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Hair dye causes grave skin reaction

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A woman has been left  fighting for her life this week after having an allergic reaction to a main brand home hair dye.

 Julie McCabe, a 38-year old mother of two from Yorkshire, collapsed soon after applying the hair dye to her scalp and is currently on a life support machine fighting for her life.

It’s feared the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD) – present in 99% cent of all hair dyes – may be linked to her allergic reaction, even though she dyed her hair every six weeks and had never had any previous problems with allergic reactions.

An allergic reaction does not necessarily start the first time a home hair dye is used. It can happen after several uses due to a build up of PPD in the body from cumulative exposure.

PPD is a colourless compound but it achieves a rich colour when it reacts with oxygen contained in ingredients in hair dye, such as hydrogen peroxide. Under EU rules, in Britain, PPD can constitute 6% of a hair dye.

[quote]Allergic reactions to PPD are rare, affecting one in 250,000 people, and in most cases the effect is a mild skin rash. But reactions can be severe, causing more serious skin irritations and burning. People with sensitive skin can also get allergic reactions to other hair dye products containing PPD such as high light enhancing or tinted shampoos.[/quote]

Regular hair dye users are urged to always do a ‘patch test’, before covering the whole scalp in hair dye. A patch test involves applying a small amount of the dye to the skin 48 hours before treatment every time a hair dye is used.

So if your scalp often feels itchy, dry or flaky, it could be either your hair dye or your shampoo that is causing a mild scalp allergy, making the scalp itchy and dry as a result. [quote]Many mild scalp reactions that cause flaking and itchiness are mistaken for normal fungal dandruff. However anti-dandruff shampoos can  make scalp allergies even worse due to the harsh anti-fungal agents in these treatments.[/quote]

So if you experience flaking, dryness or itchiness of the scalp, try using a chemical-free shampoo for dry scalps first to see if that works before using an anti-dandruff shampoo.

Skin Magazine recently reviewed a new type of Shampoo by Skin Shop called Dry Scalp Shampoo

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