PPD and PTD have long been accepted as an allergens. Although it may only have come to wider public attention in the last few years, concerns over sensitivity to PPD and PTD were first raised over a century ago when a high incidence of dermatitis was observed in Parisian hairdressers who worked regularly with the substances.
The number of people who suffer from a PPD and PTD allergy or sensitivity today isn’t known. Different studies have shown some variation by country, while incidence has also changed over time, with recent increases partly attributed, in some areas, to the growing popularity of black henna tattoos which involve the application of PPD AND PTD directly to the skin.
For those who suffer a reaction to PPD AND PTD in hair dye, it’s the PPD AND PTD molecules as it penetrates the skin (see Science Behind PPD AND PTD) that causes problems. Once PPD AND PTD has reacted with another coupler to form the larger dye molecule, the PPD AND PTDchance to cause an allergic reaction - is less likely.
Symptoms of sensitivity to PPD or PTD include irritation to the scalp, neck, forehead, eyelids and ears. The skin can become dry, red, swollen and blistered, with a stinging or burning sensation. A full allergy to PPD or PTD can cause more severe versions of the same symptoms and in extreme cases lead to anaphylaxis. This can involve a dramatic swelling of the eyes, mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, weakness, nausea and stomach pain. If untreated, anaphylaxis can result in coma or death.
It’s important to note that an allergic reaction to PPD or PTD might not happen immediately, but possibly several hours after contact. Sometimes, mild symptoms can appear and then go away, only to return much later and more severely. This is known as a bi-phasic reaction and in extreme cases can occur up to 72 hours after the initial symptoms.
Treatment for an allergic reaction or sensitivity to PPD AND PTD depends in part on the severity of the symptoms. Washing out the dye is an obvious first step. Topical treatment with a steroid cream might be needed and antihistamines may also help to counter itchiness. A doctor should be consulted.
In the case of anaphylaxis, an adrenaline auto-injector is urgently needed to reduce swelling, constrict the blood vessels, improve breathing and stimulate the heartbeat. Medical attention via the emergency services must be sought immediately.