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What's in an Allergy

Updated: Feb 9, 2020

This is one of the most confusing topics in the hairdressing world.

What is an Allergy? What is sensitivity? And what is the difference?

Most people experience no problems when having their hair coloured. While some people are allergic to hair dye, others may develop an allergy over time. At The Vintage Avenue we always carry out a patch test on new clients or if you haven't visited us within 6 months. If you have been to a salon as a new client and they didn't patch test you, then they are putting you at risk!!

First of all its the PPD (paraphenylenediamine) in the colour that causes these problems. You need to know and understand that these PPD are also in lots of other items that we use every single day. These include:

Plastic shopping Bags

Photo-copying and printer inks




Dark coloured cosmetics

Textiles dyed with dyes

Black Henna Tattoos (It is not advisable to have hair dye if you have a black Henna Tattoo)

By overloading the body with all these PPD's and a hair dye as well it is no wonder sometimes your skins sensitivity is increased.

There is a difference between a sensitivity and an allergy to PPD. A sensitivity may cause contact dermatitis symptoms: such as burning, stinging or red, dry skin.

If you are allergic to hair dye, your symptoms can range from mild to serious. Symptoms can occur immediately or take up to 48hrs to manifest.

Hair dye allergy symptoms include: Stinging or burning scalp, face or neck, blisters or Welts, Itching or swelling of the scalp and face, swollen eyelids, lips, hands/feet or an angry rash anywhere on the body. In very occasional cases, anaphylactic shock.

Ways of preventing a reaction:

Always make sure that the salon you use patch tests you if you are a new client and you should also be given a yearly patch test if you are a regular client at your existing salon.

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