Many individuals experienced a facial rash within a few days after the application of hair color. There are various explanations for this and the most common is the hair dye product itself. In spite of this, many are surprised that coloring the hair is the trigger for the rash, especially those who have used the same product for many years without any issues.
The reason why the rash starts on the face after the application is due to the fact that the skin on the face is thinner and highly reactive than the skin on the scalp. Generally, the skin on the scalp is thick in which reactions to the hair dye rarely triggers scalp rashes. Additionally, an individual might have applied the same hair dye for many years without any issues, until the immune system becomes sensitized to the chemical via an unnoticed wound, scrape or any skin damage. As a result, the immune system responds to the chemical on the skin and the hair.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The indications of an allergic reaction to hair dye include contact dermatitis that often manifests on the eyelids, face, neck and ears. Severe cases of facial swelling can also occur due to contact dermatitis to hair dye that is often mistaken as angioedema.
The reaction to the hair dye including the facial rash typically manifest within 2-3 days after an individual colors his/her hair. Nevertheless, the symptoms can persist for days to weeks after the last time the hair was dyed.
Usual causes for hair dye reactions
- Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) – this is a chemical present in most permanent hair dyes and quite effective in infiltrating the hair shaft and follicle as well as fastening with the proteins in the skin. Due to this, PPD is a strong contact antigen capable of triggering allergic reactions such as a facial rash.
- Glyceryl thioglycolate – this chemical is present in permanent wave solutions that might be used along with hair dye. If an individual utilizes a solution to curl the hair together with hair color, it is vital to check all the chemicals present that might be the reason for the facial rash.
- Cobalt – this is another chemical found in some hair dyes that can trigger reactions. It provides the pigment in some light and medium brown hair dyes.
- Cocomidopropyl betaine – this is a substance derived from coconuts that is present in various soaps, shampoos and bath products. The chemical serves as a surfactant which produces bubbles. Since it is present in most shampoos, it is often overlooked as a cause for the facial rash.
Depending on the exact cause for the facial rash, it might be one of the ingredients in the hair dye product used by the individual.