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Hair dye claims

The consumer safety and product liability team at Leigh Day represents a number of people who have experienced severe reactions after using home hair dyes which are widely available in the UK and are used by thousands of consumers. More and more people are dying their hair, and many start at a young age. People who have suffered health problems after using hair dye often experience a variety of symptoms which can include:
  • Skin irritation, itching (dermatitis) and rashes
  • A swollen face, head, eyes and eyelids, forehead  and neck
  • Pain
  • General feeling of being unwell
  • Breathing problems
  • More rarely anaphylactic shock

In very rare cases it is believed that death has occurred in people who have used hair dyes, sometimes having used them without incident for a number of years.

PPD and hair dye products

Hair dye can include a number of powerful chemicals. The permanent dyes that are used to cover grey hair contain a chemical, Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is allowed as a hair colouring agent but which is believed to have triggered severe adverse reactions in a number of people. Other chemicals which can be found in hair dyes include ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Hair dye manufacturers always recommend carrying out a patch test of their products before applying it. However, skin tests do not always indicate that a product will not cause a reaction. Writing in the BMJ in February 2007 a specialist registrar in dermatology at Birmingham Skin Centre said: “The advice that is given to consumers to test the product on normal skin before usage is unscientific and potentially increases the risk of sensitisation.”
What you should do if you have suffered an injury after using hair dye:
  • Seek immediate medical advice
  • Keep the hair dye kit and packaging
  • Take a photo of your injuries and the hair dye
  • Keep the receipt of the hair dye which shows where and when you bought it

If you have suffered an injury after using hair dye you may be able to bring a claim for compensation against the manufacturers or distributers or the product and you should speak to a specialist product liability solicitor.  Leigh Day partner Michelle Victor has successfully secured compensation for clients who have suffered serious reactions to hair dye, including a client who experienced anaphylactic shock. She supports a call for manufacturers to include clearer and more prominent labelling on their hair dye products about the potential health problems that PDD can cause.

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