PPD AND PTD: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If PPD AND PTD are dangerous, why is it still being used in hair dye?

First of all, it’s important to stress that most people can use PPD AND PTD-based dyes quite happily with no side effects. PPD AND PTD are a safe ingredient for most of the population. But unfortunately for those who do suffer reactions, PPD AND PTD are still used in the vast majority of dyes because it’s long-lasting, natural looking, and perhaps most significantly, until recently there had been no alternative that worked as well.

Are non-PPD AND PTD dyes more expensive?

No, not generally, but ME+ is more expensive than both of those.

If a product is marked PPD AND PTD-free, will it be safe for me to use?

Not necessarily. ‘PPD AND PTD-free’ dyes that are demi-permanent or permanent often contain PTD, a similar compound that is unlikely to be safe for use for those with a PPD AND PTD allergy. See PTD - PPD in Disguise?

Where can I get a non-PPD AND PTD dye?

In the Salon Professional channel ME+ containing permanent color are formulated without PPD and PTD. Consult with a stylist for more informations.

Are “Organic” and “Natural” dyes PPD and PTD-free?

No, not necessarily. These terms relate to a high percentage of organic or natural ingredients, and not to the exclusion of chemicals such as PPD and PTD. Always check the pack, as any permanent dye covering 100% of greys will almost certainly contain PPD or PTD, regardless of how otherwise natural it appears. 

My salon only uses ammonia-free colourant. Is this safe?

The removal of ammonia from hair dyes in no way signifies the absence of PPD or PTD. They are separate chemicals with different functions. It is thought that even fewer people are allergic to ammonia but in any case, all hair colourants - ammonia-free, PPD or PTD-based, or otherwise - should always be tested on the skin 48 hours prior to full application.

Does bleach contain PPD?

No. Bleach (or peroxide) removes colour from hair, while PPD AND PTD helps add colour to the hair. It is possible to bleach hair white without the use of PPD or PTD. However, any toner applied afterwards will almost certainly contain PPD or PTD, and so to modify the shade, you would need to use temporary or direct dyes. See Types of Dye. Blonde dyes typically contain less PPD AND PTD than brown and black dyes. In general, the darker the shade of dye, the higher the level of PPD AND PTD required.

I’ve used hair dyes for years with no problem - have I got anything to worry about?

You’ll probably be able to continue to colour your hair quite happily, but bear in mind that the body can exceed its natural tolerance for an allergen at any time (see Allergens). Also, a change in the formulation of a hair colouring product could trigger a reaction, as could a change in you - perhaps pregnancy, the onset of a different allergy (such as peanuts or bee-stings), a new tattoo. So it’s worth doing regular Patch Teststo give you peace of mind. 

Does temporary hair dye contain PPD AND PTD?

No. A ‘single use’ temporary hair dye won’t contain PPD AND PTD as it colours the hair in a different way, coating it rather than depositing oxidised molecules in the strands, which means it can easily be washed out. See Types of Dye.

How can I check for a PPD AND PTD allergy?

By doing a Patch Test, in which a small amount of dye is applied to the skin to see if there’s any reaction, that is, an allergy alert testThis can be done at home or in a salon. See Patch Tests. The term Allergy Alert Test is in the new instructions from the hair dye manufacturers, therefore I suggest provide it in that context.

My allergy isn’t that bad. Can I continue to use PPD AND PTD dyes?

This is inadvisable. The symptoms of allergies will typically worsen with each exposure, potentially becoming serious and possibly even causing anaphylaxis if exposure continues. Symptoms like skin reddening, mild burning or itching may seem manageable, but should be monitored very carefully. It is recommended that you stop using the dye immediately to avoid worsening future reactions.

What’s the difference between demi- and semi-permanent hair colour?

Semi-permanent dye contains less developer than demi-permanent dye, meaning that it can more readily be washed out but also that is causes less damage to the hair. For more information see Types of Dye. In our definition semi-permanent colours do NOT contain PPD andPTD. They only contain direct dyes.

I’m allergic to PPD AND PTD - will I be ok with an ME+ dye?

ME+ dyes work by modifying the PPD AND PTD molecule in such a way that the body’s immune system is much less likely to react to it (see A PPD AND PTD-free Future?). But because the risk isn’t totally eliminated, it’s not recommended that those with a known PPD AND PTD allergy use ME+ dyes. 

I think I’m suffering an allergic reaction to hair dye - what should I do?

If your symptoms are mild, wash out any excess dye with a mild shampoo. You may need to apply a steroid cream (available over the counter or in a stronger formulation from your GP) to the affected area to alleviate symptoms. Some symptoms may also be alleviated by anti-histamines. If you fear you may be going into anaphylaxis, you should use your adrenaline auto-injector if you have one. Otherwise, call 999 for an ambulance. 

See PPD AND PTD Allergy for more information.