The Importance of Allergy Alert Testing

Updated: Apr 3


Most people experience no problems when they have their hair coloured. However, some people are allergic to hair dye, while others may develop an allergy gradually over time.


PPD (paraphenylenediamine) is the active ingredient found in permanent hair dye, which is proven to elicit allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals. Allergy to PPD can cause uncomfortable reactions, which may result in symptoms such as tissue swelling, blisters and infection. In rare an extremely severe cases the reaction can be life threatening. Allergic responses can develop at any time, therefore the simplest way to avoid complications is to carry out an Allergy Alert Test and Questionnaire.


The Allergy Alert Test should be carried out if you are having any colouration including highlights applied to the hair on your head or any other area of your body, 48hrs prior to any colour service. The Allergy Alert Questionnaire is included with every colour consultation before every colour service. If there is no reaction to the Allergy Alert Test during 48 hours, you can proceed with your colour service. If there is any redness, burning or itching, during or after 48 hours, rinse immediately. You should seek and follow medical advice and colour must not be applied.


Frequently Asked Questions


I've been colouring my hair for many years and have never had a reaction to hair dye, why should I start testing now?

You can become hypersensitive to new things at any time, people develop hay fever one year or find they become allergic to latex gloves. The same applies to hair dye, you can become sensitive at any time in your life.


Why is it important to carry out an Allergy Alert Test once a year even though I regularly have colour?

Allergies may develop over time, which is why it is important that a full history of previous colour applications is kept and that a check for allergies to hair colorants is carried out at least once a year.


Do I need to carry out an Allergy Alert Test if I am using a different brand/shade to normal?

Yes, sometimes companies reformulate their products or a new brand of colour maybe introduced.


Do I need to carry out an Allergy Alert Test if its been more than 6 months since I had a colour service?

Yes, allergies may develop over time and sometimes companies reformulate their products or a new brand of colour maybe introduced.


I have used a "box" colour dye at home, do I need to carry out an Allergy Alert Test?

Yes, if you have used a different colour product, such as a home colour product since your last visit.


Do I need to carry out an Allergy Alert Test if I am currently taking medication to treat allergies?

Yes, certain medications can vary your reaction or increase the risk of developing an allergy to colourants. Some will make you hypersensitive; others may suppress your existing hypersensitivity.


What colour should be used to carry out the Allergy Alert Test?

The colour brand, developer and the exact shade chosen during consultation that you will be applying. If you are using 2 different colours then you should test both.


What happens if I have a reaction to the Allergy Alert Test?

It would not be possible to apply the colour or carry out the service and it is advised that you see your Doctor/GP before colouring your hair again.


Why do I have to wait for 48hrs?

It takes up to 48 hours for the body to develop an immune system response, if you cut corners you risk missing a skin reaction.


Why does having a skin tattoo make a difference?

Certain substances found in some skin permanent or temporary tattoos may themselves cause an allergic reaction. This puts you at an increased risk of a reaction when having hair coloured after a tattoo.


What should I do if I have had an allergic reaction to hair colorant products before?

You cannot colour your hair unless you first get advice from your Doctor/GP


What should I do if I have had an allergic reaction to a skin tattoo including henna?

You cannot colour your hair unless you first get advice from your Doctor/GP


What should I do if I have had an allergic reaction to permanent make-up?

You cannot colour your hair unless you first get advice from your Doctor/GP


What should I do if I have a sensitive, itchy or damaged scalp (e.g. suffer from eczema or psoriasis of the scalp)?

You cannot colour your hair unless you first get advice from your Doctor/GP


What should I do if I react during my colour application?

If the reaction is immediate, and the colour is still on head and you experience any stinging or burning and/or rash the hair should be rinsed immediately and use of the product should be discontinued as it maybe an indication of a more serious reaction. The hair should not be coloured again before you have consulted a Doctor/GP. If you experience a rapidly spreading skin rash, dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath or swelling to the eyes/face, hair should be rinsed immediately and immediate medical attention should be sought.


What should I do if I react after my colour application?

If you experience any problems such as skin or scalp itching, there is any skin or scalp rash, dizziness, faintness, shortness of breath or swelling to eyes/face, blistering and/or skin or scalp weeping immediate medical attention should be sought.


Therefore, all clients are required to follow the allergy testing procedure. New customers or existing clients who have not had a colour application service with Hair Boutique in the preceding 6 months must complete an Allergy Alert Questionnaire and may be required to have an allergy alert test at least 48 hours before their appointment.


Regular clients with the same colour formula on each salon visit will be required to have an annual Allergy Alert Test/Skin Test and completion of the Allergy Alert Test Questionnaire at each salon visit.


Regular clients wanting to change colour brand and/or shade will be required to have a new Allergy Alert Test/Skin Test carried out 48 hrs prior to the colour service using the new colour formula. This will be recorded and unless the colour formula changes again will only require the annual Allergy Alert Test/skin test supported by the Allergy Alert Test Questionnaire at further salon visits.


New colour client to Hair Boutique or new client to colour will be required to have an Allergy Alert Test/Skin Test 48 hrs prior to the colour service. This will be recorded and unless the colour formula changes again will only require the annual Allergy Alert Test/skin test supported by the Allergy Alert Test Questionnaire at further salon visits.


If you would like to book a colour consultation you can call me on 07730352501 or email me daniela.hairboutique@yahoo.co.uk