(NaturalNews) To many, they are just one particular means by which to keep up with the latest styles and fashion trends. But chemical hair dyes carry with them some very serious health risks, a fact that 22-year-old Louise Henson from Skegness, Lincolnshire, in the UK recently learned the hard way.
The UK's Daily Mail reports that the young bartender recently tried to apply Garnier Nutrisse "caramel golden light brown" hair dye to her hair in order to match the hair color of her favorite media icon Cheryl Cole, from the popular television show X Factor. But the dye caused a severe allergic reaction that left Louise with a swelled face and extremely itchy skin.
"It was like I had a severe facial deformity, it was humiliating," said Louise to the Daily Mail about her experience. "It took a week before my face began getting back to normal."
After being rushed to the hospital where she was given steroid injections to curb the swelling, Louise was told that the chemicals in the dye she used were responsible for the reaction. Doctors also informed her that she would not be able to use hair dyes again because they could cause an even more severe reaction next time.
The same Daily Mail report highlights injuries sustained by 24-year-old Zoe Vernon after she tried to use a chemical hair dye kit at home. The chemicals in that application caused such a severe reaction that Zoe was left with severe burns and "weeping blisters" all over her face. She compared the experience to being severely burned in a fire.
In Louise's case, doctors did not necessarily know which specific chemical was responsible for her reaction. But in Zoe's case, a chemical known as para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which is a petroleum-based coloring dye, was identified as at least one culprit. And Zoe is now on a mission to ban the use of PPD in hair dyes and other consumer products.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to PPD can cause irritation of the pharynx and larynx, bronchial asthma, and sensitization dermatitis. The agency says the chemical should never touch the skin or eyes (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0495.html).
Most conventional hair and personal care products contain dangerous and largely untested chemicals like PPD that can cause severe reactions, and even permanent health problems. This is why it is crucial to avoid them, and instead seek out natural alternatives where all ingredients are clearly labeled and verified for safety (http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/color102804.cfm).