Friday, 5 December 2014

WARNING: Henna in Hair Dye

Not a very seasonal blog post I must admit, but I'm doing it because I know it'll appear on my Timehop in about a week's time and now's the best time for me to sit down and write about it.
I've known that I'm allergic to henna (PPD) since the age of 15, when I got a black henna tattoo on holiday in Turkey and it led to an allergic reaction that scarred my arm with an imprint of the tattoo, which you can still just about see to this day.
Therefore, when I decided that I wanted to dye my hair brown semi-permanantely this time last year, I knew I needed to go careful and make sure I tested it out first. I'd had several experiences of dyeing my hair blonde before - both home kits and highlights in a salon - which had all been perfectly fine, but I'd never tried going darker before.
The box recommended doing a sample of hair dye on my arm and leaving it for 24 hours, which I did - and it went terribly. I don't want to include pictures in this post since it was awful but my arm blistered and swelled to at least double its normal size, ended up scabbing over and as it was healing, the scabs were going green. I could barely leave my bed for a week - I was in too much pain and I didn't have the energy for it!
To put things into perspective, I put the sample on my arm on Friday 13th December (wow, what a day! No matter things went badly...) and the final scabbing fell off on Tuesday 31st December. That is the whole of the Christmas season where I could barely bend my arm, was in a lot of pain, had 6 doctors appointments and 3 layers of bandages! 
You'd think that would have made me learn my lesson, right?
This summer, three days before I left to go on holiday, I decided to dye my hair blonde. As previously mentioned, I'd already had several positive experiences of dyeing my hair blonde but since I hadn't gone near hair dye since the arm fiasco happened, I decided to play it safe and do a sample test behind my ear. The sample felt a little bit itchy and red but in comparison to what happened to my arm before, it wasn't even on the scale, and really, what do you expect to happen when you're putting bleach on your skin?! So, I went ahead and dyed my hair 24 hours later.
(I have no issue including a photo from this because this isn't gross as such, it just makes you feel a bit queasy and wish it will never ever happen to you, which is the point of this post!)
My face was swollen and I was covered in a rash from the neck upwards. My forehead blistered, my eyes were swelling shut and all of the glands in my face/neck were swelling as my body was working to try and cure itself. In the end, I was prescribed 5 days' worth of Corticosteroids, which thankfully calmed the reaction down, as I had to leave the country after day 2 for a holiday with my friends - no mums around! It was honestly one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, especially waking up the day before I had to leave with heavy eyelids that didn't want to open because they were so swollen.
Thankfully, my reaction was not as nearly as bad as it could have been. I know for a fact, after having done a lot of research online, that the reaction could've happened a lot worse and a heck of a lot faster. If I had used a brown hair dye, I have no doubt that it probably would have done.
So, the purpose of this post is just to show you that hair dye allergies do happen, and when they happen, they're pretty nasty! Thankfully, I've not lost any hair as a result of my reaction, but it could've made me go bald. 
This post is my way of asking you all to please, please go careful with your use of hair dye. Don't let it ruin your Christmas or your summer holiday. Learn from my mistakes, there's no harm in waiting that extra day or two to make sure you will definitely be safe!


  1. Amazing post. Im pretty sure everyone reading this is applauding your honesty and courage. Thank you so so so much for sharing this to everyone

    1. Thank you! Reading blog posts were a really big help to me when I was going through the reactions and finding out that yes, other people have survived it! Plus, it doesn't hurt to warn others. I would hate for someone else to have to go through it :( x

  2. You poor thing! You're not the only one who does things that they know they shouldn't be doing. I do it all the time! I think even as adults, we can be just as defiant as kids.

    Hope you feel better soon, sweets.


    1. Thank you! This is looking back on what happened last Christmas and again this summer so I'm all good now but I wanted to post it and warn anyone else in case this happens to them! x


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Maira Gall