A teenager who used a new hair dye to turn her roots blonde claims she was left with bald patches and chemical burns because she didn’t do a patch test.
Summer Jackson, 19, decided to dye her roots with a product she hadn’t used before – Clairol Nice ‘n Easy 11 Ultra Light Blonde.
After applying the dye, Miss Jackson claims she had to wash off the dye 15 minutes earlier than instructed – after just 10 minutes – because it felt like her head was ‘on fire’.
As she brushed her hair, Miss Jackson claims that clumps began to fall out while her scalp was still in agony.
She rushed to the emergency room where she was given ointment cream to help the wounds heal, which she applied for a month.
Miss Jackson, from Monroe, Michigan, said her head has been left scarred and is sharing her story to raise awareness.
Miss Jackson, a care worker, said: ‘I dye my hair every four to eight weeks, but I only dye my roots, never my head.
‘I went to the store and my normal dye was out of stock in my hair colour, so I picked up Nice’n Easy Ultralight Blonde.
‘When it came to actually dying my hair I always start from the back and work my way up – which now, I realise how lucky I am that I do this!’
Miss Jackson noticed some light burning, but initially ignored it and finished the job.
She was about to leave the dye on for the 20 to 25 minutes like instructed on the packet.
However, she said: ‘The burning got increasingly worse and, when it had been on for only 10 minutes, I decided I really needed to wash this out as my head was on fire.
‘I used shampoo to remove the dye from my scalp and then conditioned it.
‘After showering I went to brush my hair out and clumps of hair began to fall out and as I did this, my skin was still burning.
‘Roughly around five clumps of hair fell out whilst I was brushing it once the dye had been washed out.’
Miss Jackson said small areas of her hair have been completely ‘burned off’.
She said: ‘My hair is only now starting to grow back. I still have light burns and scarring from the hair dye.
‘Even for the following few days I had to wear a headband at work to keep my hair from falling out, as I worked at a restaurant.
‘Then I lost even more hair as a hairdresser advised me to shave the back of my head to allow it to breathe and let the burns heal better.’
Miss Jackson shaved the hair at the bottom of her neck to aid healing.
She said: ‘Luckily the hair has started to grow back now, but I still have the burns and scarring on my neck but luckily they aren’t irritated anymore.’
Following what happened to her, Miss Jackson is sharing her story to advise others about the importance of doing patch tests.
She said: ‘I would recommend a patch test so you prevent something like this from happening.
‘I’ve never had an experience like this from hair dye, but I’ve always stuck to the brand I’m used to so should have tested when I was using a new product.
‘It’s definitely something that could have been avoided.’
Some components in hair dyes can cause symptoms of an allergic reaction, which is why manufacturers say a skin tolerance test must be carried out 48 hours before – for both home dye kits and those used by professionals in hair salons.
Most commonly the chemical paraphenylenediamine (PPD) causes reactions from mild skin irritation to swelling.
Paraphenylenediamine, also known as PPD, is one of the most common hair dye ingredients and is found in more than two thirds of products.
In bleaching products, potent chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, ammonium and potassium persulfates are used, which can cause blistering and skin damage if left on for too long.
A company statement from Coty said: ‘The safety of the people who use our products is our first and most important priority, so we’re very concerned to hear about this experience.
‘Allergic reactions are very rare and hair colourants are extensively researched to ensure they are safe when used as directed.’
The company claim on the box that Clairol Nice ‘n Easy 11 Ultra Light Blonde is ‘allergy gentle’ and ‘significantly reduces the chance of developing an allergy in people without a hair dye allergy’.
When a customer buys hair dye from a shop, they test the dye by dabbing a small amount on their skin before using it to check whether it’s safe to use.
Last week, the UK Government announced allergy tests will be sold singularly in shops to reduce reactions.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today reclassified the patch tests as a general sale medicine, instead of prescription-only.
The Colourstart test contains a small amount of a common hair-dying chemical and is placed on the skin to see whether someone will react to it.
If the skin reacts and becomes red or swollen it’s a sign the person may be allergic to the dye, which can cause pain, facial swelling and even more serious side effects or anaphylactic shock.