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Hair Dye Ingredient Blamed for Higher Allergy Rate

March 6, 2007

EUROPE: Rates of allergy to hair dye have jumped in several countries as younger people color their tresses, according to European researchers. Dermatologists cite reports that suggest the incidence of allergy is rising.

Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and its chemical cousins—called aromatice amines—trigger the allergic reactions. Eczema may show up on the face or around the hairline, and in severe cases, a patient’s face swells up leading to painful bruising that requires treatment.

More than two-thirds of hair dyes currently contain PPD or related chemicals according to researchers. According to dermatologist findings, a recent survey in London found the frequency of positive reactions to PPD in patch tests doubled over six years to 7.1% among adults with contact dermatitis.

Legislation in the European Union allows PPD to comprise up to 6% of the ingredients in hair dyes for consumers.