PPD in Hair Dye

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Same Allergic Reaction but no PPD?

April 28 2009 at 10:56 AM
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azblonde  (Login azblonde)

Im 37 years old and I have been coloring my hair for 24 years now. I have been a variety of colors brown, black, red but for the last 10 years I have been a platinum blonde. Six years ago I had my first allergic reaction to bleaching my hair. I use the Lorel 40 volume peroxide and the Quick Blue ON scalp bleaching powder. I did my hair at home and washed it out in the shower. I had red, blotchy, itchy welts all over my body. I thought it was very strange but the welts went away very quickly (less than an hour) so I didnt give it much thought. Until the next time I colored.

I put the bleach on as normal and within a short time my face swelled up like a balloon. So much that I actually thought that my skin might split open because it was so tight and swollen. You couldnt see any definition of my nose. My eyes were practically swollen shut. My lips were so enlarged it was blocking me from breathing out my nose. My face, neck and chest were so red it made a tomato look pale. I washed it off immediately in the sink. My Mother called poison control. I wouldnt let her call 911 because I didnt want to go anywhere looking so hideous.(I know so vain!) They said take Benadryl which I did and was fine within 20 minutes. I wasnt giving up my blonde hair! So after that I just took Benadryl first before bleaching and problem solved. Or so I thought!

Six years had gone by with few problems as long as I would take the anti-histamine first. I did this as usual a couple weeks ago but this time my reaction was so bad I believe I nearly died. In addition to all the swelling in my face, my hands were very swollen and my entire body down to my toes was bright red and felt on fire. I could barely breath. My heart was racing. My entire body was shaking like a leaf. I couldnt stop shaking. It took everything within me to fight to breathe and fight just to stay conscious. This time I really should have gone to the ER. But instead I took more Benadryl, put ice packs on my face & body, drank lots of water and PRAYED a lot. Thankfully, after about an hour I was fine.

Im scared now and I dont know what to do. I Googled hair color allergies and was blown away by all the stories I have read on the internet. What is confusing to me is that the products I am using do not contain PPD. Most people on the message boards seem to be ok with the bleach but I have the same reaction as those with the PPD allergy. I can not figure out which chemical that I am allergic to. Although it saddens me to give up my blonde hair (I literally cried over this) I realize its not worth dying over.

I cant just let my hair grow out because I am a platinum blonde and my natural is dark brown. That would look ridiculous and take forever. So I will need to die it back to the dark brown (and then just stop coloring after that) but I am completely freaked out! What if I am allergic to PPD too? I am afraid that I would be ok with the patch test but then still have a potentially deadly reaction. Also, platinum blonde hair is extremely hard to color. Since all color has been essentially stripped out of my hair it doesnt accept the deposit color like healthy hair would. Help! What can I do -- short of wearing a hat or wig for the next many years??

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(Login hamuchi)

Re: Same Allergic Reaction but no PPD?

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April 30 2009, 3:04 AM 

The first thing I'd recommend is get a patch test done, so they can determine EXACTLY what you're allergic to.
Are you sure there are NO color in the bleach, no toulenes either?
Usually toulene-diamine and nitro something reacts like PPD.

Other sensitizing things you might find in bleaches are ammonia, resorcinol, hydrogen peroxide (obviously) and persulfates (potassium persulfate).

Perhaps you aren't allergic to PPD but to the bleach itself, that could give similar symptoms as PPD (although not related to PPD-allergy).
It's not very uncommon to be allergic to bleach.

I'm sorry this had to happen to you :/

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(Login gogo548)

How awful!

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May 19 2009, 4:51 PM 

I'm sorry you haven't had a lot of responses. Just remember, we're all here in this together. I wish we had more answers, but at least we can offer support for one another.

I honestly have no way of knowing exactly what caused your reaction. Do you think you could have been allergic to PPD in the past? In other words, did you EVER have any itching, etc., prior to this occurrence? Sorry -I just reread your post. Probably because you were taking the antihistamines (for six years), you were unable to notice/see what was really happening to your body. The antihistamines could have been masking your symptoms and therefore, you didn't realize how serious the reaction was/is.

Obviously you are sensitive to some sort(s) of chemical(s) in the hair products. First off, it sucks! I know. ;(

You received some good advice from Hamuchi. You need to get yourself to a doctor (allergist) and find out EXACTLY what it is you are allergic to. Please don't mess around with these products before finding out what's happening. And indeed, please do not hesitate to seek help, especially if you are having trouble breathing, etc. People CAN die to such an allergic reaction. It's not always as simple as an itchy rash.

That said, I wish you the best in finding out what it is that is causing you this much trouble. And, I truly hope you can come up with some different options to get you through this. Scroll through the site and you will find a few different products people have tried and are trying.

Keep us updated.

Take care,


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(Login Bonnie-789)

Do not color your hair

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May 20 2009, 10:16 AM 

I am a 38 year old mother of two and my reaction to hair hilight done at a salon back on March 29, 2009 is still causing severe problems. I had an allergic reaction to my hi-light (all blonde hilights) had to go to Urgent Care and get hooked up to IV bag immediately. I have been put on prednisone and to make my very long story short I thought I got better in mid April.

However, last Monday May, 18, 2009 without any notice all my symptoms came back. I DID NOT color my hair at all since my reaction so I was not sure why all my symptoms were back. Symtoms included: 1. hair and scalp felt on fire (no scabs or anything) just hot to touch.
2.Hair is still shedding (falling out)
3.My body felt like a had a bad sunburn all over
4. My joints hurt
I have been to 3 doctors one being a dermatalogist not a lot of help. I am now going to a doctor who is looking at chemical poisoning.

Please your life is worth you being here and not being so vain. I too have cried as I was pretty and cute and now my hair is falling out. I pray everyday the hair will stop falling out and I will just be happy having hair. All of this has taken a toll on my family.

Please get an extended pony tail or something.....Do not color your hair or you may not have to worry about any hair to deal with.


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