If you don’t test your hair dye now you may hate yourself later

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?

Ok, last question, I promise… I’ve noticed a new warning that those with tattoos may be more suceptible to experiencing an allergy from using hair dye. Is that true for a tattoo anywhere on the body, even though you’re only using the hair dye on your head?

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.

We never seen a case where a tattoo has caused a person to become more sensitive to hair dye. But if it DID happen, it wouldn’t matter where the tattoo is on your body. What happens is that your body becomes sensitized to the dye in the tattoo (if you are allergic). If the hair dye is chemically similar to the tattoo dyes (and usually it’s not) then it could cause some problems. However, if you’ve been coloring for years and you haven’t experienced any problems it’s unlikely that you’ll start now. Hope that helps!