P-Phenylenediamine – Allergy to Hair Dye


I have regrettably developed a severe allergy to P-Phenylenediamine and possibly other dye substances. Over the last month, this has taken the form of violent Contact Dermatitis (think about what happens when you touch Poison Oak): inflammation, rash, blisters, itching – all the nasty ways your skin tells you that it is very  unhappy about something you touched. I just finished taking Prednisone for several weeks – Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid drug that is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant – and am getting ready for a full allergy test at University of California at San Francisco – Dermatology Clinic.

I am writing this blog not so much to share my woe as to spread the word in case my readers may also experience this allergy. It certainly took me by surprise!

Paraphenylenediamine turns out to be a very common substance, found in:

  • hair dye, coloring rinse, comb-in hair tint, shampoo-in highlight, lowlights
  • skin paint, dark makeup, dark lipstick
  • henna tattoo
  • dye for socks, support hose, shoe dye
  • textile, rubber, and fur dyes
  • violin chin-rest stain
  • antioxidant in antifreeze, fuels, corrosion inhibitor in oils, gasoline sweetener
  • plastic manufacture, rubber antioxidant
  • printing ink, antiozonant
  • milk testing reagent, water testing reagent
  • retarder in acrylate production
  • lithography, photocopying
  • photo or x-ray film developing

A generalized reaction to PPD can also occur from taking closely related saccharin sweeteners, thiazide diuretics, sulfanamide antibiotics, sufonylurea antidiabetic agents, PAS, or celecoxib.

Some persons allergic to PPD will also react to black rubber mix, parabens, benzocaine group anesthetics, PABA family sunscreens, and azo dyes, especially orange and yellow, often in ballpoint pens.

This information is from the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS).

More information:

Image Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson – detail showing vanity – from a stained glass window at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Saratoga, California by Mark Adams

1 Comment

Filed under Church, Home & Family, News & Reviews

One response to “P-Phenylenediamine – Allergy to Hair Dye

  1. Pingback: Collection Agency Story with a Happy Ending | KatysBlog

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