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How do you know if you're allergic to hair dye?

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Quick Answer

The way to know if hair dye causes an allergic reaction is to check for signs or symptoms on the scalp or neck areas, such as redness, an itchy rash, inflammation or a burning sensation. Anyone allergic to hair dye may experience these symptoms in areas that come into contact with hair dye. Hair dye can cause either irritation or allergic contact dermatitis, states WebMD.

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Full Answer

An allergic reaction to hair dye can range from mild to severe. A mild reaction may only irritate the affected skin areas. Although rare, hair dye can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis, which can cause hives, breathing difficulties and facial inflammation. Symptoms can also spread to other areas of the body. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires prompt medical attention, states Mayo Clinic. In some cases, it can also lead to death.

The chemical ingredient in hair dye that can cause allergic reactions is p-phenylenediamine, states Baylor College of Medicine. This chemical is added to hair dye to help it cover gray hair.

To avoid any possible complications of a severe allergic reaction, it is important to follow the instructions that come on hair dye boxes and do a patch test. A patch test entails placing a small amount of hair dye on a small area of skin and waiting 48 hours to see if any symptoms of a reaction develop, states WebMD.

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