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Old 10-27-2009, 09:45 PM
6,234 posts, read 14,814,552 times
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I am on the fifth day of horrific scalp pain and itchy hives all over after using L'Oreal permanent hair dye. I'd used Clairol temporary dye in the past with absolutely no problem, so I didn't think I had to do a test.

I read that 5 percent of the population is allergic to hair dye.

I had just a little gray and never should have done it.

I read that an ingredient, PPD, is the culprit, and France, Germany, and Sweden have BANNED PPD in hair dye.

I have no idea when this pain will stop. I've used Benedryl -- which puts me to sleep -- and will use Claritin tomorrow.

Has anyone suffered from this? How long does it last? What did you do about it?

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Old 10-28-2009, 01:24 AM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,561 posts, read 16,203,875 times
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A good friend of mine suffered from a severe allergy, and after doing some research, he's convinced it was due to the PPD in the hair dye. After seeing how much he has suffered, I'm astonished that this chemical hasn't been banned in the U.S. yet! He was also dyeing his hair to remove the gray. Needless to say, he's definitely going gray now, and with great pleasure!

He had to go to the doctor, who put him on prednisone (a synthetic corticosteroid drug) to take care of the inflammation and itching. Then it still didn't go away, so he had to take another medication of the same type, but a bit stronger. All in all, he was dealing with this off and on for about three or four months. I truly hope your allergy goes away much sooner than that! He was miserable, and also had to take Benadryl (and a prescription drug from the doctor which also made him sleepy and groggy). It was weird; a hive would appear, stay for about twenty minutes, and then go away - only to appear later somewhere else on his body!

Please note that corticosteroids suppress your immune system, so you end up more susceptible to colds, etc. Also, be sure to take them exactly as directed, as there's a tapering off period when the dosage gets lower and lower over a few days. But I'm sure your doctor will go over that with you.

I'm not sure how accurate a great source Wikipedia is, but here's more info on prednisone:

Prednisone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:32 AM
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Thank you so much for that feedback.

Benedryl knocks me out like a sleeping pill. So the doctor said to take Claritin. I took Claritin at 4 am this morning, and it lasted until 9 am, and all the symptoms are now back, and Claritin is a 24-hour pill.

I just got off the phone with L'Oreal, and they are sending out a "request" for my medical bills, which I presume they will pay in order to stave off class action suits.

All I wanted L'Oreal to answer for me is: a) how long does this last for most people and b) do I need to cut off all my hair? They repeatedly responded they couldn't give me "medical" advice. That's not medical advice! That's information they have in their files!

I don't want to cut off all my hair if not needed, but if it IS, I will do it. I can't believe they won't give me that information.

My doctor said I'd have to go in and get a shot if the Claritin didn't work. I really don't want to do that, but I'm forced to.

I never liked the Sinead O'Connor look. I have long hair, so cutting it at all will not be easy.

Yes, of course it is the PPD, and France, Germany, and Sweden have all banned the chemical. I had no clue.

It should be banned in the U.S. because NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE should ever have to go through the pain I'm going through right now. They may be offering to pay my medical bills, but what about my pain and suffering?

Big business should not have that power to inflict such pain on a human being and continue doing so in order to make a buck.

I'm going to create a PowerPoint presentation about this experience and post it on the Internet. If someone had warned me, I never would have touched L'Oreal products.

I didn't do a "test" because other brands of hair dye (Clairol) have worked just fine. Plus, it wouldn't have made any difference because symptoms didn't appear for 1.5 days.

I would love to know other people's experiences.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:22 AM
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How horrible for you. Perhaps this site will offer some help. Read down to Treatment of PPD dermatitis.

Paraphenylenediamine & hair dye contact allergy. DermNet NZ
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:36 PM
Location: 38°14′45″N 122°37′53″W
4,152 posts, read 10,262,120 times
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Cutting your hair off is not going to help the situation. The allergic reaction is on your scalp (and possibly elsewhere if you are highly allergic) and the hair that grows out of your head is already dead, so cutting it off would have no effect whatsoever.

Technically a patch test should be done for every brand, and every line within that brand.
You switched from a semi-permanent to a permanent haircolor, that is a BIG switch, it would've probably happened with the Clairol permanent too.

It totally sucks and I hope you feel better soon. Looks like you've gotten great info from folks here, I think if the Benadryl doesn't help enough you may have to see the Doc. But don't add insult to injury and chop off your hair!
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:35 PM
6,234 posts, read 14,814,552 times
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Thanks for the info!

I'm going to keep my hair.

The trouble with the steroid shot is why I was planning on getting a cortisone steroid shot this week for a shoulder injury. Now I'll need a steroid shot for the itching pain. And I don't want either one! Aaauughhh. I guess now I'll have to choose. My goal is to keep my liver healthy. I'll try to go without steroid shots for as long as possible.

Well, that's enough of my whining. I'd love to know others' experiences.
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Old 10-28-2009, 04:42 PM
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
6,419 posts, read 20,309,431 times
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I am sorry you are suffering. It sounds like you and I used the same dye but even though I also did not do the patch test I have not had any problems. I considered doing it and I could have since I didn't originally dye my hair on the day I had planned...but like you I thought it shouldn't be a problem. The reason they tell you to do the test is because anyone can be allergic and not realize. I know you've learned your lesson and I highly suggest you do the tests for any color product you use from now on...but that's why they tell you to do it; to save you the suffering. So for anybody considering not doing the test; do it. You never know and I'm sure you don't want to suffer like OP is.

I'm not sure but maybe a clarifying shampoo; scalpicin? I'd hate to suggest something that might possibly make it worse; but I'd definitely say to rinse your scalp often. Please come back and let us know when your suffering ends.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:20 PM
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Not everyone is allergic.

I did read that in some people, symptoms didn't appear until 10 days later, so patch tests aren't always effective.

PPD needs to be banned.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:28 AM
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I know this is kind of late posting but I too had a reaction to hair dyes with ppd. it lasted a long time I think because when I washEd my hair the water had contact with ppd an would run down my body. I also did research and found out the chemical ppd is responsible for opening up the hair follicals so that the color will" take" . So it makes you think, hair dye must be horrid in Europe. They claim it's healthier for the hair and a permanent dye!! I live in The city, I figured there must be some kind of hair salon with euro hair dye. I found 2 places that offered the dye and swore it contained no ppd!! Ok I never went in but I found an alternative. Unlike others I was not trying to cover grays. I wanted to go dark. I was dying my hair black. I also learned the darker the dye the more ppd! I now buy something called manic panic. I know all of those punk type kids wear it. You know walking around with pink and purple hair. Not my fancy, but they do have a raven black dye with no ppd!!!!! I know their colors are extreme but play with the colors they have. It's almost like an art class because you have your primary colors then you mix. I was desperate but I found a lazy solution. One day I will go in to try the Euro dye. I'll let you know my experience. I have not permately dyed my hair since 2001!! I must say it's so much longer and healthier no matter what you decide please do a patch test and wait a couple of days. Oh and with manic panic the lighter your hair the better it "takes"! As a matter of fact they reccomend that users dye their hair white for better results!! I never did that though.( laughing) good luck doll. Never stop searching for a solution and you'll find something that works for you. One more thing.. Do you have ezcema?? If so try a Sea Salt bath.. It soothes skin because it kills bacteria( itching) and will sting at first but it will go away. Try it!! The dead sea is used all the time for it's health benfits.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:48 PM
Location: Florida
746 posts, read 1,491,527 times
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I don't think this is an Allergy per se.
It is a reaction to POISON!
You are just more sensitive to it than others, and perhaps that makes you one of the lucky ones, as you will not use it again. Those others will go on blissfully with the slow poison process. They will eventually have problems for which they can find no connection to the chemicals in the hair dye.
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