Teen Nearly Blinded by Hair Dye

Teen Tylah Durie suffered a severe allergic reaction when she tried to tint her eyebrows and lashes at home. (Photo: Caters News)
Teen Tylah Durie suffered a severe allergic reaction when she tried to tint her eyebrows and lashes at home. (Photo: Caters News)

An Australian teen just gave us reminder No. 247 about the importance of patch tests.

After an attempt to tint her eyebrows and lashes, 16-year-old Tylah Durie suffered an allergic reaction to at-home dye that left her “looking like a frog,” in her words.

Durie’s reaction to the dye was described as simply “[going] through hell.” The response was quite severe: Her eyes swelled shut, she had chemical burns on her eyeballs, and her lashes fell out. “I woke up almost blind because of the reaction. My eyes had blown up like huge balloons. I was crying and screaming,” she said.

Durie’s allergic reaction to at-home dye. (Photo: Caters News)
Durie’s allergic reaction to at-home dye. (Photo: Caters News)

Until she landed in the hospital, Durie had no idea that she was even allergic to Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a common ingredient in dark hair dyes. Henna hair dyes in particular may contain PPD. Another such incident involved a woman in Austin, Texas, whose salon told her that its henna dye was natural. Soon after the woman left the salon, her eyes were swollen shut.

If you been following me for a while you know that I tried to be as transparent as possible. You will also know that my 100 days of just juice and smoothies has been very important to me. Today is day 100!!! The past couple of days has been extremely rough. I mention before that I die my hair with Henna because of my research and what I was told that it was supposed to be completely natural and chemical free but it wasn't and I had a severe allergic reaction as you can see from the pictures. I'm not posting this for any advice or any negative comments. I'm fully aware of what these pictures look like. I had to endure this nightmare. If you do not have anything nice to say please keep strolling. I want to let everyone that pray for me or send me well-wishes know what was going on. I was in severe pain from my scalp burning and itching with my face completely's swollen to the point I was unrecognisable. The most scary part about this whole thing is that my eyes was completely swollen shut where I couldn't see for 2 days. My doctor was afraid that it was going to start affecting my breathing which that didn't happen and as of today my eyes are open and I can see again but my face is still very swollen (I don't look like myself). I'm not in any more pain and I feel things are heading in the right direction. I hate that this had to happen but now I'm even more focus on making sure that my health is number one priority. Once I get back to looking like myself again I will make a more detailed video on my YouTube channel. Thanks again for all the love, support, and well wishes.

A post shared by Chemese (@chemese) on Mar 9, 2016 at 12:49pm PST

These are just two of the latest reactions in a string of PPD-related hair dye incidents. Just this week, Mish Whalen, a senior multimedia editor at Today, shared photos of her swollen head after an allergic reaction to hair dye. At the time, dermatologists suggested that the allergen in question could have been PPD.

About 7 percent of people test positive for reactions to PPD, making the 24-hour wait period after a patch test even more necessary.

If this particular dye ingredient is so dangerous, why do so many companies seem to use it? “PPD is still a very common ingredient in hair dyes for the scalp but is luckily becoming less common in hair dyes for eyebrow or eyelash tinting,” Arash Akhavan, MD, founder and director of the Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City, tells Yahoo Beauty.

PPD is a common ingredient despite its status as a “known allergen to dermatologists,” Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care in Chevy Chase, Md., tells Yahoo Beauty. That means consumers have to be vigilant about monitoring for any sign of reaction, which may look like a “sting, burn, or red, itchy, blistering” skin.

“Around the eyes it can cause moderate to severe swelling,” says Tanzi. As in the cases that have surfaced in the news, “the eyes are swollen shut in the worst cases.”

Before proceeding with a dye, make sure your skin can handle PPD or any other harsh chemicals that may be in the formula. As Tanzi notes, “the fact is that any dye can cause an allergic reaction.” To be safe, test a small amount of dye behind your ear or on the back of your hand before applying it to the scalp.

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