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How to treat allergic reactions to hair dye

Updated April 17, 2017

Dying your hair at home is a quick and easy way to change your look. A huge range of products is available to change hair to almost any colour of the rainbow. However, some of the chemicals present in hair dye may cause allergic reactions in sensitive consumers. If you have found yourself with an allergic reaction to hair dye, follow these steps to treat the symptoms and prevent them from recurring in the future.

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  1. Wash any remaining dye out of your hair using a clarifying shampoo, if you have one on hand. If not, use the strongest shampoo you have to eliminate all residue.

  2. Take an antihistamine tablet, such as Benadryl. These allergy products can be purchased over the counter at any drugstore, and will help block the allergic reaction.

  3. Know that cortisone creams can be applied to itchy skin to help reduce inflammation and calm the itch of a mild allergic reaction to hair dye. These topical ointments can treat a variety of skin irritations.

  4. If symptoms are persist or become more severe, see a doctor immediately. Allergic reactions on the scalp can cause problems with the face and neck, or even impede breathing.

  5. The next time you want to dye your hair at home, begin with a patch test. Mix a tiny amount of the dye and apply it to the skin on your inner arm for 5 minutes, then rinse. If there is no reaction 24 hours later, the dye is safe for you to use.

  6. Tip

    Check hair-dye labels before you make a purchase if you know you are allergic to specific ingredients.

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Things You'll Need

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Antihistamine
  • Contisone cream

About the Author

Kimberly A. Smith has been a freelance writer for two years. She graduated from the University of California at Davis and the California Culinary Academy, then pursued a career baking wedding cakes. During her time at CCA, she received certification in nutrition and food safety. She currently attends the University of Oregon School of Law.

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