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Hair Colour Allergies – PPD Reactions

When someone has an ‘allergy to hair dye’, they are usually allergic to one of the chemicals in the colour product.

The most common cause of these allergic reactions is para-phenylenediamine, also called PPD.

Leading breast cancer researchers also recommend reducing exposure to PPD, and we recommend listening to them.

The Shade’s entire colour range is free from ammonia, PPD, parabens, phthalates, SLS, titanium dioxide and gluten.

PPD (para-phenylenediamine) is a chemical found in many hair other colour brands, particularly in the darker colours, as it is a very effective colouring agent. Often brands which use PPD have higher concentrations of this ingredient in the darker colours in their range as it performs well in locking in the darker colours.

PPD exposure can lead to allergic reactions. Some people are inherently allergic to PPD and others develop an allergy to PPD after repeated exposure to PPD. Hairdressers in particular are at risk of developing PPD allergies if they are in regular contact with hair colour which contains PPD.

Exposure to PPD can result in a contact dermatitis reaction, which can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to PPD exposure include:

  • Contact dermatitis; inflamed, red, itchy, swollen skin in areas which were in contact with the hair dye such as your neck, ears, forehead, scalp and extending to your eyes and face
  • The skin exposed to the PPD may become red, swollen, blistered, dry, thickened, cracked, inflamed and itchy. You may feel a burning or stinging sensation.
  • In case of a severe allergic reaction the symptoms of anaphylaxis may be present, which include:
    • Itchy skin or a raise, red skin rash,
    • Swollen eyes, lips, hands and feet – the eyelids can swell so much that the eyes close
    • Felling lightheaded or faint
    • Swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue which can cause breathing and swallowing difficulties,
    • Wheezing
    • Tummy pain, nausea and vomiting
    • Collapsing and becoming unconscious

If you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to hair colour which contains PPD, then you may have an allergy to that ingredient. You should avoid PPD exposure in future and look for hair colour products which are PPD free.

PPD free products, such as The Shade’s colour range, usually use a substitute ingredient which has a much lower allergic reaction rate, called Toluene-2,5 Diamine Sulfate (TDS).

Hair dyes using TDS (or PTDS) are tolerated by many people with PPD allergies and are a good alternative for people who are looking to avoid PPD exposure. Patch testing is recommended prior to use.

I was hoping for a better colour experience than regular boxed colour and…I got it! No tingling or itchiness, no horrible smell, and a really natural colour result and lovely hair condition. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a better home colour experience!

R. Higgins

I have never been more happy with my hair colour. The process was simple, even with long, thick hair. My colour is a perfect match to the one I was using previously. My hair feels fabulous and healthy and the best part, no red skin, itching, Or allergies!!

S. Edwards

This is the best! I apparently am now allergic to regular hair colour (I didnt used to be but I coloured more often to cover greys and developed an allergy to regular colour), so now i can finally colour my hair without days of itchiness and red blotches on my face and neck. I have the exact same colour I have used for years, but a better colouring technique and my colour is brighter, and very soft.

Tamara J.

Love my gorgeous colour and so happy that I can use it! I have allergies to regular hair colour but this colour didnt give me any itchiness or reaction at all and I love the colour result! Hair feels really lovely too and got a few compliments already, so I’m very happy! Thank you!

S. Ashwood

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