We received an email from Shruti, who mentioned that she was noticing itching and redness on her scalp as well as swelling. She also noticed that the redness spreading to the sides of her face and was worried that it might be something serious. Shruti also mentioned that this condition had started appearing after she coloured her hair.

Here are excerpts from the reply that was sent to her:

Hi Shruti,

Our initial diagnosis is that you might be allergic the hair dye used by you. There are numerous people who have something that we call Paraphenylenediamine allergy. There is quite a possibility that you too might be allergic to Paraphenylenediamine or PPD.

PPD is a common component of most hair dyes these days, because it offers a long lasting colour solution, without making the hair look unnatural. However, there are plenty of people, who are allergic to the same. This is why, all packs have a warning, which asks users to try a patch test first, and confirm that there is no allergy. We are guessing that you did not conduct the patch test, which is why you are now facing allergy.

PPD allergy can present as redness, itching and swelling over the scalp and extend to forehead, around the eyes and hairline margin. The symptoms can get aggravated after sunexposure.Rarely it can also present as whitish patches at the areas of contact.

While right now, you might only be facing with swelling and redness, chances are that if the allergy gets too severe, you can develop anaphylaxis. might end up with losing hair too.We would suggest that you quit using the hair dye immediately. In addition, we would also suggest that the next time you are thinking of buying a pack, avoid ones which have one of these components:

  • Phenylenediamine base
  • p-Phenylenediamine
  • 4-Phenylenediamine and 4-Benzenediamine
  • 1,4-Phenylenediamine and 1,4-Benzenediamine
  • para-Diaminobenzene (p-Diaminobenzene)
  • para-Aminoaniline (p-Aminoaniline)

We treated Shruti with anti allergic ointments and tablets. We also gave her sunscreens and asked her to protect from sun exposure by using caps. We strictly told her not to use any hair products containing PPD and go for alternative agents if needed.

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