I reacted to a chemical found in many permanent and semi-permanent hair colors called paraphenylenediamine (PPD). This chemical can also be found in dark colored cosmetics, dark synthetic hair (which is why some people think they are allergic to braids), textile dyes, temporary tattoos, black henna products and printing inks.
This has happened to me before, but it wasn't this bad, and I didn't know what it was from. The previous two times it happened were both from salon experiences. However, I had gotten a relaxer and a color at the same time, so I assumed that the stylists didn't rinse out the relaxer enough. I just moved on to another stylist. This allergy gets worse with each exposure to PPD.
My rash is just about gone, but I'm still itching- all over my body, actually. I'm still taking Benadryl. My scalp is very tender, so I'm trying not to manipulate my hair too much. I've also only been co-washing, staying away from shampoos or any products that might aggravate my scalp. Applying hydrogen peroxide once a day has helped the rash go away more quickly. I also apply calamine lotion to the areas that itch. Not fun at all.
Compared to some, I didn't have such a bad reaction. For some, the swelling lasts for a week or more. My doctor told me that she has seen much worse, and some even experience trouble breathing. Some people are hospitalized, and there have been reports of some falling into a coma from their reactions. Fortunately, I haven't lost any hair.
Make sure you check the ingredients of your hair products. PPD can also come up under the following names:
- PPD or PPDA
- Phenylenediamine base
- para-Diaminobenzene (p-Diaminobenzene)
- para-Aminoaniline (p-Aminoaniline)
I really want to move on from this bad experience, but since I have this blog, I feel I should use this platform to help others and prevent what happened to me to anyone else.