Beauty Is Pain…Literally

If you heard of NCIS actress Pauley Perrette, then you might’ve heard about her serious hair dye allergy that landed her in the hospital last year.The reason for bringing this issue up is because I too struggle with, Severe Hair-Color Allergy.


Pauley Perrettes’ Followed up Tweet read:

“Wasn’t sure if I should tweet about this, but its important,Did my head look a bit puffy on the red carpet last night? Turns out I was having a dangerous allergic reaction to hair dye. Been battling this for a year now, but it gets worse every time. It’s an acquired allergy for people that dye their hair for years.(Y’all know I’m blonde) Was in ER. Just got home from hospital.Awful.My head swelled up huge like a melon.If you or someone you know dyes their hair, especially black, please google ‘hair dye allergy’ Know the symptoms. It can be fatal. People have died. For real”

And she is truthfully speaking, While I don’t have any pics of my past hair allergy This is a photo of my arm after a 48hr skin patch test.image

I’ve had severe hair color allergy for 8+ years which developed over time from me frequently dying my hair dark colors (using permament and demi dyes)  I first started showing symptoms by having redness under my eyes, I used to apply some topical cream and the redness went away a few days later, I never thought it was anything to worry about, until the next time I dyed my hair. Followed up by another application of hair dye this time my symptoms were more noticeable. I had very red ears that leaked a clear substance, My ears felt very warm to touch and scabby along with an irritable feeling of swollen glands on the back of my head. By this time I went to my physician and was told I am highly allergic to permanent hair color and I should avoid it as it could be fatal. As most people would take this information seriously, I did…but only for a while. I was tempted one day to dye my hair. My family warned me many times that the doctor mentioned I was severely allergic but being stubborn, I went ahead and dyed my hair. This time I dyed my hair my symptoms worsen. My eye lids swelled up,My ears were red, scabby and releasing a clear sticky liquid, my arms and upper back developed hives, my scalp was extremely red, itchy and also producing a clear liquid, my head glands felt tight, and the left side of my face swelled up and was noticeably sticking out and I experienced constant headaches along with a tightness feeling in my throat, it felt like a sore throat. I was frightened and used topical cream and allergy relief medication. I was scared for my life, as my parents were as well. My parents instead I go to the ER as my symptoms were clearly severe, and thats when I was told my hair allergy was so severe it could’ve been fatal had I not gotten treated.

I want to share my story because Hair Color Allergy seems surreal until it actually happens. I could’ve died by something that seems simple as boxed hair color, something you see sold in beauty supply stores,pharmacies and super stores and if that isn’t frightening I don’t know what is! Please know that Hair Color Allergy can happen to ANYONE and suddenly develop at any time even if you’ve never shown signs of allergic reaction to hair color. Most dark hair colors are known for having a molecule p-phenylediamine (pPD,PPAD) However it can also be disguised under other names.

Now by all means I am no physician nor a professional when it comes to hair color but I hope that people can learn from my personal story and understand the severity of Hair Color Allergy, Please do research and also seek medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms. Everyones different therefore some symptoms might not be the same as others but my advice to you is to always do a 48hr test on your arm to assure the product is safe to use, and tell a close friend or family member that you are going to dye your hair because for whatever reason if you develop a severe allergy they should be aware incase you need to seek medical attention.

You have to ask yourself what is the price of beauty? Because death isn’t worth it.  😦

Author: michelelisette

Michele Lisette is a Makeup Artist based in the Tri-State area of NY.In 2005 I graduated from Empire Beauty School with certification in Fashion/Glamour,Basic Character Sciences and SFX. Makeup Artistry is a form of art which I take pride in, and most of all having creative freedom.

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