By Shannon McKarney

Whether it’s to cover grey or change color entirely, hair dye is big business. Unfortunately, it’s also dangerous business if recent stories are any indication. 

< p style=”text-align: justify;”>Over the last several months, there have been reports of many instances of severe reactions to average, everyday drugstore hair dyes — to the point where one woman is dead, another is severely brain damaged and still others have been left with injury and permanent sensitivity to PPD — also known as p-Phenylenediamine, an active ingredient in most drugstore hair dyes.

Tabatha McCourt was only 17 when she suffered a violent allergic reaction 20 minutes after applying hair dye. She was rushed to the hospital, but subsequently died. The hair dye is being investigated as a possible cause of her collapse.

38-year-old Julie McCabe of England collapsed minutes after applying the same hair dye she’d used for years. Now, she is in a coma and will likely have irreversible brain damage if she survives.  Again, the hair dye is being investigated as the possible cause.

Chloe Robins did what the package said — a strand and patch test 48 hours prior to using her hair product. She still ended up with a horribly disfiguring reaction after using the hair dye, with her head swelling to twice its size.

All of these reactions are thought to have been to the product PPD contained within the dye.  PPD is banned in products that are applied directly to the skin, as it has known side effects of blisters, rashes, redness and other unpleasant problems.

It was also recently banned in Canada for use in temporary henna tattoos, again due to the possibility of serious and potentially fatal reactions. However, it’s perfectly OK to have it in hair dye… because presumably a product on the hair won’t touch your skin? (Have any of these people used hair dye?)

L’Oreal, the company that made the hair dye Julie McCabe used, said they will cooperate fully with the investigation into her reaction.

However, is that enough? Is this product truly safe?

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