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Allergies

Possible hair dye allergy

02/29/2008

Question:

I developed what my dermatologist calls an allergy in December. I have puffiness in the eye area, especially under the eyes, which has caused wrinkles. Also, there is itching around my neck, front and back. The Dr. suspects it is a cosmetic allergy possibly to my hair dye, perfume or mascara. But because I don`t have health insurance coverage, he said patch testing may not be advisable because it is expensive and may not be definitive. My question is: Do you think this could be a hair dye allergy or should I investigate some other triggers? I have eliminated all fragrance in my cosmetics and detergents but the problem persists. What do you suggest?

Answer:

You are describing contact dermatitis. Hair dye and hair products certainly can cause this. The chemical is called phenylenediamine in many hair coloring products. If you are concerned about the rash, I suggest you continue working with your doctor to determine the cause of the reaction. It is easy to no longer use hair dye and see if the rash resolves as the dye fades. If this doesn't work, spend more time working on other solutions with your doctor.

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Response by:

David  Hauswirth, MD David Hauswirth, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Crtitical Care & Sleep
Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University