Am I allergic to my hair dye?


Many individuals ask if they could be allergic to their hair dye.   The answer is more likely to be “no” than “yes”, but it is possible to be allergic to hair dyes.    In North America, over 60 million consumers color their hair.  Allergic reactions to hair products are probably under reported so we don’t know the exact prevalance.  

There are four main types of hair dyes on the market: gradual, temporary, semi-permanent and permanent. The most popular types of hair dyes are the permanent dyes and the permanent dyes are the most likely types of hair coloring products to cause allergy. Individuals who are allergic to hair dyes sometimes develop a rash on the neck, forehead, eyelids, ears or even the hands.   The scalp may be red, crusted and oozing fluid.   Individuals with severe hair dye allergies may also feel unwell.

The main culprit in permanent dyes to cause allergic reactions is a chemical called para-phenylenediamine, or “PPD” for short. Other chemicals in hair dyes may also cause allergic reactions.  Specialized allergy testing called patch testing, can sometimes be used to confirm if an individual is allergic to their hair dye.



Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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