So you have come to the salon and wanted to have your hair dyed, but were asked to have a patch test before your appointment. It might be a bit annoying, but how important is it?

It is actually really important to have your skin tested prior to having your hair dyed. As with any chemical in the market, there are potential risks associated with an active ingredient found in most hair dyes known as PPD (and that means paraphenylenediamene. Go and practice saying that a couple of times). PPD has been proven to cause allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals, causing very uncomfortable symptoms such as blistering of skin, infection and soft tissue swelling.

Can you be Hypersensitive? Of course you can! It can actually be quite common. It is an over-reaction of the immune system to what is known as an ‘invading’ hapten, such as PPD. Haptens have the ability to provoke an immune response that brings dramatic changes in the body’s tissues (known as an allergic reaction or allergy). In extremely severe cases, reactions can be life-threatening and these allergic reactions can develop at any time.

In addition to that, every colour company blends its colours with additional ingredients which vary from company to company, so even if you were not sensitive to hair dyes so far, you might react to an ingredient present in the colours we use in our salon, and that needs to be tested.

To check that you are not one of the unlucky ones, we have a duty of care to skin test you, which is actually quite a simple process - we simply apply a dot of colour mixed with peroxide behind your ear and that's about it. Do not wash or cover the area for the next 48 hours. If you experience a burning sensation, blistering, difficulty to breath etc. (however minor) remove the colour as soon as possible using a clean tissue with water and seek medical help (remember to advise us on that as well). Please be aware that any medication you are currently taking can vary the reaction you might get.

if you only experienced a mild tingling sensation, or nothing at all happened - then see you at the next "touch up"..