printable article

Originally published February 15 2008

Suffering From Hair Colouring - A Chemical Overdose

by Lynn Berry

(NaturalNews) Recently a young woman in the U.K. suffered a severe reaction to a hair dye with chemical burns to her skin around her face, neck and scalp and a rash over her body (1). This is in line with reports of an increase in hair dye allergies. A survey in London found that contact dermatitis due to a hair dye allergy rose by 7.1 percent over a six-year period after a patch test (2).

According a story on a Current Affairs program, the number of reactions to hair dye is soaring (3).

Hair dye, particularly permanent hair dye, contains harsher chemicals than other dye types. Permanent hair dye consists of colour and developer. Contained in the colour mixture is a range of synthetic dyes and intermediates such as ammonia, diamino-benzenes, phenylenediamines, resorcinol and phenols. The colour is mixed with a developer, such as hydrogen peroxide which then produces a colour.

A team in the U.K. tested permanent hair dyes due to concerns that many products contain highly allergenic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals. They found 6 of the main sensitizers, each with different degrees of strength, in a number of the 15 products tested and without mention on product labels.

"Those ingredients included P-Phenylenediamine, an extreme sensitiser found in all but three of the products tested; Phenlymethylpyrazolene, a strong sensitizer found in three of the dyes; m-Aminophenol, found in six of the dyes; N,N-bis, a strong sensitizer found in four dyes; 4-Aimon-2-hydroxytoluene, a strong sensitizer found in six dyes and Toluene-2.5-diamine, a sensitizer of unclassifiable strength found in two dyes." (

These chemicals cause sensitisation which means that after initial exposure to them, or other products containing them, a more severe reaction may occur.

Reactions to the hair dye products include severe swelling and rashes. In addition, there are links to a range of cancers, including breast, bladder and leukemias which have as yet to be definitely proven.

Note that p-phenylenediamine (PPD) is derived from coal-tar which is a potentially carcinogenic ingredient. Du Pont does not recommend prolonged skin contact with this chemical.


1. (

2. (

3. (

About the author

Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit