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Is there an ingredient in hair dye that can cause an allergic reaction if you have psoriasis?

ANSWER

Anyone can have a skin reaction to hair dye, even when the product is natural. But one common ingredient, paraphenylenediamine (PPD), seems to be the culprit in most hair dye reactions. These can be mild or quite serious.

Mild irritation. Within about 48 hours, your scalp, neck, forehead, ears, or eyelids may get irritated or inflamed. Other signs of mild irritation include:

  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Dry or cracked skin
  • Burning or stinging sensation

Allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to PPD, you may notice:

  • Itching or swelling of the face or scalp
  • Itching or a rash elsewhere on your body
  • Generally feeling ill

If you have a severe allergy, you could have a serious reaction within minutes called anaphylaxis. A few warning signs include swelling of the eyes, lips, and feet; swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat; and feeling lightheaded or faint. If you notice these, call 911 right away. If you have an epinephrine autoinjector use it, then call 911.

SOURCES:

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Don’t fear your flakes,” “Safe styling for scalp psoriasis.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Hair Dye Safety: What You Need to Know About Salon and Box Color.”

NHS: “Dangers of black henna,” “Hair dye reactions.” 

Logona: “Hair Color Guide.”

Mayo Clinic: “Anaphylaxis,” “Stress Management.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Use of an epinephrine autoinjector (Beyond the Basics).”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Hair styling tips that can reduce flares of scalp psoriasis,” “Scalp psoriasis: Tips for managing,” “Scalp Psoriasis: Diagnosis and Treatment.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on May 7, 2020

SOURCES:

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Don’t fear your flakes,” “Safe styling for scalp psoriasis.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Hair Dye Safety: What You Need to Know About Salon and Box Color.”

NHS: “Dangers of black henna,” “Hair dye reactions.” 

Logona: “Hair Color Guide.”

Mayo Clinic: “Anaphylaxis,” “Stress Management.”

UpToDate: “Patient education: Use of an epinephrine autoinjector (Beyond the Basics).”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Hair styling tips that can reduce flares of scalp psoriasis,” “Scalp psoriasis: Tips for managing,” “Scalp Psoriasis: Diagnosis and Treatment.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on May 7, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

How can you manage psoriasis so you don’t have a flare that interferes with a hair dye appointment?

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