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Allergies

Itch caused by hair dye

02/10/2009

Question:

Hi,i just dyed my hair 5 days ago and it didn`t really itch the first two days.On the third day,my head and the area behind my ear started to itch and i couldn`t resist scratching it the whole day.Today has been the fifth day but if I don`t go and scratch the area,it isn`t so bad.There is also a small bump beside my ear and I know that my situation isn`t that serious compared to others but i was am just curious whether this is an allergy.Will the itch go away or stay there forever?If it`s going to be there for a long time,is there any treatment available?Thanks

Answer:

It is possible that the reaction you are describing is a contact reaction to a common chemical in hair dye. This is a well known problem with many hair dyes and is a common cause of itching and rash on the scalp and face/neck. This is usually a response to a chemical called p-phenylenediamine. It is possible to do allergy contact patch testing for this chemical. If this is the cause, you will need to avoid completely as future reactions can be more severe and troublesome. I would suggest you speak with a physician familiar with patch testing and determine if you are sensitive.

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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