Dying your hair could result in something even worse than the wrong color strands.
Some people could be allergic to hair dye and an allergic reaction could pose a serious health risk. NCIS actress Pauley Perrette quickly learned of the dangers a hair dye allergy can present when she was hospitalized after getting her hair done.
"Was in ER. Just got home from the hospital," she tweeted. "Awful. My head swelled up huge like a melon."
Since her frightening encounter, Perrette has been urging others to learn of hair dye allergies.
"The most important thing to me is that anyone out there that dyes their hair, particularly black, you need to be aware of the symptoms," she told a CBS station in Los Angeles.
The natural blonde actress said she experienced a rash on her neck and scalp, which continued to get worse with each coloring. She said had been dyeing her hair jet black for more than 20 years without any reaction. An allergy to hair dye, while rare, can be serious and can often take time to develop.
Dr. Debra Jaliman told Health.com the allergy, often caused by a chemical called paraphenylendeiamine or PPD, can even be fatal if symptoms are ignored.
"If you develop a severe allergy, you could get blisters and hives and, though rare, difficulty breathing similar to an anaphylactic reaction," she said.
Signs to watch for include redness, swelling, itching, or burning. People prone to allergies could be particularly at risk for developing a reaction to hair dye, Jaliman said. While Perrette specifically targeted black dye, the reaction can come from any color.
One way to be sure you're not allergic is to do a skin patch test, recommended on most boxes of hair dyes. Essentially, you put some of the dye on your skin let it sit for 48 hours. If no reaction develops, you are likely not allergic.
Another way to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction is to use natural dyes like henna, coffee or chemical-free products. You can also talk to your colorist about your concerns before you dye your hair.