PPD, or p-Phenylenediamine, is commonly found in permanent hair dyes and even some temporary ones. It gives a more natural colour, allowing the colour of the dye to take to the hair better. Although some people can use these dyes without any obvious problems, it is not uncommon to be allergic to PPD.
Milder allergic reactions to PPD include an itchy scalp and redness (acute contact dermatitis), particularly on the face and neck as they are more sensitive than the scalp. More severe reactions range from swelling of the head and face to breathing difficulties and anaphylactic shock. It is possible to develop a sensitivity toward PPD, and only exhibit an allergic reaction after a number of dye applications. Some newer permanent and semipermanent hair dyes also use para-toluenediamine sulfate (PTDS or PTD) instead of PPD. Although this is likely to be tolerated by about 50% of people who are allergic to PPD, it has the same effects on those people who are allergic.
This is why it is very important to read the contents of the dye and to test yourself for any possible allergic reaction before EVERY application, with any hair dye you use. Though tedious, you are better safe than sorry.
When shopping around for hair dyes, be very careful about the product you are buying. Make sure to read the ingredients, as even some hair dyes that claim to be natural, such as “black” henna, contain PPD. If you have had an allergic reaction to black henna tattoos in the past, you are also strongly advised against using hair dyes containing PPD as this can result in some of the more severe allergic reactions mentioned above.
Our 2 step hair dye method may take a little longer than chemical dye, but there are no additives nor PPD – it is a completely natural alternative. However, as with any dye, be sure to test, as everyone is allergic to something – whether it is natural or synthetic.
Alternative names for para-phenylenediamine: