In the wake of two recent tragic cases in which women had severe allergic reactions to PPD in hair dye, people who use permanent hair colouring are being urged to be more aware of the need to carry out patch testing before colouring their hair. A young woman died recently following a severe allergic reaction to PPD, and another woman, Julie McCabe, has been left on life support following use of a hair dying kit.
PPD, which stands for ParaPhenylenediamene, is found in virtually all permanent hair dyes. Herbatint, a company which produces hair colouring products that contain fewer allergens than most hair dyes, has cautioned that even ranges that appear to be natural hair care products can produce allergic reactions. For example, black henna products, which many people assume to be a natural alternative, tend to contain PPD, as do black henna tattoos. Black henna tattoos tend to increase sensitivity to PPD, and anyone who has one of these tattoos should avoid permanent hair colouring.
People who use permanent hair dyes should always do a patch test before dyeing the hair, even if it is being done professionally in a salon. Reactions to PPD can occur even in people who have used the products safely for years, so patch testing is essential each time. For those wishing to avoid PPD altogether, some semi-permanent colours are PPD-free, such as Herbatint’s Vegetal Hair Colour, a range of vegan products which provide temporary hair colouring.