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  1. #1
    mackmama is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default Allergic reaction to hair dye when coloring hair

    Has anyone had an allergic reaction to hair dye... either at home or at the salon? I had one yesterday which resulted in an ER visit. Not fun. Rash all over, very itchy, throat irritation. I had colored my hair at home with the same color I've used several times before.

    My (vain) question: were you able to use hair dye again in the future? I can't imagine never coloring my hair again. I also can't imagine correcting my current color. I wasn't able to add the 2nd step of the process which is adding highlights so right now my hair is brown with an ever-so-slight tinge of green!

  2. #2
    Toba is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Ugh! I'm so sorry!!

    I've also had an allergic reaction to hair dye that I had used previously. It turns out that it was medication I was on for panic disorder. It also turned me photo-sensitive (can't be in the sun or my scalp gets hives all over it).

    I am able to use the hair dye by taking a larger than normal dose of Benadryl. Have you taken anything different recently? Any kind of new medication?

  3. #3
    mackmama is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I'm sorry you've also had a reaction - it's not fun! Nothing new - and I am only surmising that it's the hair dye since the reaction started immediately afterward. I just can't figure out what else it could be. I'm also really glad to hear you can still color your hair with the help of some Benadryl. How much do you take?

    ETA: Did only your scalp get hives - or all over your body?

  4. #4
    oneplustwo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Yikes, that sounds awful! I tried an Aveda salon once that had been recommended to me, in order to try a more natural type of hair coloring, and ended up with a big, itchy rash on my scalp and parts of my face. Nowhere near bad enough to go to the ER, though. I had previously colored my hair a couple of times with my regular stylist, using a mainstream brand (I think called Goldwell) without any issues. When I tried the Aveda salon I had been on a course of antibiotics at the time for a sinus infection, and that was most likely the reason I had the reaction. Still, I switched back to my regular stylist for hair coloring, and have never had a problem since.
    “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will,
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  5. #5
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    Do you have any tattoos? I have read in more than one place that a tattoo can increase your risk for an allergic reaction to hair dye even if you have used the same dye before the tattoo with no problems. And as with any allergy, your body's response to the allergen can intensify dramatically over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katerinasmom View Post
    Do you have any tattoos? I have read in more than one place that a tattoo can increase your risk for an allergic reaction to hair dye even if you have used the same dye before the tattoo with no problems. And as with any allergy, your body's response to the allergen can intensify dramatically over time.
    This is actually a warning on boxes of home hair dye now!
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    Liz
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  7. #7
    mackmama is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    No tats, it really doesn't make sense. I've used this same stuff so many times before. Ugh I have to get my current color fixed somehow though. It's NOT a good look. The rash is so itchy, too. At times I think it's improving then, at others, it looks like it did at the beginning.

  8. #8
    Toba is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackmama View Post
    I'm sorry you've also had a reaction - it's not fun! Nothing new - and I am only surmising that it's the hair dye since the reaction started immediately afterward. I just can't figure out what else it could be. I'm also really glad to hear you can still color your hair with the help of some Benadryl. How much do you take?

    ETA: Did only your scalp get hives - or all over your body?
    Allergies are funny. Supposedly you cannot develop an allergy as an adult (I've read that many times, but don't agree with it). Years ago, I used to do my acrylic nails. I spilled some of the liquid on the arm of the couch I was sitting on and cleaned it up the best I could. The house still smelled, but it always did because that stuff is powerful! I sat on the couch with my right side of my body up against the arm on the couch where the spill occurred for hours that same day and the next day. I woke up with a hive (I'm sure it was multiple hives, but it was so bad that it looked like one giant hive) starting under my armpit all the down to my waist. I freaked out and went to my longtime doctor immediately and was told it was definitely an allergic reaction. That was definitely the worst one I've ever had. A strong shot of steroids, oral steroids for two weeks and all. After that, whenever I did my nails, I'd get little blisters around my cuticles and on my fingertips. Didn't put two and two together (duh!) because I had used them for so long. I tried again a few years later at a salon and the same thing happened only worse, plus on my ring finger were my wedding band and engagement ring ... that finger was the worst by far ... after two weeks, my whole fingertip came off on that finger in many multiple of layers of skin. If you think about, it makes sense ... the other fingers weren't as bad because the "toxin" was able to flow out my fingers. My ring finger was kind of like a tourniquet so the "toxin" stayed mostly in that finger. To this day, I am unable to get acrylics done, but I am able to use gels. Definitely an allergy that I developed as an adult.

    I'm also severely allergic to wasp stings. I was stung by one as a young child which swelled up and itched really bad, also left a scar (I would consider that a mild to moderate allergy). When I was a preteen, I went with my mom and a group of young boys ( older than me though) that we knew to pass out fliers for her new business. A yellow jacket somehow got into my shirt and stung me nine times. My mom was screaming at me to take my shirt off but there was no way I was taking it off in front of a bunch of boys! The "attack" only took a minute or two. After that, I was stung once again a few years later ... this time it was so bad that I had a severe reaction. My throat closed up, I was barely able to breathe and so on. Emergency room visit, and now I have epi pens.

    My point with both stories is that I definitely showed a mild-ish reaction to those two things before, but I was kind of overdosed at one point by both of them, which in turn made my allergy to them much more dangerous.

    Did you ever have a milder reaction to the hair dye? Even like the teensiest tingle or burning or itching? I have, but it was bearable, so I just lived with it. My guess, in my situation, is that all the hair dyeing and highlighting over the years kind of overdosed my body again to make the slight allergy much stronger. And then with the addition of the panic medicine, the allergy came out even stronger on my scalp because I was already allergic to it, IYKWIM. Also, it's entirely possible that the hair dye manufacturer changed the formulation OR she used a different hair dye altogether and didn't want to say anything after you had a reaction.

    To answer your questions, with the hair dye, it was hives all over my scalp and slightly on my face where my hairline is, so basically everywhere the hair dye touched. When I have the reaction to the sun on my scalp, it's weird ... it only starts happening when I started to sweat. As soon as I did, you could notice the hives right away and I started itching. They would cause huge craters with scabs on top after a day or two. I really don't get the reaction during the milder seasons ... it seems to be only when it's hot enough to make me sweat. Because of this, my doctor has told me I'm only allowed out in the sun during the summer for 20 minutes, two to three times a week. I also can't cheat with an umbrella because I haven't yet found one that has a UV block, plus just the heat would make me sweat, which would then cause the hives. It stinks! Oh, and the Benadryl ... I take 100 mgs. Which my doctor knows about but is unhappy with. I've tried every prescription allergy medicine on the market (I have many other allergies too) and *nothing* works as well as Benadryl for me.

    Hope you find something that works for you! I would be unhappy with the green tinge too and vanity prevails ... I would try Benadryl to get you through the hair fix, but that's just my opinion based on what has worked for me. Please let us know how you make out!

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