Want a simple way to see if your allergic to hair colour?

Goldwell one of the leading professional hair product companies have recently launched sensitivity patches called Trichocare Colour Start.

You can administer the patch test yourself at home prior to a colour treatment to check your sensitivity to the main allergens found in permanent hair dye. If you are sensitive then you will get a small reaction to the patch test. We suggest you call Goldwell to find out more or ask your local salon if they stock them.



Patch Testing for Allergies to hair dye and color

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If you are sensitive or allergic to any products our suggestion is to do a "patch" test first with any new products that come into contact with your skin. "Hypoallergenic" on the bottle really means nothing, as it should read "hypo allergenic to what"? Every one of us is different so what is normal to one person can cause a violent reaction in another.

A patch test is exactly what its' name suggests, a tiny portion or patch of a product is placed onto your skin to test for an allergic reaction. If you tend to be sensitive to any products at all it is advisable to get your hairdresser to perform a patch test 48 hours before you have a colour.

The test is performed using a small portion of the product, which is dotted onto the skin either behind the ear or in the crook of your elbow. It is then covered, if need be, for 30 min then any excess can be removed. If you are allergic the reaction generally takes place almost immediately. The area would feel itchy and would redden, even swell a little. If any or all of these symptoms are experienced it would not be possible to use that product on your skin.

Your hairdresser may however be able to use a different manufacturer's product or there are methods of colouring, that don't involve the product touching the skin, with which it maybe possible to colour your hair, if your reaction is only mild.

To test yourself:

  • Place a small drop of the new product in the crook of your elbow.
  • Cover it with a sticky plaster so that it is not wiped away too quickly (give it about 1/2 an hour).
  • Remove the plaster and monitor the spot for 48 hours.
  • If you see any redness or experience itchiness you are allergic to some of the ingredients in this product. Discontinue its use and try another product.

It is possible to suddenly become allergic to a substance (during times of stress or pregnancy) or for your allergy to disappear. So it is a good idea to have a patch test every time you have a colour, the main cause of allergic reactions. This is far from practical for most of us with our busy schedules though and reactions are very rare. So when feeling low or having noticed your skin to be sensitive in general, make the effort. The rest of the time, it's useful to monitor the reaction you are feeling and tell your hairdresser immediately you notice something different from normal.

Note; colour applied directly to the scalp does itch a little, especially, if your hair has been freshly shampooed. It should not, however, feel like it is burning or that the itching is so intense you can't stand it. A reaction can be very server and should not be dismissed. Hairdressers are trained to remove the product causing the problem immediately. You should then visit your doctor who will be able to prescribe an antihistamine to prevent it getting any worse and suggest further action if needed.

image courtesty AHFA 2003

Courtesy AHFA

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