Marcy’s Concerned: I’ve been dying my hair at home for years, and have never done an allergy patch test. I’m starting to wonder now if one of these days it’ll catch up to me. Unfortunately, I’m usually pretty impatient with my hair dye and don’t budget in time for a 48-hour-long test before wanting to color my hair. How common are such allergies, anyway?
Also, the instructions say not to cover the test patch on your arm for 48 hours. What if I need to wear a long-sleeved shirt or sweater? Will that alter the allergy test results somehow?
The Left Brain’s Soothing Response:This is a great question! Allergies to hair dyes are not very common although they do happen. Exact figures are hard to obtain because most times people who have an allergy don’t report it (or don’t even notice). It’s most important to use the patch test the first time you try a hair dye. Otherwise, your scalp could become VERY swollen, sore, and red. However, if you’ve been coloring your hair for years you probably won’t have any problems. And if you do decide to try the patch test, covering with a long sleeve shirt probably won’t affect the results. Just make sure it is loose fitting.