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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Are Hair Dyes Safe?

African American Woman With Hair Dye

Hair dyes cause chemical reactions which trigger color changes in the hair. One chemical that has caught the attention of the American Contact Dermatitis Society is phenylenediamine, or PPD. The organization researched 100 hair dyes and found that 89 percent contained PPD. So, what is PPD and what does it do?

PPD can trigger an allergic reaction called allergic contact dermatitis. The symptoms are a rash that can occur on the face, neck and chest area. It is also believed that long-term effects of exposure to this chemical can cause lupus, asthma, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Some researchers also believe there is a link to the chemical and breast, uterine and bladder cancer.

Here is what the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection states about the effects of phenylenediamine: "Acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of p-phenylenediamine may cause severe dermatitis, eye irritation and tearing, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, vertigo, tremors, convulsions, and coma in humans."

One safe alternative is to ask the hair technician to use products which do not contain PPD. If you don't know or have never used hair dyes before, a skin patch test can be done to determine if a reaction occurs. Products on the market currently which contain PPD include L'Oreal Preference and Feria, Clairol Ultress Custom Color, Revlon High Dimension, Garnier Nutrisse Permanent Creme, Clairol Natural Instincts for men, and Just For Men Shampoo haircolor. Products which do not contain PPD include Clairol Loving Care, Grecian Formula, Lady Grecian Formula, Jerome Russell's Color Mousse, and Sun-In Spray-In Hair Lightener.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.