Why Does Your Scalp Itch After Hair Coloring? Here's What You Need to Know
Are you familiar with that annoying itchiness that can plague your scalp after a hair coloring session? It's almost as if you've been infested with a swarm of lice, right? Well, don't worry—I'm here to shed some light on this issue and give you the lowdown on how to alleviate that pesky itch. Whether you opt for organic dyes or visit a salon, there's a scientific explanation behind this phenomenon, and I'll cover all the important details.
PPD and PTD: Culprits Behind the Itchiness
When it comes to hair dyes, whether they're boxed or applied at a salon, they contain a variety of chemicals that can potentially irritate your skin. Contrary to what many big brands and their marketing campaigns would have you believe, ammonia is not the sole culprit. In fact, both ammonia and ammonia-free products can cause itchiness. The real troublemakers here are two chemical substances: Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and Paratoluenediamine (PTD).
PPD is commonly found in permanent hair color and various other dyes, often accompanied by PTD. While PTD may be milder than PPD, both can trigger allergies and lead to uncomfortable reactions. Hair color companies extensively use PPD because it provides long-lasting color. So, if you've been experiencing that pesky itch, these chemicals might be to blame.
Recognizing the Signs of PPD/PTD Allergic Reactions
It's important to be aware of the signs that could indicate an allergic reaction to PPD or PTD. These reactions typically manifest as irritation on the scalp, neck, forehead, eyelids, and ears. Your skin may become dry, red, swollen, and even develop blisters, accompanied by a stinging or burning sensation. In severe cases, a full-blown allergy to PPD or PTD can cause more intense symptoms, and in extreme situations, even lead to anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that involves a dramatic swelling of the eyes, mouth, and throat. It can also lead to difficulty breathing, dizziness, weakness, nausea, and stomach pain. It's worth noting that an allergic reaction to PPD or PTD might not occur immediately but can take several hours to manifest after contact.
Are Organic Dyes a Safer Alternative?
Now, you might be wondering if switching to organic dyes can spare you from these allergic reactions. Well, the answer is no. While organic dyes cater to consumers who are concerned about farming practices and the use of organic ingredients, the term "organic" itself does not guarantee that a dye is free from PPD, PTD, or any other chemicals. It simply means that the dye contains at least some organic ingredients.
What About "Natural" Dyes?
The term "natural" can be misleading when it comes to dyes. Dyes marketed as natural generally contain a higher concentration of natural ingredients in their formula, such as argan oil to condition the hair during coloring. However, it's important to note that the presence of natural ingredients does not imply the absence of PPD, PTD, ammonia, or peroxide. Surprisingly, even henna, often considered a natural dye, contains PPD.
Understanding Ammonia-Free Dyes
Ammonia, PPD, and PTD are distinct ingredients with separate functions. Removing ammonia from a dye will not have any impact on preventing or alleviating a PPD or PTD allergy.
Pre and Post-Coloring Measures to Reduce Itchy Scalp
There are a few simple steps you can take before and after your coloring appointment to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.
Embrace the dirt, oil, and sweat:
Avoid washing your hair one to two days prior to your appointment, as the natural oils produced by your scalp can help protect it. However, even if you've washed your hair, don't worry. Just make sure your stylist applies scalp protector prior to colouring.
Scratching can disrupt the skin barrier, causing microscopic tears or damage to the scalp. This irritates the skin and makes it more susceptible to chemicals present in hair dyes, leading to a stinging sensation.
Scalp Protect Serum:
A pre-color treatment that has been dermatologist-tested to effectively isolate the chemical composition of the dye from coming into contact with your scalp. It doesn't interfere with the coloring process but rather prevents irritation, discomfort, allergies, and damage to the scalp. At Style, we make sure to use this scalp protector for all our coloring clients.
After coloring your hair, ensure you rinse your scalp and hair thoroughly to remove any excess dye. Residual dye left on the scalp can continue to cause irritation.
Use pH-Balanced Shampoo:
Since hair coloring alters the pH of your hair, it's essential to restore the balance post-coloring. It also provides a calming effect on the scalp, ensuring that your hair remains healthy and vibrant.
Post Color Treatment:
Equally important is a post-coloring treatment or color saver. This treatment neutralizes any residual alkalinity, prevents creeping oxidation, and seals the cuticle for optimal hair condition and vibrant color
Home Remedies to Alleviate Allergic Reactions
If you're looking for some natural remedies to soothe the discomfort caused by an allergic reaction to hair dye, here are a few suggestions:
Aloe Vera Gel: Make sure to use pure aloe vera gel extracted directly from the plant, not processed versions with added chemicals. Aloe vera possesses anti-inflammatory properties and aids in wound healing, effectively reducing redness and swelling associated with hair dye allergies. Apply it as an overnight mask on your scalp and hair, rinsing it off the next morning.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is known for its soothing properties and is widely used to alleviate skin irritation. It possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help decrease inflammation, redness, and pain associated with hair dye allergies. Apply it liberally to your scalp and hair as a pre-shampoo treatment. Alternatively, you can also ingest 4 tablespoons of coconut oil daily for additional benefits.
Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it an excellent choice for reducing inflammation, redness, and pain caused by an allergic reaction to PPD in hair dyes. Prepare a cup of chamomile tea, let it cool, and use the mixture as a final rinse for your itchy scalp and hair after shampooing.
Remember, these home remedies may provide temporary relief, but it's crucial to address the root cause of the allergy and consult a professional if your symptoms persist or worsen. That's it for now, folks! If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, feel free to reach out to me.