Hair Dye Allergy: Everything You Need To Know

Tearing open a packet of hair dye to cover up your greys is a common practice. We have seen many people around us use it. Dyeing your hair at home is a practical way to cover up all the white hair strands. Hair dye is cheaper, convenient, and lasts longer. Unlike hair colour, it penetrates the hair to colour it rather than staying on the surface. Commercially available hair dyes are usually very harsh and filled with chemicals. When they seep into the surface, they can cause an allergic reaction.

According to an estimation, at least 42% of people who use hair dyes report mild allergic reactions. People above the age of 50 are more likely to experience these allergies. The key reason for the allergy is the chemical para-phenylenediamine or PPD present in hair dyes, found in almost all commercial hair dyes that you will see on the shelves of a drugstore. People should take proper precautions before dyeing their hair, especially if they have a sensitive scalp.

What Are the Symptoms of Hair Dye Allergy?

There are broadly two types of reactions individuals exhibit to hair dye allergy – Contact Dermatitis and Anaphylaxis. The more common & mild one, Contact Dermatitis, is a skin rash caused by contact with a specific substance that triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms for contact dermatitis include:

  • Redness and itchiness
  • Rashes on the face, ears, neck, scalp and eyelids.
  • Swollen or blistered skin
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Skin discolouration

These symptoms show up within 2 to 3 days of the application of the dye, and are resolved within 1 or 2 weeks.

Anaphylaxis is a rare & more dangerous type of hair dye allergy. Only a few people are diagnosed with it. This hair dye allergy exhibits a full-body reaction and is potentially life-threatening. It manifests symptoms within merely a few hours of its application. The symptoms of Anaphylaxis are as follows:

  • Raised bumps and swollen hives on the skin
  • Nausea and difficulty in breathing
  • Swollen eyes, tongue, lips, hands or feet
  • Feeling lightheaded and dizzy
  • Blistering rashes
  • Drop-in blood pressure

While there are home remedies that can be suggested, they will only work on light allergic reactions like contact dermatitis. The more severe cases require medical attention from professionals. Such cases can be potentially life-endangering, so they should be treated with utmost care.

How to Get Rid of Mild Hair Dye Allergies at Home?

Using home remedies for mild hair dye allergy symptoms saves you a lot of time and money. These solutions for hair dye allergy treatment at home are easy to understand and follow. You should also stop using synthetic dyes if you have an allergic reaction to them, even if it is a mild one. Some remedies that have shown results on mild allergies are as follows:

1) Fresh Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera gel is the perfect ingredient for reducing swelling and redness. It has a cooling effect on the skin. The aloe vera gel consists of anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it decreases the burning sensations and soothes the skin. Always prefer freshly extracted aloe vera gel over the store bought ones – nothing compares to fresh, natural ingredients for treatment for hair dye allergy!

How to Use:

  • Scoop fresh aloe vera gel from the leaf and apply it to the infected region. Leave it for 1-2 hours. Rinse it off with cold water
  • Mix Aloe vera gel, coconut oil and honey. Stir the mixture and apply it to the rashes. Leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water.

2) Lemon and Yoghurt

Lemon and yoghurt make a great combination for treating hair dye allergies at home. Yoghurt is known for its soothing function, while lemon contains anti-inflammatory properties. They help in curing burning sensations and skin irritations.

How to Use:

Mix 4 tablespoons of yoghurt with one tablespoon of lemon juice. Blend it well. Apply the mixture to the affected areas and leave it for 25-30 mins. Wash it off with cold water.

Note: Always do a patch-test with lemon on other parts of your skin before applying to an infected area, some people are sensitive to the acid in lemon, so ensure you are not sensitive before using this remedy

3) Baking Soda

Baking soda is an alkaline substance that rejuvenates the skin and helps to balance its pH. It can cure itchiness and redness of the skin. Baking soda also contains anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Use:

Blend 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda with two tablespoons of water. Mix it and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it for 20-25 mins. Rinse it off with cold water. Do a patch test for this remedy too, as in the case of the lemon remedy above.

These are some solutions to hair dye allergies that you can try at home. Seek professional help if the allergy turns severe. These homemade solutions only work on mild hair dye allergies.


In summary, the synthetic hair dyes available in the stores can cause damage to your hair & can cause allergies. To avoid that, switch to natural hair dyes which are safe & effective too.

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Most haircare problems can be solved by following a haircare regime that is free from synthetic chemicals.