPD's as possible. By the next day all the itching, tingling and headaches had subsided. Also if you want to color your hair DO NOT USE HENNA!! It also contains a great deal of allergen properties and most Henna made in the US has been contaminated with other chemicals that may cause a similar reaction. The one option I found is the best alternatives and it is Sebastian Cellophanes. They do not contain any oxidating chemicals and most of all they do not contain PPD's of any kind. Below is a list of PPD's related chemicals:  phenylenediamine, benzenediamine, aminoaniline dihydrochloride, Rodol, Ursol, Orsin, p-methylaminophenol, 6-hydroxyindole and Isatin. Read everything and be very careful. Cellophanes only add color so they are not suitable for people who want to lighten. However for those who just want to brighten our natural color and COVER GREY, its a healthier option. Good luck!!

Avatar universal
Hi!  I am also asian and recently discovered that I am allergic to hair dye (professional and over the counter).  Just wanted to see if the Natural Match Loreal is still working out for you or if if developed any allergies.

Thank you.
Avatar universal
Last week within 5 hours of coloring my hair, my scalp was feeling dry and itchy. I used a product from Clairol Beautiful Collection, no ammonia, no peroxide, advanced solution for grey hair. Knowing I am allergic to hair dye, started to wash my hair to get all the residue out of my hair. Two hours later my whole head was on fire and itchy. Started putting ice and taking anti histamine, it gave me a little relief. Then I noticed my head is swollen. Four am in the morning, went to the ER. The doctor gave me steroid pills to take there and Prescription for Atarax (hydroxyzine) for itching and Cephalexin for bacterial infection. It helped with the itching and burning but the swelling got worse. The swelling moved to my face and eyes. Day 3, I couldn't open my eyes which got better after couple of hours. Stopped taking Atarax after I read the side effects and allergic reaction that could happen are itching and swelling in the face. I am not sure if the swelling in my face was from this medicine or hair color.
I have been using this product Beautiful Collection for few months with no problems, but the first time using (same product)with advanced Grey Solution. My point is to do a patch test if you know you are allergic and have been using basically the same product.  It is day 6 and swelling is almost gone from my face and I noticed a rash with tiny white heads on my forehead. Would this go away? Help!
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