Woman's head swells to incredible size after allergic reaction to hair dye

Estelle almost died after a severe allergic reaction to hair dye. (Photo: Le Parisien via YouTube)

Words by Hope Schreiber. 

A French student claims that a severe allergic reaction to a hair dye caused her head to nearly double in size, and she says she almost died from the standard home makeover.

Estelle, 19, says she performed a patch test using the product, which she didn’t realise contained the chemical PPD (paraphenylenediamine), but admits to Le Parisien that she left it on for just 30 minutes.

It is recommended to wait 48 hours for a reaction before fully applying the hair dye.

PPD is commonly used in hair dyes, but an allergic reaction could cause serious complications such as rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown that could lead to kidney damage), renal failure, rapid swelling (angioneurotic edema) and respiratory failure.

PPD is also found in dark-coloured makeup, lipstick, henna tattoos and a number of other products.

Estelle tells the news outlet that she noticed irritation almost immediately on her scalp, and then the swelling began. She took some antihistamines, but the next morning, her head measured 24.8 inches, as opposed to the average size, 22 inches.

Below is a video of her terrifying reaction.

Estelle told the French outlet, “I could not breathe. I had a lightbulb head.”

The woman was taken to the emergency room, as her tongue continued to swell. There, she was given an injection of adrenaline and kept overnight. She has since made a full recovery, but she wants to warn others of the dangers of dyeing their hair at home.

PPD is an ingredient in a number of hair dyes, but it is especially common in darker shades. While there is a limit to how much PPD the hair dye can contain (a concentration of 2%), the hair dye Estelle used reportedly had a level of only 1%.

The woman’s cautionary tale may convince some people to skip the hair dye and embrace their gray hair.


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