March 4, 2012
Home Hair Coloring Kits Causing Severe Allergic Reactions and Hospitalization
Both men and women who fancy a new look using home coloring kits are increasingly being hospitalized with severe allergic reactions. A young woman from the Swansea district in the U.K. was temporarily blinded and hospitalized following a severe reaction to Clairol 'Nice n' Easy' hair dye she bought at the supermarket.
Carmen Rowe was admitted to Morriston Hospital in Swansea one day after her face swelled up 'like a football' leaving her unable to see after using Clairol ‘Nice n’ Easy’ natural black colour.
Miss Rowe was eventually discharged after three days after the swelling was reduced with a combination of steroids and antibiotics. But she was then re-admitted another four times in the following month after developing sores and further swelling.
Doctors eventually diagnosed an allergic reaction to the Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) in the dye. PPD is an aromatic compound with many industrial and cosmetic applications. The chemical is a common ingredient in permanent hair dye products, as well as dyes for fabrics, fur and dark makeup. PPD is also used in printing and photocopying inks, photo and lithograph developing chemicals, rubber products, Kevlar and oil, gasoline and grease products. It has many critics asking why the chemical has to be in hair dye at all when there are so many safer alternatives.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cites PPD as a contact allergen, and should not be directly applied to the skin. Yet, it is almost impossible to apply hair dye without at least some contact with the skin or scalp.
Current literature is providing evidence that PPD and related dyes are increasing considerably as contact sensitizers. Paraphenylenediamine was also identified as the relevant allergen in a permanent eyelash dye.
Carmen, of Swansea, said: 'I woke up and my head was so swollen that I couldn’t see. I was blind.
'I looked in the mirror and half of my face was swollen. It looked like half of my head had been pumped up like a football.
'I went straight to hospital and by the time I got there my head was swollen everywhere, even my ears were huge. The doctors admitted me immediately.
'The most disgusting thing is my head started to leak pus. I had to wrap my head in a towel, it was horrible and it smelt like a wet dog.'
A spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, which makes Clairol hair dye, said: 'We are sorry to hear about Carmen’s situation. Our consumers’ safety and wellbeing is our absolute priority and we are keen to help Carmen however we can.
April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.