Hair dyes allergic reactions and symptoms.


These days people dye their hair for various reasons. Some do it to cover their greys and others to achieve different colour effects. The health of your hair depends on a few factors both internally and externally.

Externally would be dyes, pollutants, harsh weather, and chemical shampoo that can damage your hair. Internally causes may be hereditary issues, illness, nutritional deficiencies, poor circulation, hormonal imbalance, and stress.

There is one look that nobody wants – a scalp that is swollen and red. Only about 5 per cent of people are allergic to hair dyes. If you are interested in hair dye allergic reactions and symptoms, you are on the right page.

If you are allergic to hair dye – the reaction

Women and men of any age can be allergic to hair dyes. In the early days, you would find older women with this problem because they were the ones colouring their hair and therefore more susceptible due to old age.

Today, a new generation of younger people are dyeing just for style and fashion purposes–so why worry about an allergy when there’s so much fun waiting?

However, some individuals may get a more dramatic reaction than others since these young adults haven’t yet built up natural antibodies against chemical substances as they grow into adulthood over time through exposure to life experiences or medications such as vaccines which gradually adapts our immune system over time.

The first time I dyed my hair, I felt a burning sensation on my scalp. This only lasted a few hours. Allergic reactions to hair dye seldom appear the first time you colour your hair. Instead, they can appear on the second or third time after exposure. This is because it is likely your body develops antibodies to the dye after the first exposure.

The next time I dyed my hair, my scalp started itching. To prevent this in the future, I apply a small amount of dye to a limited area instead of the whole head. This actually did help control the itching. My advice to everyone is to see a dermatologist if your scalp is reacting to the hair dye.

Everyone’s allergic reaction is different. Some will have their faces all puffy and others with swollen eyes.

Extreme cases like blisters can appear. This is why manufacturers label their packaging with warnings. This warning may include caution statements and product ingredients.

One such warning that is mandatory, is that dyeing eyelashes or eyebrows can be dangerous. If the dye gets into your eyes it may cause blindness.

Are you allergic to hair dye? – the symptoms

There is a difference between sensitivity and an allergy to hair dye ingredients. A sensitivity can cause dermatitis symptoms which may be mild or serious. Sometimes symptoms can occur almost immediately or take up to 48 hours to appear.

Here are some hair dye allergies symptoms:

  • Swollen eyelids, lips, hands, or feet.
  • The stinging sensation on the scalp, face, and sometimes the neck
  • Blisters and rashes occurring

Allergy Testing – there is no try and error!

Most people who dye their hair do not have any adverse reaction but for those who, here are a few testing options:

  1. Find the patch-testing centre. To pinpoint the chemical involved, your dermatologists can order a hair-dye tray test.
  2. Ask your hairdresser to do a patch test by applying a small amount of dye behind your ear or inside your elbow 48 hours before dyeing your hair.
  3. A good indication that you are allergic, would be rashes, swelling, or itching reaction. Follow pretesting advice. If you are doing at-home hair dye, follow pretesting instructions to make sure you’re not allergic.

Tips for protecting your scalp.

  1. If you are colouring at home, read and respect all instructions on your labels. Reduce your exposure as much as possible by using gloves and aprons.
  2. Use Peroxide – a gentler alternative to bleach.
  3. Avoid colouring your whole scalp. Highlights don’t involve the scalp and pose a very low risk. People up to 25% of greys should colour only the greys.
  4. If you are pregnant, don’t colour for the entire pregnancy if at all possible.
  5. If you feel a slight indication like dizziness, difficulty breathing, or even swelling, seek medical help immediately.
  6. Wait until your greys are showing before dyeing.
  7. Use non-PPD ( p-Phenylenediamine ) formulas. They may or may not be 100 per cent non-toxic but at least you eliminate one known chemical.
  8. Try to dye your hair less frequently. You could use brush-on powder to cover the hair roots. This way you reduce your scalp form over
    -exposure to dyes.
  9. Wear hats, avoid chlorinate (swimming pool), wash your hair less, etc are always keeping your hair colour vibrant and healthy-looking.
    This way you re-colour less often.
  10. Hair dyes for sensitive scalp
  11. Baking soda – used to lighten the hair colour.
  12. Black tea or coffee – used to dye hair brown.
  13. Lemon juice – mix with distilled water to lighten dark blonde hair.


It is always safe to select non-toxic and safe ingredients in your hair dye. The remedies that we have mentioned can work for some people, but it’s important not to give up on yourself if they don’t work out the way you want them too.

Every person will react differently to allergies; so before trying anything new, I would advise to do your own research first.

Also remember that allergic reactions are quick or long depending on how sensitive one’s body is and what kind of allergen a person has been exposed to previously.

Please leave us any questions about this article in the comment box below!


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – Pocket Guide for Chemical

Disclosure: Just a Heads Up: My posts may contain affiliate links! If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a cent more, but I’ll get a small commission, which helps to keep the lights on. All discount is taken from the suggested retail price. Many thanks!

Disclaimer: These statements are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. They are for information purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should read carefully all product packaging. If you suspect that you have a medical condition, seek help from your doctor. 

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 20