By Fern Easton. Last Updated 4th March 2021. Welcome to our guide on hair dye allergic reaction claims. We have put this article together to help explain how making a compensation claim works if you suffer an allergic reaction to hair dye. If you are reading this article, you have probably suffered from adverse effects of a hair dye that has been used on you at a hair dresser’s or a beautician, or a hair dye which you have used at home yourself. This may have arisen because the wrong product was used or because it was used in the incorrect fashion. In any case, if it can be proven that a business’s duty of care towards you was not properly upheld, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
If there is anything in this article that you wish to know more about, or if you have additional questions or if you want to try to start a claim, please call us to get in touch with our team of advisors by calling 0800 073 8801.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Claims For A Hair Dye Allergic Reaction
- What Is A Hair Dye Allergic Reaction?
- How Does Dye Affect Your Hair?
- Symptoms Of Allergic Reactions To Hair Dyes
- Treating An Allergic Reaction To Hair Dye
- Causes Of Hair Dye Allergic Reactions
- Ingredients Used In Hair Dyes Which Could Cause Allergic Reactions
- Calculating Compensation For Hair Dye Allergic Reactions
- What Special Damages Could You Claim?
- No Win No Fee Hair Dye Allergic Reactions Compensation Claims
- How To Make A Hair Dye Allergic Reaction Claim?
- Talk To Our Team
- Hair And Beauty Claim Resources
Hair dye is a commonly used product by both women and men who wish to either give themselves a new look or to disguise the fact that their hair is starting to turn grey. If you buy a hair dye product to use at home or if you visit a hair salon to have a hair dye service done for you, you are entitled to receive a product or service that is safe.
If you suffer an allergic reaction to hair dye that you use yourself despite following the instructions correctly and reading the label for any allergy warnings, then you could be entitled to claim compensation from the manufacturer or the distributor of the product.
If you are being given hair dye treatment in hairdressers or beauticians and you suffer from an allergic reaction to the hair dye, then you could be entitled to claim compensation from the business in question if there is proof that the procedure was performed incorrectly or with the use of the incorrect hair dye.
Allergic reactions to hair dye can range in severity, with some very severe reactions having potentially permanent and life-changing impacts. Reading this guide and then working with our team of professional legal advisors can inform you about what amount of compensation you could be entitled to for the allergic reaction you have suffered from.
Hair dyes use various ingredients and chemicals to change the colour of the user’s hair. Some hair dyes can pose a greater threat than others. They can contain ingredients that cause allergic reactions to their users. This is because some people have allergies to certain chemicals and ingredients included in hair dyes, and some dyes contain materials such as ammonia which can cause adverse reactions among most people if exposed to the skin for too long or in large amounts.
The most common cause of allergic reactions to hair dyes is a chemical called paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause reactions in people who suffer from contact dermatitis.
Suffering from an allergic reaction can cause minor short-term problems or serious and potentially permanent damage. We will discuss the specific effects of hair dye allergic reactions later in this article. This is a useful health resource about hair dye allergies.
Hair dyes come in two different kinds that work differently and have different effects on the user’s hair. There are hair dyes that are intended to only temporarily change the colour of the user’s hair. This type of hair dye works by coating the outside of each hair stem. Temporary hair dyes do not normally contain any harsh chemicals, and the dyes can be washed out of the hair in just a few washes.
Other hair dyes are intended to be permanent, and a single treatment is enough to make long term changes to the user’s hair, with occasional top-ups needed in order to maintain the colour. In order to make permanent changes to hair colour, permanent hair dye employs stronger chemicals, including ammonia and peroxide.
Ammonia is an alkaline, which is used to “open up” the lining of the hair stems, allowing the molecules which make up the hair dyes colouring to enter the inside of the hair stem, rather than coating the outside, as in temporary hair dyes. The peroxide is used to remove the original hair colour.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to hair dyes can take up to, or even longer than, 48 hours to emerge after the application of the dye. In very strong reactions, the onset of symptoms may be rapid. Symptoms that start out mild can escalate into more serious symptoms, so at the first sign of a negative reaction to hair dye, you should contact a doctor.
In an allergic reaction, all the regions of skin that had contact with the dye product can become irritated, including the scalp, the forehead, the neck, ears and eyelids. You could experience redness, swelling, itching, blistering, dryness and cracking of the skin. Burning and/or stinging may ensue. If the eyelids become swollen, the swelling might become severe enough to prevent you from seeing properly.
In more severe reactions, the symptoms can spread across the rest of the body. In cases of anaphylactic shock (otherwise known as anaphylaxis), these symptoms can include:
- Swelling of the hands, feet and lips
- Lightheadedness and/or fainting
- Swelling of the mouth, throat and tongue, which can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Stomach pains
- Vomiting and/or nausea
You can read more about allergic reactions to hair dye products and what to do if you experience one in this NHS guide. If you recognise any of these symptoms from your own experience and would like more information on hair dye allergic reaction claims, speak to our team today.
If you begin to suffer from the effects of an allergic reaction during or after the application of hair dye, you should immediately attempt to wash out the dye from your hair using warm water and mild soap or shampoo. There are also some other remedies that may prove useful which you can administer to yourself at home; these include:
- Taking an antihistamine tablet
- Gently applying moisturising cream or emollient cream to the affected area
- Applying steroid cream (such as cortisol) to the affected area
- Applying Hydrogen Peroxide to the affected area
- Applying permanganate peroxide to the affected area.
Antihistamines can reduce the body’s allergic response to the allergens in the dye. Moisturisers and steroids can reduce the damage being done to the skin. Oxidisers like Hydrogen Peroxide and permanganate can reduce the effect of allergens like PPD by oxidising them and rendering them less dangerous.
You should always contact a doctor if you experience any form of allergic reaction symptoms.
There are a number of reasons why people both with and without pre-existing allergies, which they are aware of, can experience reactions to hair dyes. Many hair dyes contain ingredients that include harsh chemicals such as ammonia, which can cause nasty reactions if they have prolonged exposure to the skin.
Why Am I Allergic To Hair Dye?
There are many potential causes of a reaction to a hair dye product. The most common is a pre-existing allergy to certain ingredients in the dye. This is usually something that’s known as contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a condition where the skin experiences redness, swelling, itching, cracking and pain when it comes into physical contact with a material that triggers an allergy or which reacts with the skin.
One of the irritants and allergens most commonly found in hair dye products is paraphenylenediamine (PPD). PPD is safe in limited amounts even though it is an allergen and an irritant; however, the amounts of PPD that a hair dye product can contain is strictly limited by law. When using a hair dye product, the user must follow safety instructions closely or else they could be putting themselves at risk of an allergic reaction.
Should You Use “Natural” Hair Dye Products?
You may sometimes come across hair dye products labelled as “safe” or “natural”. UK law already regulates and controls what kind of materials hair product manufacturers can and cannot put in their products. All products sold legally in the UK should already be safe to use anyway. Just because a bottle of hair dye is labelled as being “safe” or “natural” does not automatically mean that it is any more safe or organic than any other products.
When using a “natural” or “safe” hair dye product, you should still always read the label carefully for the instructions and ingredients list. You should also perform a “patch test”, wherein you place a small amount of the product on your skin prior to using it to ensure that you know whether or not you will suffer a reaction when using the product.
What Should I Do If I Am Allergic To Hair Dye?
If you suffer from an allergy to hair dye products or wish to check to make sure that you are not likely to experience an allergic reaction, you can perform a patch test. It is advisable, in fact, that you always perform this test whenever you are about to dye your hair, even if you are using the same brand you always use without issues.
The patch test is quite simple, just apply a small amount of hair dye on either the back of your ear or on the skin of your inner elbow and wait. If you experience any kind of reaction to the product, do not use it to dye your hair. You could also find an allergy clinic to perform a proper medical test.
If you perform the patch test without experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction, you may continue to use it in your hair; however, there are still precautions that you should observe when using a hair dye product.
- Use gloves when applying the product
- Do not leave the dye in longer than the time specified on the bottle or packaging
- Thoroughly rinse the dye out of your hair afterwards
- Follow all of the instructions that come with the dye carefully.
Needless to say, if you suffer from contact dermatitis or other forms of skin allergy, it is wise to try and avoid hair dye products that contain PPD if at all possible. For more information on what kind of ingredients could lead to hair dye allergic reaction claims, please read on.
Most hair dyes available in shops and hair salons are a chemical mixture containing many different ingredients. Most of these ingredients are perfectly harmless. However, there are ingredients contained in many hair dye formulas that can cause adverse effects through allergic reactions or through other ways of causing damage, such as chemical burns. Here are some of the particular culprits often contained in hair dye products.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. This component is used to open up the outer layer of hair shafts (cuticle) and to clear out the natural pigment of the hair. This is what allows the colouring components of hair dye formulas to introduce the new colour to the hair. Hydrogen Peroxide is a toxic chemical. In addition, its oxidising effects can damage the hairs keratin by removing sulphur, an important component in the makeup of keratin. Prolonged use can cause the hair to become dry and brittle and lose its natural colour.
- Ammonia is used in conjunction with Hydrogen Peroxide to assist the hair in taking on a new colour by opening up the hair shaft lining and cuticle. Ammonia is strongly alkaline and can cause damage to the skin, including even chemical burns if applied in strong concentrations, as well as causing breathing difficulties if inhaled. Ammonia and any products containing ammonia must be handled with care.
- Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) PPD is the material responsible for most allergic reactions suffered by hair dye users. PPD is manufactured as a by-product of coal tar and is usually used to create dark hair colours. It is used in permanent or long-term dye products and helps the pigments of the hair dye formula to bond with the hair shafts. Most hair salons will carry out a patch test 24-48 hours before a hair dyeing appointment to check for a reaction to hair dyes containing PPD.
We cannot provide a value that hair dye allergic reaction claims could be worth. Each individual personal injury compensation case must be calculated on the specific effects of the injury or illness suffered by the claimant.
The amount of compensation you could be entitled to will depend on:
- The severity of the injury and how long its effects lasted
- How large the affected area of the body was
- What amount of permanent damage or health problems were caused by it
- Whether any permanently disfiguring effects were caused
- What amount of physical pain (if any) was caused by the incident
- What amount (if any) psychological trauma was caused by the incident
Injury Severity Compensation
Dermatitis Long term or permanent dermatitis, with symptoms such as cracking, soreness and impacting domestic life. £12,900 to £18,020
Dermatitis Dermatitis of one or both hands that settles after treatment but may otherwise last for a significant period. Some tasks may require use of gloves. £8,110 to £10,710
Dermatitis Short-lived dermatitis. Symptoms include itchiness, rashes and irritation. Resolves within a few months. £1,600 to £3,710
Hair damage Serious long term damage to hair and scalp causing pain, irritation and emotional trauma £6,890 to £10,340
Hair damage Less severe than above. Level of award will depend upon the length of time the hair takes to repair. £3,710 to £6,890
The figures in the above table have been taken from guidelines produced by the Judicial College, which reviews compensation awards made by the courts. We can give you a more specific valuation if you get in touch with our team and explain your case to them in more detail. For more information on what other damages can be included in hair dye allergic reaction claims, please continue to the next section.
Sometimes an injury or a health problem caused by an allergic reaction can have a big impact on our health. A major allergic reaction incident, particularly one with severe lasting effects, can have a big financial impact on you as well. These financial issues can be compensated for with special damages, a form of compensation intended to make sure that a victim’s finances are not damaged as a result of an injury or illness caused by someone else.
Special damages can cover a number of different expenses:
- Loss of income from having to take time off work. If an injury or illness causes you to have to permanently leave your job or to take on another one with lower wages or salary, then you can be compensated to the tune of the equivalent value of your salary in the form of a yearly annuity until you reach retirement age.
- Care costs arising from having to spend money on receiving support and assistance. This could include things like having regular nursing care on either a temporary or permanent basis.
- Medical costs arising from any money you have had to spend on medical treatment for the effects of an allergic reaction.
- Travelling costs arising from the effects of the allergic reaction, i.e. getting a taxi to the hospital.
- Adaptation costs, for example, if you have been left with a permanent disability by the incident, which requires adaptations to your home or leaves you with special requirements.
To find out more about what amount you could be entitled to claim for in special damages, contact our advice team for a free consultation.
Some people might feel discouraged from attempting to make a personal injury claim because of what they perceive as the financial risk of taking on legal fees when there is not yet a guarantee of receiving compensation.
If you work with Accident Claims, you won’t have to worry about that situation. All of our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. No Win No Fee claims are simple but effective and mutually beneficial for you and your solicitor to make a personal injury claim without the complications of legal fees.
The benefits of No Win No Fee claims are as follows:
- You will not be charged upfront or ongoing legal fees by your solicitor
- Your solicitor will not charge legal fees if your claim for compensation is rejected
- If your claim succeeds, your solicitor will seek a small percentage of your compensation award to cover their costs. This contribution is capped by law.
If there is anything else that you want to know about making No Win No Fee claims, please contact us to discuss the issue in further detail.
There isn’t a shortage of solicitors on the market who offer compensation claim services for people who have been injured or made ill by another party’s negligence. But we think it would benefit you the most if you worked through Accident Claims to make your claim.
Our team of professional legal experts can provide you with free advice and legal consultation. When you feel confident that you wish to attempt to start a claim, they can put you in touch with our specialist personal injury solicitors.
All of our personal injury claim solicitors operate on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning that working with them is much less financially risky than working with other solicitors.
If you wish to find out more about how to make a claim, or if you want to start making a claim now, you can get in touch with our legal advice team for a free consultation to discuss your situation.
You can get in touch by:
- Calling 0800 073 8801
- Arranging a free call back from our team here.
- Sending a message via our live support chat option.
Hair dye allergic reaction claims- FAQs
How long does an allergic reaction to hair dye last?
The length of time it takes hair dye allergy symptoms to ease can depend on a number of factors. If you’re severely allergic to an ingredient in the hair dye and go into anaphylactic shock, then the symptoms will usually appear within a few minutes. You’ll need to be taken to the hospital to be observed and ensure that the symptoms don’t return. Usually, you’ll be allowed home within a few hours if your symptoms are under control, but this may be longer if you’ve had a severe reaction.
Dermatitis, although not life-threatening like anaphylactic shock, can affect you for some time after the reaction. In serious cases, it may cause thinning of the hair where the prospect of regrowth is poor. In some cases, skin grafts may even be required.
I’m allergic to hair dye, what can I use?
The main culprit for hair dye allergic reactions is PPD, which in some people causes mild irritation and in others a full-blown allergic reaction. Even if your reaction to hair dye is mild, you should consider avoiding PPD in the future, as you may react more severely in the future.
There are some hair dyes that don’t contain PPD. However, if you’re using one of these dyes you should always perform a patch test to ensure you don’t suffer a PPD reaction. Henna is a dye prepared from the henna tree. It’s a reddish-brown colour and is relatively safe, as the natural henna powder doesn’t contain PPD. However, black henna does contain PPD and has been linked to deaths in the past and its use on the skin or hair is not recommended. Read this NHS guide for more information.
Thank you for reading our guide on the legal services that we can offer you if you suffer an allergic reaction to hair dye. Below, you can find some more guides you may find useful.
Product safety in the UK
Thank you for reading our guide on hair dye allergic reaction claims.
Guide by JY
Edited by REB