Home Remedies For Hair Dye Allergies

Reviewed by Dr. Bhakti Kapse, General Physician
by Pooja Karkala

Getting a new hair color can be exciting. However, most brands contain harmful ingredients that may have a hazardous effect on your hair and cause allergic reactions.

Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is a common ingredient found in most hair dyes. PPD can cause allergic reactions among people with hypoallergenic skin. Is there any way to treat hair dye allergies? Scroll down to find home remedies that can put your allergy woes to rest. Keep reading!

Do Hair Dye Ingredients Cause Allergies?

We use hair color products to make our hair look trendy and lustrous. But these products may contain chemical ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction (like contact dermatitis).

The primary ingredient in these products that causes this reaction is paraphenylenediamine (PPD). This is usually used in printer ink and temporary tattoo ink. Packaged hair dye is usually sold with an oxidizer that partially oxidizes PPD. This effect is likely to cause an allergy.

Along with PPD, another chemical compound called para toluenediamine (PTD) is added to hair dye formulations. Though PTD could be milder than PPD, it can cause allergies.

Here are the signs and symptoms of such allergies.

Symptoms Of Hair Dye Allergy

The severity of your symptoms may vary. They can surface immediately or show up within 48 hours of using the hair dye.

The symptoms include:

  •  Red rashes on your body
  •  A stinging sensation on your scalp, face, and neck
  •  Appearance of blisters
  •  Swelling of the face and neck
  •  Inflammation of the feet, hands, eyelids, and lips

Mild symptoms can be relieved by washing the hair with a mild shampoo to remove excess dye. Gentle application of moisturizers and topical steroids can help in taking care of the inflamed part of the skin.

Sometimes, you can develop a severe reaction to these products. They can cause anaphylaxis, a condition characterized by fatigue, swelling of the throat, and increased difficulty in breathing. Anaphylaxis requires immediate attention, or it can turn fatal.

Using certain home remedies can help in reducing the severity of the symptoms.

Home Remedies For Hair Dye Allergies

1. Honey

Honey is one of the oldest used traditional remedies for skin conditions. As it possesses immunomodulatory properties, it may help in reducing the lesions and rashes associated with atopic and contact dermatitis (1).

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Sterile gauze

What You Have To Do

  1. Dab a tablespoon of honey on the sterile gauze.
  2. Dab the gauze on the rashes.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat 3-4 times daily until the allergy heals.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has a therapeutic effect on the skin. It possesses wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties that can eliminate the redness and swelling associated with hair dye allergy. The plant can also promote faster healing (2).

You Will Need

Aloe vera leaf or gel

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply aloe vera gel to the rashes.
  2. Leave it on overnight and rinse it off the next morning.

How Often You Should Do This

You can repeat this daily.

3. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties (3). It can help heal the inflamed lesions associated with hair dye allergies. The oil is also rich in wax esters that can help repair the skin.

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Heat a tablespoon of jojoba oil mixed with a carrier oil (like olive oil).
  2. Apply this to your scalp and other affected areas.
  3. Leave it on overnight and wash in the morning.

How Often You Should Do This

You can apply this oil at least 2 times a week.

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is widely used as a remedy for skin irritation. It possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (4). These properties can help decrease inflammation, redness, and pain that are usually associated with hair dye allergies.

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil to your scalp.
  2. Leave it on overnight and wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo the next morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling and rashes caused by contact dermatitis (a possible reaction to hair dyes) (5).

You Will Need

  • A few drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Heat the mixture of tea tree oil and jojoba oil in a saucepan.
  2. Apply this warm oil mixture to the rashes.
  3. Leave it on overnight and wash in the morning with a mild shampoo.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

6. Peppermint

Peppermint possesses antipruritic properties (6). Hence, it may help soothe the itchy, red, and scaly rashes associated with hair dye allergy.

You Will Need

  • 1 cup of water
  • A handful of peppermint leaves

What You Have To Do

  1. Heat a cup of water and add the peppermint leaves.
  2. Set the mixture aside for a while and let it cool.
  3. Apply it to the rashes and wash after 20 minutes.

How Often Should You Do This

Do this 2-3 times a week.

7. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel contains bioactive compounds, such as tannins and proanthocyanidins, that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties (7). It may help eliminate the redness, swelling, and itchiness associated with hair dye allergies.

You Will Need

Witch hazel extract

What You Have To Do

  1. Take a sterile Q-tip and dab witch hazel extract onto it.
  2. Apply this extract to the rash and leave it to dry.
  3. Wash with plain water.

How Often Should You Do This

Apply this to the affected areas 2-3 times a day.

8. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (8). This may help reduce the inflammation, redness, and pain caused by an allergic reaction to the PPD in hair dyes.

You Will Need

1 cup of chamomile tea

What You Have To Do

  1. Prepare a cup of chamomile tea and set it aside to cool.
  2. Use the cool mixture to wash your scalp and hair.
  3. Air dry your hair.

How Often Should You Do This

You can do this 2-3 times a week.

9. Olive Oil

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and other phenolic compounds. These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can be effective in alleviating the symptoms of hair dye allergies (9).

You Will Need

1 tablespoon of olive oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply a tablespoon of warm olive oil to your scalp and other affected areas.
  2. Leave it on overnight and wash thoroughly with a shampoo.
  3. Alternatively, you may leave it on for about an hour and then wash with a shampoo.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this 2 times a week.

10. Sesame Oil

The sesamin in sesame oil has anti-inflammatory properties (10). It can help treat hair dye allergies by soothing the red and itchy rashes and swelling.

You Will Need

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Heat sesame oil lightly and apply it to your scalp and other affected areas.
  2. Leave it on overnight and wash it off thoroughly the next morning.
  3. Alternatively, you may leave it on for about an hour before washing with a shampoo.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

These home remedies may help treat hair dye allergies. But as we know, prevention is always better than cure. In the following section, we have listed certain tips you can follow.

Precautions To Bear In Mind

  • Always do a patch test of the product before using it. This will help minimize the chances of a possible allergic reaction.
  • If you observe even the mildest allergic response to a chemical hair dye, stop using it immediately.
  • If you want to get tattooed, make sure to check if you are allergic to the ink.
  • People allergic to PPD or PTD could also be allergic to other substances, such as benzocaine, anesthetics, etc. Hence, keep your doctor, dentist, and hairstylist informed to avoid any mishaps.

Treating hair dye allergies doesn’t have to be a daunting task. You can follow these home remedies to obtain relief from the symptoms. You can also apply natural dyeing agents, like henna, on the scalp, which do not cause allergies. Ensure you wear gloves while handling the hair dye. If your allergy turns severe, seek immediate medical help.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How long does it take to treat a hair dye allergy?

If you have a mild allergic reaction to a hair dye, it will last for 7-10 days. However, if you have a more serious case of the allergy, you may experience a life-threatening condition known as anaphylaxis. In such cases, please seek immediate medical attention.

Which hair dyes do not contain PPD?

Most semi-permanent hair dyes may not contain PPD, but almost all dyes contain PTD. Madison Reed is one brand that is PPD-free. However, do check with your hairstylist prior to getting your hair colored.

Can hair dye make you feel sick?

Hair dye is formulated using chemical compounds that can cause skin toxicity. These can lead to an allergic reaction and may also make you feel sick.

10 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Pooja Karkala

Pooja is a Mass Communications and Psychology graduate. Her education has helped her develop the perfect balance between what the reader wants to know and what the reader has to know. As a classical dancer, she has long, black hair, and she knows the struggle that goes into maintaining it. She believes in home remedies and grandma’s secrets for achieving beautiful, luscious hair. When she is not writing, she learns Kuchipudi, practices yoga, and creates doodles.
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