The risk of a person experiencing an allergic reaction to hair dye, and specifically the ingredient paraphenylenediamine (PPD), contained in two thirds of dyes, has been highlighted repeatedly by press reports in recent months. As hair dyeing has become increasingly popular and socially acceptable among all age groups, more and more women (and men) are injured every year due to their hairdresser's failure to carry out a basic skin patch test to identify pre-existing allergies. Many are then able to claim compensation for the injuries caused by their hair salon or stylist's negligence.
Hair dye products contain various chemicals, but the vast majority of allergic reactions are caused by para-phenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is illegal in many European countries, but not currently in the UK, despite academic research showing that up to 14% of people may experience an adverse reaction to hair dye products containing the chemical. PPD is present in most permanent dyes, particularly darker shades, and its concentration is limited to a maximum of 2% in any hair treatment product. All hairdressers should be well aware of the dangers of PPD, and must tailor the hair dyeing services they offer to protect clients from the risk of an allergic reaction.
When a person suffers an allergic reaction to PPD in hair dye (or another ingredient), their scalp may begin to itch and burn almost immediately after the colouring product is applied. Rashes, blistering, weeping skin, open sores and red, swollen skin are all classic symptoms of an adverse reaction. Swelling in facial areas can force the eyes closed, a condition that may last for days on end. Damage will affect both skin on the scalp and the hair follicles, resulting in partial hair loss or complete baldness, from which it may take many months to recover fully.
Hairdressers are expected to carry out skin patch tests to check for allergies and test individual skin sensitivity, and where a client suffers a moderate to severe allergic reaction because of a salon's failure to do, the latter will be found to have acted negligently. A patch test is performed by testing a small amount of a hair dye product on the skin, 24-48 hours in advance of a hair dyeing appointment, and waiting to see if it causes any irritation. This simple procedure is too often disregarded by hairdressers however, and hundreds of salon customers are injured every year as a result.
The severity of the injuries caused by allergic reactions to hair dye can lead to acute emotional distress, and feelings of profound embarrassment and humiliation. A person may be unable to return to work for an extended period if they feel effectively disfigured, while others will find it difficult even to leave the house. Special occasions or holidays may need to be missed or cancelled, and relationships may suffer due to the abnormal appearance of the injured party. Factors such as these will all influence the amount of compensation it will be possible to claim following an allergic reaction to hair dye.
Our beauty treatment solicitors represent hundreds of clients every year who have been injured following a visit to the hairdressers. Allergic reactions to hair dyes are one of the most common injury types that we deal with. Contact our female solicitors today for free, confidential legal advice.